URC wins gold A Rocha eco award

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Eco award tank inspection news bannerA United Reformed Church (URC) has been recognised for its commitment towards caring for the environment by becoming the first URC to win an A Rocha Gold Eco Church award.

St John’s Marsh Green, Edenbridge, impressed judges on a site visit in October because they were inspired by the congregation’s teamwork.

The church generates its own electricity, uses rainwater for toilet flushing, has its own nature reserve with a wildflower meadow to improve habitats for wildlife, runs eco-events and encourages children and adults to be as ‘green’ as possible.

“One of St John’s’ strongest motivations for its eco activities is its children,” explained Gill Musgrove, Coordinator of the St John’s Marsh Green Eco Group.

“Every time we baptise a new baby we are reminded of the state of the planet on which they and children the world over must live.”

PV Panels on St Johns URC Marsh GreenIn an email after her visit to the church, Helen Stephens, A Rocha’s Church Relations Manager, commented that she had received a ‘strong impression of an engaged community.’

“I came away really feeling that everything [that the congregation does] is 'church' - tanks and gutters, meadows and hens, energy, liturgy and social action,” she said.

The Revd Rob Weston, URC Environmental Task Group Convenor and Minister for Tavistock United Reformed Church, said: “'I'm delighted to see the first Gold Eco Church award within the URC, it is quite clear that the whole Church across the UK is waking up to the need for urgent action.”

The Eco Church scheme gives churches the opportunity to complete a unique online eco survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work.

Points are awarded for the answers a church gives, which then go towards an Eco Church Award. The more a church does, the more points it gets.

The survey covers five key areas of church life: worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community and global engagement, and lifestyle.

Rob, who also serves as interim Minister for Lavington United Reformed Church, Bideford, encouraged all URCs to sign up to the scheme.

“The scheme is suitable for large and small churches, urban and rural. Climate change is an issue for us all and every church can make a positive change. As Convener of the URC's Environmental Task Group, I believe the Eco Church award scheme offers such a great range of resources and advice that every local URC should be signed up and involved in making a difference.”


Top picture : Children inspecting a water butt at St John's Marsh Green.
Bottom picture: Solar panels on the church's roof.
Published: 12 November 2019

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