St Peter's, Weston Favell
St Peter’s, Weston Favell, All Saints, Kettering and St Peter & St Paul Church, Great Casterton have been awarded silver by Eco Church for all their actions, improving the buildings and church land in an effort to work towards the net zero by 2030. This is a fantastic achievement and helps the Diocese work towards the milestone set out in the Church of England’s Route Map, of 30% of our churches gaining a silver award by the end of 2026.
St Peter’s, Weston Favell are committed to the importance of improving the church’s environmental culture as stated in their Eco Church application. ‘Our ministry team have fully taken on board the need to teach and pray about caring for God's creation. We have an annual Climate Sunday but environmental issues are a regular feature of our intercessions and worship. We have also supported environmental charities with our fund-raising activities.’
New bike racks at St Peter's
Physical changes made within both the church and church hall include installing a new boiler and ensuring that gas and electric supplied to the church premises is generated from renewable resources. The church heating system is even controlled remotely to ensure as much efficiency as possible. Many lights have been changed to LEDs and will continue to be changed as an ongoing commitment to continue to make improvements wherever they can.
The changes don’t stop at the church walls; within the church grounds there are wildflower areas, hedgehog and bird boxes and wild corners with bug hotels and log piles. Bike racks have been installed and the reduction of car use is encouraged within the church.
All Saint’s, Kettering applied for an Eco Church award after church warden Angela Brett and the treasurer saw an article on the Diocese of Peterborough website.
Rev David Walsh praying for all the insects in All Saints' “Bug Church”
When applying for their bronze award they realised that unknowingly they actually had many of the requirements to achieve silver. This was encouraged by Archdeacon Alison when she carried out her inspection and, after applying, they achieved silver only 6 months after achieving bronze.
Applying for the Eco Church award has encouraged ideas to become reality, like changing all the old lighting to LEDs that will reduce bills in the long-term, and as Angela Brett says, ‘the most important thing we learned was that the little things really mattered and boosted our scores’.
All Saint’s now have their plans for further success. ‘The next thing we would like to achieve is going for gold of course,’ says Angela, ‘but I think it will take us a fair bit longer this time!’ Future plans include installing cycle racks, changing to environmentally friendly cleaning products and perhaps even a compostable toilet in the garden.
St Peter & St Paul Church, Great Casterton
At St Peter & St Paul Church in Great Casterton the PCC set up an environment sub-committee in May 2021 with the aim of increasing biodiversity of church land, reducing the church’s carbon footprint and encouraging the congregation and wider community to do the same by setting a good example. They achieved the Eco Church Bronze award in October 2021 and in October 2023, received their Silver award.
Numerous changes and activities, both big and small have taken place since the sub-committee was set up. The old oil-fired heating systems used in the church and church hall have been replaced with new air source heat pumps and damaged windows have been repaired to prevent drafts and ensure that the new heating systems are running as efficiently as possible. A service of celebration for the new heating was held in October 2023 at which Archdeacon Alison preached.
Bio-diversity is being actively encouraged in the church grounds with bird boxes installed, grass verges converted to wildflower verges, and overgrown hedging being replaced with native species. All ages have got involved with 200 bulbs planted with the Mums and Toddler and Youth Groups. A range of nectar source plants and a crab apple tree were planted in the church hall garden. Surveys have been carried out to monitor moths and bats and it was discovered that both Soprano Pipistrelles and Brown Long Eared bats are using the church.
Further plans are afoot to continue their great work. Peter Bryan, church wardens say ‘Our aim is to reach the Gold award in 2024 and will be developing a plan, which will include, carbon footprint and offset, overall management of energy, water use, community engagement and how the congregation are responding to conserving and using resources.’
Has this got you thinking about what changes you could make in your church? It really is the small things that can make a difference and you may be surprised at how many points you have already accumulated without realising. Click here for more information on Eco Church, the Church of England’s Net Zero 2030 policy and the changes you can make within your parish to better care for God’s creation.