In 2011, St Andrew’s took the decision to become an Eco church, part of an ecumenical programme run by A Rocha to help churches make the link between environmental issues and Christian Faith and to respond with practical action. In July 2018 we achieved our Bronze Eco Church award, followed by a silver award in December 2019 and we are now working towards gold.
Early on, we had a session after the church service where we invited the congregation to think about their carbon footprint by completing an online survey. We have just repeated this exercise as part of the 2021 Big Green week. We planted a herb garden by the north door using plants donated by the congregation. We have put cycle racks outside the main entrance to encourage the use of sustainable transport.
We developed links with other environmental groups like Vision 21. In 2013 we held our first green fair where we had a number of groups providing information on how to live more sustainably. We built on those links by inviting groups to have information stalls at events and also to talk to church groups. These links led to St Andrew’s being asked to host a new venture – the Repair and Regeneration Café which is held monthly on the first Saturday of the month with the aim of
- Bringing back the desire in people to repair things
- Maintaining repair expertise and to spread knowledge
- Connecting people from different backgrounds to each other.
Volunteers at the Regeneration café will help to prolong the life span of equipment, which means the rate at which things sent to landfill is slowed and people get to use treasured pieces of equipment that bit longer.
This collaboration has led to other initiatives being hosted at St Andrews such as a product design workshop for school children and an energy training session. Earlier this year, we submitted the Repair Café to the Green Showcase launched by the Church Times, in collaboration with members of both the Church of England and Roman Catholic environmental working groups and it was one of 7 projects shortlisted. A film of the shortlisted projects was broadcast live from St George’s Tron in Glasgow during the COP26 climate talks.
Our worship includes services with an environmental theme. We’ve regularly participated in the Show the Love Campaign to raise awareness on Climate Change with our Green Hearts events and this year held 2 services for Climate Sunday. In October this year, we held a special appeal for Toilet Twinning and raised enough to fund 2 toilet blocks and 4 toilets in Malawi as we have links with this country through one of our church members.
At Christmas, we’ve encouraged the congregation to send the ‘Big Church card’ to share festive greetings rather than send individual cards. In the past this was a paper card made by the children but with covid restrictions in 2020 we moved online and produced an e-card with video and photo messages, something which we’re repeating this year.
We have regular eco updates in our weekly bulletin. There is an Eco noticeboard in the church to promote environmental issues and share news.