We had a successful day at Sunday’s Heart and Soul Event in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. This is an annual event run by the Church of Scotland to mark General Assembly week. Many eco-congregations were present, with Skene Parish Church having their ownstand showing their own environmental work and encouraging others to get involved.
The Eco-Congregation Scotland stand had an eco-driving simulator from the Energy Saving Trust to stimulate discussion about how we travel to church and how we use our cars generally. The simulator allowed people to test their own driving and learn some techniques to drive more economically.
Although the weather was wet at the start of theday it improved, and overall we had more enquiries than any of the previous years we have attended.
Balerno Parish Church have been highly commended in their environmental work under the Eco-Congregation scheme and presented with an “outright” award. The church first registered under the Eco-Congregation scheme in February 2011 and has been busy over the past two years implementing key actions to reduce its impact on the environment and to support environmental initiatives within the whole community.
The award was presented on Sunday 12th May by Rev Trevor Jamison, Environmental Chaplin to Eco-Congregation Scotland during a special environmental themed service under the title of “On Earth as it is in Heaven”. During his presentation the Reverend Jamison commented that “The assessors were extremely impressed with all that the congregation has achieved, and as a result, have recommended that you should be one of the very few congregations in Scotland to receive an “outright award”.
One specific area that the church has focused on over the period of participation is the support of community based projects and events. The church has active volunteers supporting the great work of Balerno Village Trust and regularly hosts key events such as “Apple Day” and “Tattie Day”. Balerno Parish Church has also been able to fully support the recent Fair Trade Village application by providing one of the required Fair Trade catering venues by means of the Mill Café. In terms of the day to day running of the church, it has a fully co-ordinated recycling strategy for all its buildings, which means all paper, cardboard, cans, glass and plastic bottles that can be recycled are recycled. Food waste from the café is also composted using both on-site composting and a food waste collection service. For the running of the church halls and main sanctuary, waste going to landfill is kept to an absolute minimum.
A specific initiative Balerno Parish Church would like to advertise more widely is its Printer Cartridge recycling service for the community. A Printer Cartridge collection bin is now located in the Mill Café. The church knows that may households struggle to know what to do with used printer cartridges, but these can all be recycled properly if left in the church’s collection point. Note this is for home printers only (not commercial/office printer cartridges). Balerno Parish Church would like to thank all those that have helped them achieve their environmental goals to date which includes all members of the congregation, BVT and also all users of the halls for events and regular clubs.
Rob Cargill, who leads the Green Team at the church, said “We look forward to everyone’s support as we work towards our next level of award in 2015. I would also sum-up the basics of environmental good practice as follows: “Recycle”, “Buy Fair Trade wherever possible” and “Use Less Energy”. He goes on to say “If we can all do what we can in these three areas we will achieve a great deal ”.
(Photo: Rob Cargill, accompanied by the Sunday Club children, BPC Minister Louise Duncan and Parish Assistant Hayley Cohen, receives Eco-Congregation Award from Revd Trevor Jamison.)
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new online discussion forum.
This is a place where you can:
- meet people from other eco-congregations.
- discuss what your congregation is doing.
- share ideas.
- ask questions.
To visit the discussion forum and take part please go here:
This year, as in 2012, Ökogyülekezet (the Hungarian equivalent of Eco-Congregation Scotland) invited a guest from ECS to attend their second annual meeting in Budapest. I was fortunate enough to be the guest from Scotland this year. Having not visited Budapest for 25 years, this presented me with an exciting opportunity to see how the “Eco-Congregation” model translated into a very different church context and a society in which a Communist command economy had been converted into a capitalist state which is now a member of the EU.
About 40 members of Ökogyülekezet attended the annual meeting with a programme that seemed very familiar to me having just attended the Edinburgh ECS Annual Gathering the week before. After a brief act of worship, there were two talks on the theme of “the natural and the non-natural in our lives”. Professor Victor András (Environmental Education) highlighted the all-pervasive impact of artificial compounds (plastics, PVCs, newly developed drugs etc) both beneficial and malign. Then Eszter Karsay (pastor to an urban congregation in Budapest) examined the natural and man-made as revealed in the Bible – particularly focussing on Genesis and the creation narratives. I then concluded the programme before lunch with a talk entitled “Living under the Rainbow – a creation restored by love” in which I tried to weave together recent advances in the science of global change and our response to these challenges (especially climate change and the sixth mass extinction). After lunch there were a series of workshops and I led the one in English which enabled me to explore in more detail some of the ideas I had presented in the morning. A persistent issue was how to present eco-theology to very conservative congregations many of whom were sympathetic to creationism, and to church members struggling with a falling standard of living.
Very familiar challenges common to both Hungary and Scotland emerged throughout the day: getting eco-theological issues seen as mainstream and not just peripheral; obtaining ‘buy in’ from older clergy who have many other demands on their time and getting senior clergy (in Hungary these are bishops!) on board. These challenges have also to be seen against a rapid decline in Hungarian Reformed church membership (down from 1.6 to 1.1 million in the 2011 census – although the format of the question has changed), standards of living undermined by a severe economic downturn since 2008, and global change generally viewed by the populace as a low priority issue. But after only two years, Ökogyülekezet already has a chair (Tamas Kodacsy) and a part time co-ordinator (Boglarka Szucs)) and the second annual meeting showed an increased attendance over 2012 with a good number of young adults contributing. It was a privilege to represent ECS at this second Annual Meeting of Ökogyülekezet and I very much hope that ECS can continue to develop this link to our mutual benefit.
(A report of Alan’s visit can be found on the Hungarian Reformed Church web site here.)
Eco-Congregation Scotland is pleased to announce the launch of a new version of our Idea for Action 8″ on the subject of church finances.
The new material covers finance issues and ethical purchasing. It can be downloaded from our Greening Church Spending web page.
St Ninian’s Craigmailen Church has received their first Eco-Congregation Award. Congratulations!
Principally the award was received for:
- Their work with the Brownies’ Quiet Garden – which contributed to Linlithgow’s ‘Burgh Beautiful’ portfolio
- Their work with the church grounds making it a very attractive and peaceful atmosphere
- Their an annual hosting of children and their teachers from the Chernobyl region
- Promoting donations to the West Lothian Food Bank and purchase of Fair Trade products
- Installing extra lagging and insulation in the church’s heating system and wall and loft insulation in the Manse.
Photo borrowed from: http://www.stninianscraigmailen.org.uk/index.html
The Award cermony will take place on Sunday 19th May at 11am at their special Creation Eco-Service. All welcome!
CSV’s Action Earth 2013 campaign is helping to get people and communities busy outdoors. We have grants up to £500 to give to groups of volunteers who are carrying out environmental projects in Scotland.
Grants of up to £250 are available for practical activities that involve volunteers in improving outdoor spaces or creating habitats for wildlife. Grants can be used to purchase plants, tools and materials or to cover volunteer expenses.
If your group is volunteering on a Local Nature Reserve we can give you up to £500 for practical work, wildlife recording or educational activities that encourage more people onto the reserve.
The campaign runs from April to December 2013. For more information or to apply online go to: http://actionearth.csv.org.uk
If you have any questions about the campaign or any project ideas please contact Robert Henderson at: actionearthcsvorguk (actionearthcsvorguk) or call T: 0131 222 9083 / 0131 622 7766.