Eco Church

​​Eco Church began as an A Rocha UK project in 2016 in partnership with others, offering an environmental award scheme for churches in England and Wales. It has been a huge success, inspiring and assisting churches as they seek to embed creation care throughout the whole of church life. Today, Eco Church is spreading around the world as different A Rocha national organisations and their partners find ways to engage churches in creation care.

How does Eco Church work?

As Eco Church spreads around the world, it is taking different forms and sometimes different names in varying contexts. However, at the heart of Eco Church is a unique online survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. The answers a church provide earn points towards an Eco Church Award – the more your church does, the more points you get!

The survey covers all areas of church life:

  • Worship and Teaching
  • Management of Church Buildings (if applicable)
  • Management of Church Land (if applicable)
  • Community and Global Engagement
  • Lifestyle

If your score doesn’t gain you an Eco Church Award straight away don’t worry – the idea is to complete further actions in order to gain the points necessary for an Award. For example, you can use green energy in your church building, plant flowers or vegetables in church grounds, and teach creation care in Sunday School. 

Free Eco Church resources give lots of support and advice about how to make the changes your church needs to become an Eco Church. Eco Church can be used alongside A Rocha’s environmental education resources.

There are three levels of Eco Church Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Once an Award is confirmed, depending on your country, you may receive a certificate and (optional) plaque from A Rocha UK to mark your achievement.

In the UK, the vision through Eco Church 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 scheme is now run in partnership with Christian Aid, The Church of England, The Methodist Church, Tearfund, The United Reformed Church and Allchurches Trust Limited.

Eco Church in New Zealand

Follows the success of the Eco Church award scheme pioneered by A Rocha UK, which now has around 3,000 churches registered, A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand has begun welcoming churches to their Eco Church NZ network. Whilst the schemes differ slightly, the ethos behind them is the same: to support churches to actively care for God’s earth as an integral part of their mission. A Rocha Aotearoa NZ have articulated this as a response to ‘three biblical challenges’:

    1. Living a faithful life and following Jesus through caring for God’s earth.
    2. Loving our neighbours in a resource-limited world – whilst the earth’s ability to support human life is being rapidly depleted, the poor will be the ones that suffer the most.
    3. Reflecting and protecting the glory of God – because caring for God’s earth is an essential part of the church’s mission in the world, churches can and should be agents of restoration and healing in their local communities. This includes modelling ways of living sustainably.

In partnership with Para Kore, A Rocha Aotearoa NZ has also launched a Zero Waste programme, which supports churches to reduce their waste through training workshops, resources and waste audits.

Eco Church in France

Église Verte, a joint national initiative of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical churches, was launched in Paris in 2017. It has expanded to a broad range of partnerships. All church progress is acknowledged, from ‘Mustard Seed’ for setting up a steering group, to ‘Cedar of Lebanon’ for major compliance in all areas of the eco-questionnaire – including helping other communities become Églises Vertes themselves. It is a practical tool for Christian communities to embark on a process of ecological conversion, with variations for different groups, including for groups of young people at college-high school level.

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Dave Bookless

Director of Churches and Theology

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