Since we believe that caring for God’s earth is a necessary part of Christian discipleship, engaging with Christians and churches is at the heart of our strategy. A Rocha UK’s primary means of such engagement is Eco Church.
Eco Church’s vision is to create a vast network of churches across England and Wales as local centres of creation care in the community – shining beacons of hope for a brighter environmental future.
The launch of the new Eco Church award scheme took place with Rowan Williams at St Paul’s Cathedral in January 2016. It was organised in partnership between A Rocha UK, Christian Aid, Tearfund and St Paul’s Institute.
At the heart of Eco Church is a unique online survey that enables churches to both record what they are already doing to care for God’s earth, and to reflect on what further steps they can take to that end and then act accordingly.
The survey covers all areas of church life:
As such, it challenges churches to act in respect of the songs they sing and of the food they serve; of the energy they use and of the ethics of their investments; of the wildlife that finds a home on their land and of the water that flushes their loos; and so on…
Accompanying the survey is a whole new suite of online resources to help churches undertake actions. As a church completes the survey they collect points towards an Eco Church Award. There are three levels of Eco Church Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
The very first Eco Church Award – a Bronze – was presented in January 2016 to St Paul’s Cathedral by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at the launch event who welcomed the new scheme as part of a ‘tectonic shift’ in Christian thinking through which environmental concerns will ‘embed more deeply’ in church culture.
Helen Stephens photo by Andisheh Thomson Photography