Christians from across Suffolk have unanimously voted to work together to care for the environment
Monday 26th February 2018
The Suffolk-wide commitment comes as St Andrew’s Church Freckenham, near Mildenhall, becomes the first Anglican church in the county to receive a prestigious Eco Church award from the national environmental charity A Rocha UK.
The Revd Canon Sandie Barton, Diocesan Environment Officer and parish priest of four churches including Freckenham, said: “I’m delighted that St Andrew’s has achieved the status of bronze-standard Eco Church, and already we are working towards the next stage of a silver award, and eventually, we hope, gold"
The churchyard in Freckenham has been pretty much untouched by pesticides and weedkillers for generations, and so is perfect for encouraging wildlife. Wild flowers are left blooming, and bird feeders are installed near the church too. The church does not have running water so rain is saved in water-butts for people to tend the flowers they place on their loved-ones’ graves. A ‘green’ waterless loo is also installed, which once a year is emptied out to produce compost, and the church has changed electricity supplier to 100% renewable energy too, which will cut the bill in half.
"To become a Eco Church there are relatively simple steps to take, but when you think that there are over 450 Anglican churches across Suffolk, many of which are already deeply involved in caring for the environment, you begin to see what a huge impact that can make if we all work together. My aim is for us not just to have a few Eco Churches, but to be an Eco Diocese, a network for the good of the environment across the whole county of Suffolk.” says Sandie Barton
Members of the Diocesan Synod, the Church of England’s parliament in Suffolk meeting at the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday 24 February, voted unanimously to support this aim, and Bishop Martin then signed a document registering the intent of the Church of England in Suffolk to work towards accreditation as an Eco Diocese.
Bishop Martin said: “Making a difference is what we exist for, our care for creation is so very important, and one very good example where Suffolk Christians are doing this. Many of our churches are already working hard to care for the environment, and I want to encourage every congregation, whether small or large, to follow the example of Freckenham and help us become a greener Church for the sake of our county, and our world.”
Picture caption: Bishop Martin signing the Eco Diocese Register with The Revd Canon Sandie Barton.