A Greener Diocese
'In February 2019 we achieved the first stage of accreditation as an Eco Diocese under the A Rocha UK scheme, a bronze award. In order to get the award we had to fulfil a number of 'green' criteria specified by A Rocha, and in addition 10% of our churches had to engage with the scheme, and half of those achieve an award indicating that they had made significant steps in caring for God's creation. We need to double that to achieve a silver award, and we continue to work towards that goal."
Environment Policy: A Greener Diocese
The Diocesan Environment Policy, based on the Fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion, sits firmly within our Diocesan Vision of ‘Flourishing Congregations Making a Difference’
In brief we aim to:
Grow in depth: by focusing on the glory of God revealed in creation, by becoming better informed about environmental issues and by turning our deeper understanding into practical action.
Grow in Influence: by speaking up confidently and prophetically on environmental matters, by collaborating with other agencies locally, nationally and globally, and by working together as a network of parishes to bring about change.
Grow in number: by welcoming members of the wider community to join with us in environmental projects in our parishes.
Grow younger: by working with schools as well as youth and children’s work in parishes to incorporate care for the creation into teaching and practical activities, and by committing ourselves to care for the long term future of the world in which our younger members will live.
The registration form pledging to work towards Eco Diocese accreditation was signed by Bishop Martin at Diocesan Synod in February 2018. 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.
Have you got a story to share about what your church is doing to care for God’s creation? We want to hear from you!
Contact the Diocesan Environmental Officer: Sandie Barton or call her on 01638 720770.
St Andrew’s Freckenham
St Andrew’s Church Freckenham, near Mildenhall, became the first church in the Diocese to receive a bronze Eco Church award in February 2018 under the scheme run by A Rocha UK.
St Andrew’s is one of the four rural churches of which Diocesan Environment Officer Revd Canon Sandie Barton is parish priest.
The churchyard in Freckenham has been pretty much untouched by pesticides and weedkillers for generations, and so is perfect for encouraging wildlife. We leave the wild flowers blooming, and we have bird feeders near the church too. We don’t have running water so we save rain in water-butts for people to tend the flowers they place on their loved-ones’ graves. We have installed a ‘green’ waterless loo, which once a year we empty out to produce our own compost, and we have changed our electricity supplier to 100% renewable energy too, which actually cut our bill in half. We’re already thinking about what we can do next as we’d love to work towards our silver and gold awards.
All Saints’ Worlington
All Saints’ Worlington is amongst a number of churches in the Diocese using their towers to provide nesting space for swifts. The project started back in 2009 when a nearby cottage where swifts were nesting was demolished.
With the help of Action for Swifts and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust a small number of nest boxes were fitted behind the louvres, and recorded swift calls were played to attract the birds. The project has been so successful that there is now a thriving colony, producing some 70 chicks last year.
A member of the PCC said
Many churches are potentially great places to put swift boxes, either in the tower or under the eaves. In Worlington we feel that welcoming swifts is a way of following the command to ‘love thy neighbour.’ Birds are our neighbours too.
If you would like to put swift nesting boxes in your church tower, please do remember that a faculty will be needed – but the joy of seeing swifts swirling around the tower makes it well worthwhile.
Picture credit: Edward Jackson, Save our Suffolk Swifts.
The Diocesan Office has been awarded the Bronze Eco Award by A Rocha UK. Among other things the Property team have worked really hard to ensure that 80% of our clergy houses have solar panels (the other 20% are not suitable for one reason or another) all have water meters and all are fully insulated. We are pictured here with Tracey Housley from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust looking at how we can improve the St Nicholas Churchyard and hopefully next spring we will see some wild flowers growing.
More of our churches have registering with Eco Church - now up to 35! We just need 13 more registrations and another 9 awards and we will be ready to apply for bronze Eco Diocese status! Come on everyone, let‘s get it done!! If you want regular updates on the environment do join our Facebook Environment Group where you can share information and post pictures about your environmental impact. If you would like to sign up to become an Eco church see the A Rocha UK website or contact our Environmental Officer Sandie Barton on 01638 720770.
13 September 2018
- Become an Eco Church -+
The Diocese has signalled the fact that it is serious about caring for the environment by committing to work towards accreditation as an Eco Diocese under the scheme launched by Christian environmental charity A Rocha UK. The criteria for accreditation can be found here.
There are a number of important steps we have already taken, but an important one is to show what is going on in the parishes. The Diocesan Environment Group is calling on all churches to help by registering with the Eco Church scheme, and working towards their own award. Many churches are already doing great work on caring for creation, but we want to be able to measure it, share it and celebrate it.
In order to reach the first level of accreditation as an Eco Diocese we need at least 48 churches to register, and 24 to achieve a bronze award – will your church be one of them?
At present (July 2018) we have 29 churches registered and 14 awards so we are over half way there, and the latest news is that the Dicoesan office has applied for a bronze award, which is one of the criteria to achieve Eco Diocese status. This is a huge achievement we just have to keep going - could you be next?Sandie Barton
Please do let Diocesan Environment Officer know when you register or receive an award by emailing environment@cofesuffolk or call Sandie Barton on 01638 720770.
- Useful LInks-+
www.arocha.org.uk A Rocha – Christian Environmental Charity.
https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/ A Rocha’s Eco Church Scheme.
www.churchcare.co.uk/shrinking-the-footprint The C of E’s National Environment Programme
www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx Free carbon footprint calculator (to work out the carbon footprint of your church just use the tab marked ‘house’).
www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk/ Change your church over to renewable, UK generated electricity.
www.greensuffolk.org/ Suffolk County Council ‘Greenest County’ aspiration.
www.batsandchurches.org.uk/ a useful site for those seeking advice on how to limit the amount of damage done by bats whilst still protecting them.
www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
- Environmental visit during the Bishops’ Pilgrimage 2018-+
During the Lent Pilgrimage 2018 the Bishops were invited to visit an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant at Upton Suffolk Farms. AD has become an attractive technology for many farmers to generate energy from waste products. This is where microorganisms break down biodegradable material or purpose-grown energy crops, such as maize, in the absence of oxygen, producing biogas and digestate. It’s is used to treat waste and sewage sludge to reduce the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere. It can also be used to produce fuels, and the material left after the digestion can be used as fertilizer.