Eco-congregation provides an environmental toolkit to enable churches to become “greener” in such areas as worship, theology, children and youth work, church premises and land, ethical finance, lifestyle and community and global outreach.
The Eco-Congregation Award is a scheme run by by the Christian environmental charity A Rocha www.ecocongregation.org on behalf of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and it is given to churches which have carried out an environmental check-up, have helped their congregation make the connection between their Christian faith and environmental concerns, and have taken practical steps to put those concerns into action. At church meeting in January 2009, St Paul’s decided to work towards becoming an Eco-Congregation, and following an assessment at an environmental Parade service led by the Boys’ Brigade, St Paul’s was given the eco-congregation award in February 2011. This was presented to St Paul’s by our local MP, Dr Phillip Lee, at a morning church service in June 2011.
In 2015 we were accredited with our second Eco-Congregation award, which was presented to St Paul’s by Councillor Chris Turrell, Bracknell Forest Council Executive Member for Planning and Transport in June 2016.
We are now working towards our first Eco Church http://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/ award, a scheme introduced by A Rocha in 2016 to recognise the contribution which churches make to caring for God’s world.
On the roof of our church building is an array of solar panels, generously donated by a church member, which generate a maximum power output of 1.7Kw and generate in the region of 1,500 Kwh per year. The electricity generated is fed into the National Grid, benefiting both the church and also the wider community.
We aim to be environmentally responsible in all of our church life. Our global concerns for the developing world are expressed through Christian Aid, and particularly through the United Reformed Church’s Commitment for Life programme. We have been a Fair Trade church for many years, and our youth organisations, the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades, incorporate environmental concerns into their work with children and young people.
During Lent 2010 a group from the congregation studied the joint Methodist/Baptist/URC report Hope in God’s Future – Christian Discipleship in the Context of Climate Change, and as a result of this several members of the congregation sent letters to the candidates for local constituencies in the May 2010 general election.
We recognise that there is much more that we can do in modifying our personal lifestyles and in campaigning for greater awareness of the severe environmental problems the world faces.
A prayer from Christian Aid:
Christ our Lord,
when we remember the sacrifice you made for the world,
remind us that we are called to care for the world and its people,
and challenge us to see how our actions change the world.
Be with us as we act to make a difference.