Eco award for one of our churches after years of green progress

St John’s Parish Church in Menston has received a Bronze Eco Church award from A Rocha UK as part of its commitment to improving the environment and combatting climate change.

The award covers areas of life such as the management and maintenance of church buildings and land, engagement with the local community and global environmental campaigns and also the environmental impact of the personal lifestyles within our congregations.

The Vicar of St John’s, the Revd Steve Proudlove, pictured right, said: “We are rightly proud to receive this award.

“As Christians we firmly believe that God loves his world and so must we.

“Eco Church is just one way of sharing God’s love with our community, by safeguarding our environment for those who come after us.

“This bronze award is a beginning; we intend to work hard to improve our care for the world, and to work with other agencies for the benefit of Menston in many different ways.”

Marilyn Banister, member of the St John’s Outreach team, said: “It is great to be given this award which recognises contributions made by all members of the church family.

“We promote, encourage and cajole by asking people to make small changes in their behaviour which can bring about big changes when all taken together.

 “We are looking forward to doing more over the next few months/years to increase awareness of the urgent need for change in order to address the climate emergency.”

There are three levels of Eco Church Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold. In order to qualify for an Award churches must attain the required standard in several areas.

Marilyn explained how St John's Eco Church journey started back in 2009:

“Church members had heard a talk from Dave Bookless at Greenbelt where he recounted his awakening to God’s love of creation. His story was detailed in his book, “Planetwise – Dare to care for God’s world”. 

“We organised a visit to a sustainable energy project – Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags; arranged a clothes swop evening and restarted “Beating the Bounds” at Rogation.  At the same time, encouragement was given through the Parish Magazine to “Live Lightly” based on tips from the A Rocha website.

“The church was also working on replacing our heating system so exploration took place around ground source heat pumps and other renewable sources of energy. In the end though, we replaced the gas boilers but they are much more efficient.

A meeting was set up with the local MP,Philip Davies, in February 2017 and issues around fuel poverty, insulation, retro-fitting and VAT on community energy projects were discussed. 

“Jemima Parker, Diocesan Environmental officer was instrumental in getting this off the ground,” said Marilyn, who is pictured immediately to the left of Philp Davies, with Jemima beside her

That meeting led to encouragement to arrange a renewable energy event in March 2018 at which the local MP and others would debate whether renewable energy can be affordable and provide benefits to the local community. About 60 people attended and drew in people from the local area and farther afield.

“There is much still to do and even much greater urgency but the Eco Church programme has given us a framework to work through and we plan to keep going!”

For more information visit https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/

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