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Launch of Eco Church award in Devon

posted 23 Nov 2016, 06:07 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 27 Nov 2017, 06:00 by Websites Ahoy ]
Christians from different churches across Devon met at St. Andrew's Community Centre, Cullompton on 19th November to launch 'Devon Eco Church', to encourage local congregations to take green action and apply for a national award. This new scheme replaces the previous 'Eco Congregations' initiative and is hopefully more accessible for more churches.

Administered nationally by the conservation charity A Rocha, local churches can now ask for a bronze, silver or gold award, depending on their activities and enthusiasm. Ruth Valerio, A Rocha’s Churches and Theology Director, encouraged participants to use the interactive Eco Church website which enables people to immediately see the kinds of positive impacts different actions can make to the protection of God's earth.

One church which already has its bronze plaque is Belmont Chapel in Exeter and member Adrian Bailey expounded the benefits to the whole congregation about recognizing our role in living more simply and justly as a Biblical imperative.

Other activities already taking place in Devon include churches switching to a full green electricity and gas supply (over 100 in Devon); looking at dis-investing from fossil fuels and re-investing in community energy projects (such as Pinhoe Road Baptist Church - which is part of Exeter Community Energy); using church land for sensitive food growing (allotments at Kingskerswell, community garden at St Sidwell's, Exeter); the use of electric bikes (clergy at Okehampton and Plymouth); and protecting wildlife and biodiversity in our churchyards and on church farms (Eggbuckland).

There are also Inter-Faith activities being organised by the Devon Earth and Faith Network (DEFAN), whose next event is expected to be a tree-planting day next February following a successful conference on Water and the Sea at Westward Ho! in October.

It is hoped Exeter will become an Eco Diocese in the months ahead and more churches will see the sustainability of life as a key part of a Gospel expressing God's love for all life and the whole inhabited world.