Eco Church resources

Holy Trinity holds the Eco Church Bronze Award, and we are working on achieving Silver. To learn more about A Rocha’s Eco Church,  its focus on how we care for Creation in our worship and teaching; in how we look after our buildings and land; in how we engage with our local community and the wider world, and in the personal lifestyles of our congregation, go to: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/

The Eco Team have put together a list of interesting webinars on environmental issues from various sources, including the Church of England and the Oxford Martin School (part of Oxford University) – see below. Some are on church issues and others are of more general interest.

Suggested reading

TV

The Repair Shop: Wednesdays at 8.00-9.00 p.m., BBC1 (about restoring and re-purposing)

Radio

39 Ways to Save the Planet: In partnership with the Royal Geographical Society, BBC Radio 4 presented 39 ideas to relieve the stress that climate change is exerting on the planet. 

Online tools

For a bit of fun (with serious intentions) why not try this Climate Change Food Calculator, called What’s your Diet’s Carbon Footprint? 

On a more serious note: Why not try doing the Eco Church Personal Environmental Lifestyle Audit?

How can we judge where to put our money (aka ‘ethical investment’)?  Do we know what our money is funding? Banks and Building Societies make countless claims of sustainability and ethical lending. Is this just a veneer? Follow this link to see how they are rated for environmental reporting, carbon reporting, management, transparency and ethical lending.  Take a look at Which’s Revealed: the Most Sustainable Savings Account Providers How to Stop Your Money Funding Climate Change.

Articles

Six promises you can make to help reduce carbon emissions (The Guardian, 07/03/2022). This article is eminently practical and won’t take long to read!

IPCC issues ‘bleakest warning yet’ on impacts of climate breakdown (The Guardian, 28/02/2022)

Webinars

Finding the Balance: Assessing Embodied Carbon in Retrofit Projects on Church Buildings
Tuesday 19 April, 12.00 noon-13.00
NB Repeat of webinar of 10 February of same title
Speakers: Nigel Griffiths, Policy Adviser for the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance and Douglas Kent, Technical and Research Director, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
When considering strategies to reduce emissions, there is a danger that the measures themselves could cause more emissions in the manufacture and installation than they would save in practice, thereby achieving the opposite of what is hoped for.
This is a particular risk in large buildings with relatively low energy demand, especially those used only intermittently. It is thus necessary to be able to compare “embodied” and “operational” carbon emissions and to understand how a changing energy supply matrix affects decisions in the long run.
The webinar will provide participants with the basic information required to understand the subject, and a framework for making decisions which take embodied carbon into account.
BOOK HERE

Getting Ready for the Great Big Green Week (Sep 2022)
Thursday 21 April, 12.00-13.00
Speakers: Grace Fisher, Community Organiser/ Mobiliser, from The Climate Coalition and Jo Chamberlain, Environment Policy Officer, from the Church of England.
The Great Big Green Week is a nationwide celebration of action on climate change, taking place across the UK from the 24th September – 2nd October 2022, and which falls during the Church’s Season of Creation, giving Christian groups the perfect opportunity to join in.
In 2021, over 5000 events took place and over 200,000 people took part. Watch the 2 min video about GBGW 2021.
Book here.

An introduction to Eco Church and getting started
Monday 25 April, 12.00 noon – 13.00
First in a series of Eco Church webinars.
Speaker: Helen Stephens is Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK, and central to the running of the Eco Church programme across the country. Helen has supported thousands of churches to get started in their Eco Church journey, and has a wealth of practical advice to offer. BOOK HERE

Gaining momentum and working towards an award
Tuesday 26 April, 12.00 noon – 13.00
Second in a series of webinars about the Eco Church Award scheme.
Speaker: Helen Stephens is Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK, and central to the running of the Eco Church programme across the country. Helen has supported thousands of churches to get started in their Eco Church journey, and has a wealth of practical advice to offer. BOOK HERE

Eco Church and Net Zero Carbon
Thursday 28 April, 12.00 noon – 13.00
Third in a series of webinars about the Eco Church Awards scheme.
Speaker: Helen Stephens is the Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK, and central to the running of the Eco Church programme across the country. Helen has supported thousands of churches to get started in their Eco Church journey, and has a wealth of practical advice to offer. BOOK HERE

“Knowing your Ant from Your Elder” Why and How to Record During Churches Count on Nature
Friday 6 May, 12.00 noon-13.00
(Repeated on Tuesday 31 May)
This practical session will explain why biological recording in churchyards and burial grounds is so important, and how to do it, pitched at the interested beginner. Plants, birds, trees, insects, small mammals, and much more all abound in our precious green spaces. How to identify what we find, and how to log information about it.
You will be shown how to use the app iNaturalist, and how it links through to the National Biodiversity Network database, and from there into the Church Heritage Record.
Speaker: Harriet Carty, Director of the conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre. BOOK HERE

Zero Carbon Britain Training from the Centre for Alternative Technology
Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 May 10.00 – 17.00 (two-day course on Zoom)
This bespoke course for the Church of England will be run by national experts, the Centre for Alternative Technology
The course, which normally costs £75, is being made available free through the CofE, to employees of the CofE, and members of a congregation alike. No prior knowledge is needed, just a genuine interest and a willingness to contribute to the discussion.  
It will explore CAT’s landmark report ‘Zero Carbon Britain: Rising to the Climate Emergency’ as well as solutions and the role the Church can play in bringing them about. 
Our course is bespoke, but to see what it will cover, you can see the content of their standard ZCB course here. To book email zcb@cat.org.uk

“Knowing your Ant from Your Elder” Why and How to Record During Churches Count on Nature
Tuesday 31 May, 4-5pm
(Repeat of Friday 6 May)
BOOK HERE

Life on The Edge: Exploring the Oceans through Science and Faith
Monday 6 June, 12.00 noon-13.00
Twenty-three Dioceses have coastal boundaries, a total of 2,663 miles. ‘No-one is more than 70 miles from the sea’ This webinar explores the challenges and opportunities in finding ways that churches can deepen and enrich their congregations’ understanding of blue issues as well as green issues, and the relationship between ocean, science and faith.
Speaker: David Curry is the Exeter Diocese Environmental Advisor (voluntary) BOOK HERE

Eco Church – Land
Tuesday 7 June, 12.00 noon-13.00
This webinar relates to the ‘Land’ section of the Eco Church framework. Whether a church has a significant amount of land, a thin border of land around the main building, or even a paved area, plenty can be done to manage the land for nature and people. This webinar looks at just some of the many possibilities for managing church land, drawing on examples from bronze, silver and gold awarded churches. Speaker: Helen Stephens is Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK and oversees the Eco Church programme. BOOK HERE

Finding Our Faith in Trees
Tuesday 7 June, 4-5pm
This webinar will talk about what the wood has to tell us: Christian symbolism of trees/Counting the rings – trees in our history/Wood, foliage, fruit – using and delighting in trees/Who belongs in the wood – native trees and incomers/Joining in the story – planting trees and wilding.
Speaker: John Rodwell works as a priest and ecologist together. He is co-author of Creating New Native Woodlands and chair of the Land & Biodiversity Group of Diocesan Environmental Officers. BOOK HERE

Blooming and Beautiful – Flower Rich Churchyards
Wednesday 8 June, 4-5pm
Since 1945, 97% of flower rich grassland – once widespread in the countryside – has vanished. Many churchyards act as havens for this and the associated animals.
Broadly speaking burial sites dating pre 1945 are likely to have a rich variety of plants and just need the right management to help it to flower in all its glory.
Andrea Gilpin from CfGA hosts this webinar exploring how to manage churchyard grassland in a way that encourages wildflowers whilst being sensitive to visitors’ needs.
Speaker: Andrea Gilpin works for conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre, where she leads on advising people in managing their burial ground, along with developing and delivering projects. Her background is in ecology. BOOK HERE

Sustaining Church: Using your Church Spaces for Growing Food and Growing Mission
Thursday 9 June, 4-5pm
This webinar explores models of community food growing and outdoor worship, as part of Christian communities that are engaging with creation and climate emergency.
Hazelnut Community Farm is creating a sustainable model of church and community engagement, able to flourish in a climate crisis. They use urban agriculture, food production, and waste management as tools for social innovation, economic inclusion, and political & spiritual transformation.
Speaker: Revd John White, Founder, Hazelnut Community Farm, plus guests t.b.c from other church food-growing projects. BOOK HERE

Urban Hope – How to Create Space for Nature In a Small Space
Friday 10 June, 12.00 noon-13.00
Very few of us own a large estate or our own allotments or nature reserve, but it is still entirely possible to transform even a very small urban space into a haven for nature and in doing so provide a place where mental and physical health can be improved as well as tackling wildlife loss and climate impacts.
This webinar will take a creative look at how to make best use of small areas at a time when the pressure on nature and on our own health is greater than ever.
Speaker: Andy Lester is Head of Conservation at A Rocha UK (the charity behind Eco Church and much more) , BOOK HERE

Past webinars which are available to watch again

For links to the range of C of E Net Zero Carbon webinars, and environmental fundraising go to: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/environment-and-climate-change/webinars-getting-net-zero-carbon#na

Churches Count on Nature
2021 was a pilot year for a nationwide project open to all churches, run in partnership by Caring for God’s Acre, A Rocha UK, the Church of England Environment Programme, and the Church in Wales. The link below will take you to 12 individual recordings in a special series of webinars on different aspects of land and nature for a church audience. Go to: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/environment-and-climate-change/webinars-land-and-nature-churches-count-nature-week
Or see the whole playlist on YouTube here.

Oxford Diocese Eco Hub
This describes itself as ’a one-stop shop for information, practical advice and theological reflection on how we can best care for God’s creation.’   It brings together resources from various organisations and groups, enabling us to find information to become agents of change.

Parish Buying Scheme
For clean electricity, and much more besides at competitive prices (including LED lighting, photocopiers, phones and broadband, insurance, office products, church supplies, furniture, fire safety, audio visual, and even Covid-19 supplies).

Electric Cars and Car Charging
This covers the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging; the rationale, technology, costs, benefits and choices surrounding purchasing/ leasing an electric vehicle and the charging infrastructure.
Speaker Phil Davies from Cumbria Action for Sustainability. CAfS is currently involved in rolling out community-owned electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK.

In the Home
In this Climate Assembly webinar, Rebecca Willis talks about energy efficiency, changes we could make, phasing out fossil fuels, the main focus being on zero carbon heating.

Housekeeping and Quick Wins
This webinar in the C of E series tells you where to start. Practical steps like setting boiler/heating controls, DIY draught proofing, timers, water saving, procurement of energy and energy bills. Simple steps that don’t cost the earth. Speaker: Matt Fulford from Inspired Efficiency is the sustainability advisor at Gloucester Diocese, and has carried out countless church energy audits as part of the national audit programme and the Oxford Diocese audit programme (in which HTHQ took part in the initial round). He led a project at his own church, to make St Michael and All Angels Withington a ‘zero carbon’ church.