North Western Synod gains Eco-Synod award

The United Reformed Church (URC) North-Western Synod has been awarded its first Eco-Synod award.

It is now the URC’s second synod to have reached A Rocha UK’s Bronze Eco-Synod Award status, West Midlands being the first in March 2021.

To apply for the award, the Revd Daleen Ten Cate, North Western Synod’s Missional Discipleship Mentor and Green Apostle, collated information from the past five years.

“As I did so,” Daleen explains, “all I could visualise was the wholeness of the body of Christ where everyone plays a part and shares their God-given gifts.”

“What makes me most proud of this achievement is the teamwork that we showed throughout this journey.

“The encouragement of our Synod Clerk, Tim Hopley, and the support of the whole of the Synod were phenomenal.”

Support also came from Mike Hart, the Synod’s Transformation Director and Treasurer, who ensured that all the Synod’s investments divested from fossil fuel.

The Revd Mike Aspinall, Property Consultant, concentrated on buildings. Claire McTyre, Synod Deputy Clerk, and Kerry Later, Office Manager, coloured the Synod office green and helped with the eco newsletter.

Daleen also expressed to the Revd Kate Gray, former Green Apostle, provided support with resolutions, policies and activism; the Revd Dr Rosalind Selby and Northern College which engaged with the Synod to provide further education; Leo Roberts, CYDO, Gina Gibson and all the churches who engaged with the Synod’s young people; and area eco warriors, the Revd Kate Hunt, Cathy Chapman, Liz Delafield, and Craig and Kareena Tipler who supported local churches.

Tim Hopley, Synod Clerk, said: “North Western is very proud to have achieved this award, and is grateful to our Green Apostles, along with all those individuals and churches across the Synod who have worked so hard to achieve this.”

To celebrate this milestone, each of the 25 churches registered as an eco-church within the Synod were given a packet of seeds from Commitment for Life as an encouragement to keep growing on their eco journey.

Since 2016, the URC has worked with A Rocha UK to develop Eco Synod, a tool by which Synods can encourage local churches to engage in wider creation care.

There are nine steps to achieve Eco Synod status which include writing an environmental policy, embedding environmental issues in ongoing training, and managing synod investments ethically.

There are three level of awards to achieves: bronze, silver and gold. Bronze is achieved when 10% of local churches within a synod are registered with Eco Church and 5% of local churches awarded. Silver entails 20% of local churches registered and 10% of local churches awarded, and Gold is when 30% of local churches are registered with 20% of local churches awarded.

The URC has a target of being net zero in its carbon emissions by 2030, and Eco Church (Eco-Congregation in Scotland) and Eco Synod are a vital part of its strategy to reach this.

Roo Stewart, Programme Officer for Church and Society, added: “I look forward to all of our synods reaching the ‘Bronze’ level award and beyond in the coming months and years.

For more information on becoming a greener church, visit

More information about Eco Synod, Eco Church, and Eco-Congregation can be found here.