St Mary's Church, Peterborough
After months of hard work by churches in Langham and Peterborough, St Peter and St Paul’s Church and St Mary’s have both been awarded their Silver Eco Church Awards.
In 2020, General Synod embarked on an ambitious target for all parts of the Church of England, including our schools, to work to become carbon ‘net zero’ by 2030. This was a clear statement of intent across the church of our determination to safeguard God’s creation. It also touches on 2 marks of mission – tend to human needs and transform unjust structures, because the climate emergency is a social justice issue, which affects the world’s poorest soonest and most severely. This means that the call to be sustainable is a core part of our Christian faith.
St Mary’s is a modern church in the centre of Peterborough and as such already had double glazing and good insulation, but there were many other aspects to the award including making sure their investments were ethical and their energy supplies were on green tarrifs. They have a smaller green space than many churches, but still engaged the children in making bug hotels and promoted walking and cycling to church as more sustainable forms of transport alongside regular litter picks in the local area.
St Peter & St Paul's Church, Langham
It seems it was a bug that soon got caught by the whole church family: Eco-tips appeared in newsletters and notices. Prayers and sermons and children's church started to feature environmental issues on a more regular basis. Christian Aid Week and Red Bucket appeals raised money for climate emergencies whilst closer to home, disposable plates and cups were banished, along with harmful chemicals. Recycling bins appeared along with rechargeable batteries and twinned toilets. A communal Christmas card even appeared in the hallway to replace large numbers being circulated.
At St Peter and St Pauls meanwhile, they formed an eco-church group, undertook bible study on caring for God’s creation and carried out an audit of the church and its premises. The lighting was changed and they twinned their water tap. As a rural church, the large extensive green churchyard was developed with a nature trail which included homes for all kinds of wildlife from birds and owls, to bats and bugs! They also involved their local primary school and 6th form college in a unique eco-monitoring exercise.
Both churches were surprised by what they had achieved and that their first application resulted in a Silver award. The message from both is ‘have a go, wherever you are, you may find you are doing more than you thought already!’.
To find out more about taking part in the Eco Church journey visit the environment section of our website.