We have all benefitted during our lifetime from modern technology and materials. We appreciate our motor cars, dependable heating and lighting, plastics and synthetic materials etc. However most of us will have felt concerned about the long term effects this is having on our planet and are now aware that we cannot continue without greater respect for the environment. Recently I spoke to the combined church PCCs introducing Eco church. This is an online website resource which helps churches to work towards greater environmental sustainability.

The bishops of our diocese are encouraging all churches to consider Eco church as a means of prioritising our environmental mission. There will be environmental challenges on the diocesan website during Lent alongside a lent course which some churches are doing.

Eco church involves a detailed survey to understand better where we currently are and where we could make changes. It also involves giving greater priority within our church worship and teaching to environmental themes. It gives churches an option to work towards goals of a bronze, silver or gold certificate.

Some in our communities are already taking environmental issues seriously. Liz Harper has organised recycling and regular jumble sales for many years and we are grateful to her for this. Sue Sherry has been advising the parish council for Ruishton and Thornfalcon and has written a report on environmental sustainability for the neighbourhood plan, Creech St Michael PCC arranged twinning of the church toilet when it was installed providing funding for a toilet in the developing world. I am sure there are other initiatives.

I think that we have a responsibility as a church, not just as individuals to give greater priority to environmental stewardship. In the book of Genesis God created the whole earth to worship and glorify Him and man to be stewards of the earth.

I recognise that we need to be realistic as to our aims with our small congregations. However as one PCC member suggested -a goal to consider environmental sustainability when planning any project/activity as a church would be useful.

For more information do have a look at the Eco church website

Jane Hempson Brown