Eco Church

The Eco Congregation 5th Anniversary Service which includes Karen’s interview about Beacon Hill URC’s progress to Bronze Award and onwards

Earth Day 2021: Thursday April 22nd

At the February Elders’ meeting it was decided we would find out more about Earth Day, the internationally recognised day to work towards expanding awareness and action on environmental issues.

What we can actually do this year depends on the Government guidelines on COVID19, but if we can, we will look at a local initiative to support and join in with. However, we can encourage our Christian community to learn more about environmental issues and our responsibility for this planet we live on through God’s grace. There will be a service to mark Earth Day on Sunday April 25th online.

More details are available at https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/

Climate Sunday

At the March Elders’ meeting we discussed holding a Climate Sunday service on September 5th. Watch this space for more details.

What is Eco Church about?

– Eco Church is an award scheme for churches in England and Wales “who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.” It is organised through A.Rocha UK, a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to mobilising Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment, in conjunction with Christian Aid. The link below will tell you more.

https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/how-eco-church-works/

– Wessex Synod has registered to seek to become an Eco Synod and are encouraging churches in the Synod to work towards achieving an award.

– The process asks our church to look at and evidence our care for God’s world in our worship and teaching; in how we look after our buildings and land; in how we engage with our local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of our congregation.

– Eco Church Awards are available at Bronze, Silver or Gold level.

What is the approach the Elders are taking?

– Initially, a spearhead group was formed to draft responses to the survey required to be completed to assess where we are now towards an Award.

-The survey results were uploaded on the Eco Church web site so we know how we are doing. The questionnaire is available to view by anyone from the church, though you would need to register on the web site individually as a Beacon Hill URC ‘adherent’.

Who is involved?

The spearhead group is made up of Hugh, Karen, Robert and Bridget who compiled the survey used to assess our progress towards an award as an Eco Church.

What’s next?

We have been awarded a Bronze award.

Since discussing the Bronze Award at the November 2020 Elders’ meeting we have been looking at what we can do to achieve a Silver Award. This is a more challenging level to reach and we see this as a year long, step by step development period. Even in lockdown, we have been able to take further steps by fitting a water butt in the church garden, for example. We have recently started an area of wild flowers to see how that goes.

We also are looking at wider issues, so you may receive notifications about Petitions and lobbying through the church What’s App group. e.g. a number of us signed the Petition recently on Hedgehogs – calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection. Protect the UK’s dwindling hedgehog population before it’s too late. – Petitions (parliament.uk)

How can you be part of this?

Eco Church us not only about how we manage our church operations, land and buildings but our lifestyle as individual Christians and in the collective form of being members of Beacon Hill URC. We will have a monthly focus to share with you and ask you look at how this works for you in increasing your personal care of God’s earth and resources.

An easy starting point:

Textile Collection during the pandemic and current Alert levels

We have collection points at church for recycling items. Bridget co-ordinates this and is still collecting items to be collected. So if you are using this time to turn out cupboards, drawers and storage boxes, why not contact her to take them off you. This does generate a little income for the church as well.

Items you can contribute are: all household textiles, all age clothing, handbags and belts.

NOT COLLECTED: duvets, pillows and cushions

RNIB Stamp collecting for recycling

This Christmas, we are collecting stamps for the RNIB. You may want to give these to the person who calls to deliver your Christingle pack on 12th December.

By collecting stamps you’re helping to break down the barriers that stop people with sight loss living life to the full. The RNIB accept all stamps: new or used, first or second class, foreign, first day covers, presentation packs or albums. Stamps are sold by weight and they raise £20 per kilogramme of stamps, so it’s a brilliant way to raise money.

Please make sure you TRIM stamps, rather than tearing them off the envelope! The RNIB asks for a 1 centimetre trim around any stamps……………

Tools with a Mission

See the separate section in the Ecochurch drop down menu for information on this and our collection scheduled for Saturday March 27th.

URC Mission Council Resolution Information

Single use plastics

Sarah Lane Cawte, Convenor of Mission Committee, presented paper G1 in an amended form. The paper urges churches to reduce their use of single use plastics. The amendment was brought after consultation with URC Youth, and involves adding a second paragraph to the resolution:

Mission Council notes with alarm the huge increase in the use of disposable items during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially single-use plastics. While there are occasions during this pandemic when it is impossible to avoid the use of single-use plastic items, their use should be kept to an absolute minimum. They should also be carefully disposed of in a way that minimises their impact on the environment.            

Ms Lane Cawte noted that a guide to avoiding single use plastics in churches was available on the URC website. Download it here (PDF)

After discussion of the wording, the resolution was passed unanimously.