September 2018

First Thoughts : Jane

You may have noticed there is a new arrival at the Church of the Good Shepherd – a bike rack, outside the church hall. It is the first sign of a subtle change taking place in the life of the church. At a PCC meeting that took place in June, we voted to sign up to become an Eco Church.

What is Eco Church?

Eco Church is an award scheme designed to equip Christians to express care for God’s world, in worship and teaching, in how we look after our church buildings and land, in how we engage with the local community and in global campaigns, and the personal lifestyles of us all.

Churches can be presented with either bronze, silver or gold awards, according to how well they are doing. We are aiming to go for a bronze award in this our first year. The scheme is run by the environmental charity A Rocha, and all churches in our deanery are being encouraged to participate. Our diocese too has signed up with the hope of becoming an Eco Diocese.

Signing up for the award scheme involved the Good Shepherd doing an initial audit to see how well we are currently doing. There are already some excellent things happening. We recycle much of our waste, we are part of the toilet-twinning scheme and sell Fair Trade goods. Members of the church are also involved in environmental causes, and we often pray for our created world.

All this is good news, but we have some work to do before we qualify for a bronze award.

Next Steps

Eco Church helpfully publishes a number of resources to help us undertake different actions in five areas, working towards gaining an award. This might involve including more about the environment in our worship/teaching, changing our light bulbs, creating wildlife-friendly areas outside, engaging more in local and global environmental issues and more.

As you work through the awards scheme it involves actions from the small and modest (is our loo paper recycled?) to the more ambitious (solar panels on the roof?).

Our church warden Lucy has already offered to explore how we can create wildlife-friendly areas in our church grounds with the children. If Eco Church is something that would interest you, contact me and we will come together to form an Eco Team to consider the changes that we’d like to make.

Finally, a section of Psalm 148 to inspire us:

        Praise the Lord!
        Praise the Lord from the heavens;
           praise him in the heights!
        Praise him, all his angels;
           praise him, all his host!

        Praise him, sun and moon;
           praise him, all you shining stars!
        Praise him, you highest heavens,
           and you waters above the heavens!

        Let them praise the name of the Lord,
           for he commanded and they were created.
        He established them for ever and ever;
           he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

        Praise the Lord from the earth,
           you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
           stormy wind fulfilling his command!

        Mountains and all hills,
           fruit trees and all cedars!
        Wild animals and all cattle,
           creeping things and flying birds!

Rev. Jane

Monthly Letter
Webpage icon August 2018