News and Events

Tackling Plastics in Church

posted 20 Sep 2018, 05:34 by Martyn Goss



David Curry, Exeter Diocese Environmental Advisor

Organisations across Plymouth are working together to tackle the issue of single use plastics and plastic pollution.

As Britain’s Ocean City we are only too aware of the effects of plastic pollution and want to do all we can to reduce the amount of waste and the devastating effect it can have on our environment.

In June this year Plymouth became the first city district to gain Plastic Free Community accreditation from campaign group Surfers Against Sewage and we are now working hard to achieve the same status for churches in the city.

As part of Season of Creation 2018 we held a workshop on the 15th September to look at why plastic is such a problem, what can be done about it and how individuals and churches can take part in the campaign.

Jackie Young, Environment Plymouth gave a talk on Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics and how we as individuals and churches can take part in this important campaign to reduce the amount of single use plastic used in the city and sign Plymouth’s Plastic Free Pledge 

We need to help turn the tide and reduce our dependency on single-use plastic.

We want to see Plymouth Sound teeming with living things, not with our rubbish.

Plymouth Churches Green Action support Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics. Will you?

There are lots of things you can do to help your local environment and help to tackle the scourge of single use plastics;-

As a starting point

Look at the ways of reducing your reliance on single-use plastics in the church kitchen like straws, disposable cups and plastic cutlery.

Buy a reuseable cup

You could buy one of the new One Plymouth / Britain’s Ocean City branded reuseable cups. These are available from a range of outlets in Plymouth or you can buy one on the One Plymouth website.

Take part in a litter pick

You could volunteer to do a litter pick in your local park or other green space. Visit  Plymouth City Council’s Volunteer with Nature web page for more information.

Do a beach clean

The National Marine Aquarium organise a number of beach cleans throughout the year and you can find out more on the National Marine Aquarium website.

Recycle all you can

In Plymouth, most hard plastic items – such as milk bottles, plastic food punnets, and a lot of plastic packaging – can be recycled. Research by WRAP has found that more than 50 per cent of bathroom items –such as shampoo and shower gel bottles – are thrown in the bin when they could in fact be recycled.

Think about the plastics you use at home and in your church and see what you can do to reduce it.

Further information:

Buzzing Churchyards

posted 18 Sep 2018, 01:02 by Martyn Goss

As part of the Devon Living Churchyard’s project, Exeter Eco Diocese is running a series of workshops on developing these pockets of church land as a key part of our ministry. 

Last week at Buckfast, Clare Densley from the Buckfast Abbey Beekeeping Department, talked about the huge benefit of encouraging bees in churchyards – including the siting of hives in appropriately hidden areas. Bees are such amazing creatures and play such an important role in the ecology of most landscapes in Britain.

Martin Hann, Devon Bee Inspector, estimated that there are well over 1,000 bee keepers across the county, including in many urban areas as well as villages. Churches could provide a location for hives, even if others were to look after the bees.

Will Pyne, from St. Andrew’s, South Tawton, spoke of the wider interest generated in the community, as well as the income produced by the sale of honey!  Other participants are now hoping to introduce bee hives in their own churchyards. 

 If you or your church would be interested in finding out more or inviting a speaker, please contact David Curry, Diocesan Environment Adviser (  01392-294940

Devon Eco Church Gathering, Autumn 2018

posted 9 Aug 2018, 02:07 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 9 Aug 2018, 02:11 ]

On 24th October 2018 there will be an ecumenical Eco-Church Gathering in Plymouth with Bishop Nick McKinnel for all interested or engaged in developing as an Eco Church in Devon.

We hope the day will enable the sharing of stories of good ideas and practice, hopes and challenges, and practical steps to better care for God's whole Creation.

Please see details on the poster below.

Passion Power and Perseverance

posted 9 Aug 2018, 01:52 by Martyn Goss

An inter-faith visit to a farmhouse home where the energy use of their household in south Devon has been transformed with the use of solar power, local timber, battery storage and more. 

This will help open up conversation not only about the technologies but also some of the concepts and principles behind the move towards a low carbon economy and what that might mean.

 For people of faith is may additionally raise questions of divine energy and purpose. How should we live practically in relationship with the Earth which is sacred and special?

Booking essential. Please see poster below.

Creating a Buzz in Devon's Churchyards

posted 3 Aug 2018, 03:17 by Martyn Goss

For those interested or involved in looking after bees here is an engaging morning event in September at Buckfast Abbey.

At a time of significant threat to our bee populations it is important to see how we can practically re-use our church resources to benefit nature and God’s wider Creation.

Some Devon churchyards already have beehives. Some have natural bees nests. Others encourage bees to visit through their planting schemes. Do you want to take action too?

Details on the poster attached.

Lammas Day - 1st August

posted 23 Jul 2018, 01:24 by Martyn Goss

In the Christian calendar it was one of the most important days of the year although sadly it is longer as well-known as it once was.


Lammas is a fine time for anyone who loves real bread to thank God for the food he gives us and celebrate the natural and seasonal heritage of our buns, baps and bloomers.


Attached is a set of notes compiled by David Curry for celebrating Lammas in your church/cell group.


Celebrate God's wonderful creation and provision and enjoy with your brothers and sisters in Christ!

Managing Grass in Churchyards

posted 17 Jul 2018, 01:21 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 17 Jul 2018, 04:03 ]

Managing Churchyards Grasslands for Wildlife outlines some advice about making the most of your grass to the benefit of people and conservation. Please see file below.


Inter Faith visit to Dartington (Delia Law)

posted 5 Jun 2018, 05:10 by Martyn Goss

Earlier this Spring some people from the Devon Earth and Faith Network went to see this forest garden which Martin Crawford, of the Agroforestry Research Trust, had started in 1994.

A forest garden is designed to mimic the structure of a natural forest based on trees, shrubs and perennial plants. The purpose is to be biologically sustainable, and able to cope with disturbances such as climate change. Also to be productive and, once established, to require low maintenance.

We explored the two acre site with Martin showing us the edible crops, such as sweet cicely (herb has sweet aniseed flavour), wild garlic, Solomon seal, ostrich fern shoots (fiddleheads) and hosta stems (needing roasting first). There were currants and berries of all kinds and carpeting species of rubus (blackberry family) along with ground cover using dwarf  species of bamboo.

 This forest garden is self-fertilising, using nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs, particularly alders, elaeagnus, comfrey, sorrel and coltsfoot.  To avoid using plastic material Martin grows and uses New Zealand flax to tie back plants. Attracting insects and especially bees means including plants, like the lungworts, that bloom early in the season when not many other plants are in flower.  Martin has seen this project flourish and has written several books entitled Creating a forest garden (2010),  Food from your forest garden – a cook book for gardeners (2013), and How to grow your own nuts (2016).

Later in the day we visited the Bee Meadow at Dartington, a more recently founded project. Beehives were made from tree trunks, with openings for the bees to enter and a door for the collection of the honey. Set in a vast meadow wild flower meadow this is an amazing location. Our group stood in the sunshine in the bees meadow to reflect on the day we had shared. We gave thanks to our Creator for the earth and all the blessings that we receive daily from our natural environment. We know how humans gain healing by being interconnected with the plants and animals around us. We humans are interwoven into the web of life and we need to act for the wellbeing of all life. May we all respect and protect our world as we live in God's acre.

“Earth's crammed with heaven,
  And every common bush afire with God,
  But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
  The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

(Elizabeth Barrett-Browning)


Prayers for Environment Day 2018

posted 5 Jun 2018, 01:11 by Martyn Goss

June 5th is World Environment Day. Prayers from the Church of England are attached below for public use.

O God, 

Remind us each day of our connectedness to you through the Earth you create.

May we walk on her softly, 
treat her gently,
and live humbly, 
as we seek justice for the flourishing of life,
and the integrity of your whole Creation.

Maker, sustainer and redeemer of all.


May-June News and Activities

posted 22 May 2018, 06:43 by Martyn Goss

1. Attached is an outline for a Rogationtide service from Canon Brian Davis. If it is too late for 2018 you might like to store for next year for marking the beginning of the Spring planting time.

2. Church Times Green Health Awards. The Church Times has launched new award scheme in National Gardening Week to encourage churches to use their green spaces to help communities benefit from improved mental and physical wellbeing. This is hoped specially to promote links between nature and human health.

The awards are open to all churches and other Christian organisations in the UK and the deadline for applications is 31 July 2018. The make-up of the judging panel, and details of the Green Health Live conference will be published shortly. For more information, and an entry form, visit:

3. Devon Development Education has launched its summer programme from May to July. Please see attached.

4. Cherishing Our Churchyards week takes place from 9th-17th June. This is a chance to recognise and celebrate the natural and historical richness they contain. See details attached from David Curry.

The Devon Living Churchyards project now has a new standing display which will be used initially at the Buckfast Abbey Millennium Fair on 1st June. (photo enclosed)

If you would like to borrow this for your own future event please contact David by email:

As part of this work a target workshop on bees and beehives in churchyards will be held on 15th September (see poster attached). Places are limited and booking essential.

5. Plymouth Green Book Club will be reading Richard Mabey’s book ‘Cabaret of Plants’ on 12th June at 6.30pm in the University’s Babbage Building (see attached)

6. Double Elephant is offering a free print animation workshop on Saturday 7th July 2018. Two sessions:10am - 12.30pm or 1.30– 4pm, at Top Studio, Exeter Phoenix Centre. Be a part of a new project helping Climate Scientists to tell their and your climate stories in innovative ways… (attached)

7. Devon’s Orchards are particularly affected by temperature change and over the past 60 years Devon’s mean temperature has increased by 20 C giving us a climate similar to that of mid-west France.

Apples and pears are flowering 4 to 6 weeks earlier than they were 20 years ago and in the south of the country pears are getting easier to grow and ripen. Likewise, warmer climate apples such as Braeburn and Gala can now be grown.

Check the planner on the Orchard Network's web site and see what jobs you could be doing in the orchard now.

8. ReGen (formerly ReGenSW) has just published a report on the ‘Devon Community Energy Impact Report’ and it has plenty of useful data demonstrating the added value of locally owned, grassroots energy activity. This includes churches participating in community energy schemes with their finance, buildings and volunteers.

The generation of 17,431 MWh of clean, green and community-owned energy, which can power 3,423 homes a year, and has saved 6,080 tonnes of CO2 emissions, are great achievements. But the thing that has stuck with me about this report is the story behind it, the ordinary people involved in community energy who mostly volunteer their time to install renewables and to tackle fuel poverty. Th
ey are taking direct action to run successful community businesses, motivated by climate change and social injustice, rather than profit for profit’s sake. The 23 community energy organisations in this report have supported 2,717 homes to save money on energy bills and use energy more efficiently, some of them track the impacts of their work on people’s quality of life and have found that community energy makes people happier. See details:
by clicking here

9. Exeter Eco Diocese continues to develop slowly and a gathering with Bishop Nick McKinnell to progress Eco Churches in Devon will be held at St. Edward’s, Eggbuckland, Plymouth on 24th October (poster attached).

EcoChurch SouthWest will be mailing readings and reflections during the Season of Creation/Creationtide again in 2018. Details will be posted on their website here in the coming months.

10. Devon Churches Rural Forum conference on the theme of Re-imagining Rural Ministry takes place at Cullompton Community Centre on 28th July. Details are on the poster enclosed.

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