United Reformed Church

Become a greener church

In the light of the climate emergency, we know we need to act urgently to reduce carbon emissions across the whole of church life. Read the URC Environmental Policy.

Help is available for URC congregations wanting to deepen and strengthen their care for God’s creation, in worship, decision-making, and wider community engagement, through the ecumenical initiatives Eco Church and Eco-Congregation Scotland and through the content on this page.

As a starting point, why not download:

Greening Your Church

Greening your church can be a big undertaking, it can also be a small one as the tiniest steps in the right direction are better than giant leaps in the wrong one!

If you’re unsure where to begin, this page is for you.

There is a video from the URC Buildings Forum Event from October 2021, looking at how local churches can use their buildings in the struggle against the climate crisis.

And below, you will find useful information and links to further support. We will also be adding inspiring stories of green inititiatives from around the URC. Or, you may have your own inspiring story that you’d like to share with us

Eco Church and Eco-Congregation Scotland Schemes

Eco Church is a scheme run by A Rocha which guides churches in England and Wales towards expressing care for creation in five areas:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Management of church buildings
  • Management of church land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

Once churches are registered they can apply for Eco Church Awards at the levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold. Any denomination or church meeting in any kind of building can register for the scheme.

Getting started

A simple online ‘Eco survey’ on the Eco Church website will help you work out how your church is doing and provide you with ideas on what to focus on next. You may find out that you qualify for a Bronze award straight away; if not you’ll get ideas of what you can do to improve your score. Progression to Silver and Gold awards comes through engaging your church leadership and finally from having an independent audit of what you have achieved.

To find out more visit the Eco Church website.

Eco-Congregation is a movement of Scottish church congregations committed to addressing environmental issues through their life and mission. The vision is for a Scotland that cares for God’s creation, now and forever. Eco-Congregation Scotland has three strands:

  • Spiritual living – Making the link between environmental issues and the Christian faith
  • Practical living – Taking practical action in the church and in the home to reduce our environmental impact
  • Global living – Influencing attitudes and take action in the local or global community on issues like climate change

Eco-Congregation Scotland can help you with:

  • online resources and a regular newsletter
  • keeping you in touch with news and information
  • assessing congregations for the Eco-Congregation Award
  • running local networks of eco-congregations
  • training volunteers from congregations and local networks

Getting started

For more information about how join the scheme visit the Eco-Congregation website

Helpful Resources

360° Carbon Calculator

The 360° Carbon calculator enables local URCs to track the carbon footprint of their buildings and activities across different areas.

Eco Church resources

Guidance about how you can make practical changes in five key areas of church life: Worship and Teaching, Building Management, Land Management, Community and Global Engagement, and Lifestyle.

Eco-Congregation Scotland

Information, resources and awards to help congregations and churches in Scotland address climate change and conservation.

Energy Saving Trust

Visit the Energy Saving Trust for more in-depth guides on: travel, transport, and energy efficiency for domestic properties.

Carbon Trust

Visit the Carbon Trust for guides on ‘business’ energy procurement and the running of offices, shops and hospitality venues.

God saw that it was good

A free small-group series, featuring inspiring videos that capture the beauty of creation, written by Dave Gregory of the Baptist Union Environmental Network (BUEN).

Find Support

Green Apostles

All URC synods have appointed at least one ‘Green Apostle’ whose role is to provide information, support and encouragement to the synod and local churches on ways to care for creation. Contact us to find out how to get in touch with your synod’s Green Apostle.

Eco Synod

Eco Synod is an award programme that helps synods to look at their own environmental impact as well as encouraging local churches to participate in Eco Church. Synods progress partly according to the number of congregations in their area achieving the Eco Church award at different levels.

Synod Environmental Policies

Read the latest greener church news

Related content

URC’s Environmental Policy

Read the United Reformed Church Environmental Policy as adopted by General Assembly 2022 to take effect from January 2023.

United Reformed Church