Dumfries & Galloway Network

This is the latest news from the Dumfries and Galloway Eco-Congregation network.


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  • Calculating your congregation’s carbon footprint.

    Have you ever considered calculating your congregations carbon footprint? I recently spoke to Matthew Aitken of Dunscore Parish Church  who have been doing this for the past few years and it is not as difficult as it sounds.

    Dunscore is a small village which lies 9 miles northwest of Dumfries with a population of around 150.

    Matthew told me that the congregation started doing this after the Church of Scotland General Assembly asked all congregations to calculate their carbon footprints in order to start reducing them. Dunscore started with the church and manse. The manse was similar to any other house and the church building carbon footprint was similar to a house, although it was not occupied as much. So, realising that the member’s carbon footprints were more siginificant Matthew decided to offer carbon footprint calculation to church members and the wider local community. To do this he developed a simple questionairre which askes questions about electricity, gas, coal and oil usage as well as travel. This is done using meter readings and car mileage, but does not include things like food and clothing which would be harder to calculate. Matthew collects the forms in, does the calculations and issues a certificate. By looking back on these people can get an idea if their carbon footprint is increasing or decreasing year on year.

    Approximately 20 households have taken part over the years, but Dunscore given the size of the village this is a significant number.

    Here is an example of a certificate and the monitoring form Matthew developed:


    Download a Word copy of this form here.

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  • New Eco-Congregation!

    Join us in welcoming Applegarth, Sibbaldie and Johnstone Church of Scotland, our most recent Eco-Congregation!

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  • Invitation to hear Chris Naylor, Director, A Rocha International in Dumfries.

    Chris Naylor, Director, A Rocha International,

    Dumfries Sunday 5 February


    You are invited to hear Chris speak at morning and evening services.

    During the 90s, Chris taught science in a school in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. In his spare time he enjoyed birding at a nearby wetland which he realised was of international importance: huge flocks of cranes and white storks moved through in the spring. Migrant waders, terns and crakes stopped off. Chris discovered that the marsh was in danger of disappearing, so he left his teaching job and became A Rocha’s Director in Lebanon, working with local landowners and tenant farmers so effectively that he didn’t just stop the marsh from further drainage – it got bigger and better.

    He’s now based in Oxfordshire as A Rocha’s International Director. If you would like a better understanding of the biblical teaching about creation care, or would like to hear encouraging stories about what Christians are doing in various parts of the world to protect threatened species and habitats, please come along – you’ll be very welcome.


    Where / when

    10.30 am: How big is the Gospel? Dumfries High School (includes communion)

    6.30 pm Is environmental care just a matter of survival, or is it really important? Dumfries Baptist Church, Newall Terrace (between the Railway Station and the Midsteeple).


    About Chris Naylor

    You can watch a 6 minute video here.


    For more info contact Barbara Mearns (Mon-Thurs) 01387 710286 email: international@arocha.org



    A Rocha is a Christian organisation engaging communities in nature conservation


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  • Presentation of Continuing Award to Dunscore Parish Church

    Dunscore Parish Church, only the fourth congregation to receive an Eco-Congregation Scotland “Continuing Award”, had the award plaque presented on Sunday by Environmental Chaplain, Trevor Jamison. Pictured received the award plaque from Trevor is Alison Boyes, founding member of the church’s Eco group.

    Alison said:
    “Dunscore Church has been an EcoCongregation since 2003 and gained our first award in 2005. We continue in our work as a response to the command of Jesus to “Love Your Neighbour”. In every decision our church makes, we must be mindful of the effects on our neighbours – in choosing a brand of tea or coffee to drink after the service, our neighbour is the producer who should be treated and paid fairly. In choosing an electricity supplier, our neighbours are those who will be affected by climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. In deciding where to keep our money, our neighbours are those who might be affected by the arms trade or the tobacco industry funded by a high street bank.”



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  • Time Travel for Visitors to the Dumfries Environment Fair

    Time Travel for Visitors to the Dumfries Environment Fair

    Members the local network took young visitors on a trip into the future from their Eco-Congregation stall at the recent Dumfries Environment Fair. Youngsters were invited to climb into a “Tardis” and after suitable time machine noises they emerged into the future to see how we are tackling current environmental challenges.  Solutions talked about included:

    New forms of energy generation and storage eg:

    • The cycle path surface in the Netherlands that is made up of solar panels – and, yes you can cycle on it!
    • The “Tesla” power-wall which can be fitted in houses to store up to 7kwh of electricity generated from solar panels for use at night or whenever the sun doesn’t shine.
    • The buses in Aberdeen that run on hydrogen produced from electricity that can be generated from renewables

    Eating locally grown food eg:

    • The Incredible Edible project
    • Growing local food in cities underground (in London they are using disused “Tube” tunnels), using ultra efficient LED lighting

    Earth Hour bag and candle


    • A Danish company “leases” baby clothes. You simply return them for reuse, when your baby has grown out of them. There is another company that does the same for fashion items, such as jeans – the fashion changes and you return your out-of-date pair to be made into a new more fashionable item.
    • Encouraging people living in the same area to jointly own and use bigger household and garden items such as lawn mowers and hedge cutters so that they can be shared and not everyone has to have their own.

    All these solutions really already exist but will become much more common, as we move to a more sustainable, low carbon world. The message was that, in many ways, we have the technology and we have the solutions – we have hope for the future!


    Special thanks are due to Grainne Kennedy (who came up with the idea and manufactured the Tardis), Kate from St Andrew’s RC Church in Dumfries and also members of the Dunscore Eco Team who came to help out on the stall and gave our visitors a candle, a message about Earth Hour and a prayer to take home all in specially designed and environmentally friendly bags.

    Arran enjoying time travel!

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