We are delighted to announce that Buchlyvie Parish Church linked with Gartmore Parish Church have been awarded their Eco Congregation Scotland Bronze Awardin recognition of their work and commitment to caring for creation. The assessors commended the way in which the two congregations collaborate as they work to address environmental concerns and care for creation. The assessors also commended the following aspects of their work: the recycling schemes which deal with difficult to recycle products, the great links with schools and the support the congregations give to the local school’s twinning with an African school, and the support of the congregations to Fair-trade and their commitment to using fairly traded products.
Care for creation forms an important part of the worship and witness of these churches, with a special focus at Creationtide and harvest in the Autumn. There was a special focus in worship in the lead up to COP 26 last November.
Visitors to the church buildings will see the noticeboards dedicated to sharing ideas and tips on environmental matters. Lots of great ideas and tips are included in the church notices, with members taking this beyond the church and into the community as they write articles and suggestions for the village newspapers. Members of both these churches are active participants in Eco Congregation Scotland’s Stirling network and attend many of the Eco Congregation national events.
Members of the congregations are challenged to consider their own use of resources and energy in their homes. In 2019 a Christmas tree festival was held. Village organisations each had a tree and were given the challenge to decorate their tree using items from their homes. This event then acted as a catalyst for further events focussed on reducing waste.
Gartmore church has developed part of the church grounds into an eco-faith garden. This has provided a welcome space for the community and congregation alike to socialise. An eco- garden is planned for Buchlyvie church.
Both congregations are active supporters of Christian Aid and have petitioned the local MP on climate justice issues.
Buchlyvie Church held a flower festival over the Jubilee Weekend. Their Eco Congregation display featured wild flowers gathered from the wealth of wild plants growing in the hedgerows and wayside up Whiteleys Road, Buchlyvie. Sphagnum moss was used as a ‘living oasis’ for the displays. The ‘insects’ you can see in the picture were made by a craftsman using upcycled cutlery and other scrap materials.
The flowers featured in the displays are as follows: Elder, Common comfrey (white), Russian comfrey (purple), Bistort, Hedge garlic/garlic mustard, Welsh poppy, Buttercup, Cuckoo flower/ladies smock, Bush vetch, Germander speedwell, Wood avens, Red campion, Dog rose, Chickweed, Dandelion herb Robert, Ground elder, Sorrel and cuckoo spit, Sweet cicely, Nettle, Ribwort plantain, Cow parsley, Beech nuts, Broom, Londonpride, Pignut, Pussy willow fruits.
St Ninian’s Church has recently been awarded their Bronze Eco Congregation Scotland Award. This award is given in recognition of the work they have done and their commitment to caring for creation. They were one of the four churches chosen to take part in the Orchard Twinning Project, which saw Scottish church orchards twinned with those of congregations in Hungary.
Being part of the Orchard Project led to St Ninian’s holding an apple tasting day to select the right apples for their site. This was followed by planning a mini orchard of apple trees with the charity The Orchard Project and a ceremonial planting in the church garden. The fruit trees, and wildflower planting, are helping to improve biodiversity in the mature church garden, a space which is widely enjoyed by people in their local community.
The assessors were delighted with the well planned Season of Creation held each autumn at St Ninian’s. This is part of a worldwide, ecumenical 6 week period of prayer and action to protect the planet, ‘our common home’. In 2021 St Ninians put together a special church magazine in the run up to 26th UN Global Climate Summit in Glasgow.
This busy congregation have been promoting the recycling of a wide range of materials. They regularly put articles in their church magazine as well as sharing helpful tips for greener ways to live. They have a bespoke recycling unit for members of the congregation as well as litter and recycling bins, made of reused wood which are placed in the church garden.
They have held sessions to discuss and exploring environmental, peace and justice issues with members of their congregation. Lent study groups often provide a good vehicle for this kind of exploration. St Ninian’s is a Fairtrade Church and local supporter of Christian Aid Week.
Congratulations to all at St Ninian’s Episcopal Church for their hard work and well deserved award.
EcoHighland 2021 is a programme for two full weeks of events, around worship, prayer and action organised by churches locally and supported by Eco Congregation Scotland with Inverness Presbytery Church Support. Running from the 31st of October to the 13th of November, these two weeks coincide with the timing of the vital COP 26 negotiations in Glasgow. EcoHighland 2021 gives local churches and surrounding communities -and those who join us online from elsewhere- an opportunity to share the importance of caring for our planet.
The calendar of events below gives an overview and flavour of the main events happening. It is worth keeping an eye on the Eco Congregation Scotland events page as further events are added. There are activities that will appeal to people of all ages.
These events are only a flavour of the range of things that the congregations are doing. Inverness St Columba have put together a booklet of pledges to help people care for the planet, as well as a collective active travel challenge to clock up the 180 miles to Glasgow over the duration of COP 26. Other congregations are taking greening their grounds and beyond seriously by planting trees, wildflowers and daffodils. Many of the congregations are planning what they will do to keep this going beyond the two weeks of EcoHighland 2021. For example, Inverness Old High St Stephens congregation are planning a series of conversations about climate change and the practical steps we can take to help care for the planet. Inverness Dalneigh and Bona are looking at how to help people make practical changes such as extending the range of things they each recycle. There are many more exciting plans beside these, so it will be worth keep an eye on church websites and social media in the coming months.
To view the livestream of this event please go to the Maxwell Means Castle Parish Church website and follow the link to their YouTube channel. It will be streamed from 7.30pm on the 22nd of September 2021.
We are delighted to announce that Oakshaw Trinity Church, Paisley has been given a Silver Eco Congregation Scotland Award for their environmental work. The assessors noted that the team at Oakshaw Trinity church had presented a strong application for their silver award. They were impressed by the way in which the team arranged their meetings to ensure that the Kirk Session is kept fully appraised of their work. The assessors also commended the discussion about environmental matters within the congregation.
Oakshaw Trinity Church has links with charity shops and various events in the community. There is a Fair trade shop which operates in the church and links with the shop in the town. The congregation also support the Renfrewshire Foodbank. The church also has strong links with Christian Aid and TearFund.
Springwatch and Autumnwatch events are held and encourage all of the congregation to participate in caring for the grounds around the church. The youth organisations like to work with gardeners to care for creation. The services held on these days link the spiritual and the practical, with discussion of environmental matters.
The assessors noted the ways in which environmental messages are communicated within the congregation and to the wider community. Good use is made of notice boards and newsletters. During the Covid time of lockdown and isolation more use has been made of online communication, with hopes that this will continue beyond the pandemic.
The team at Oakshaw Trinity have found a number of ways to share environmental learning with the congregation. They have used pledge cards to encourage members of the congregation to review their lifestyle and carbon footprint. Their Zero Waste events have been successful and will be repeated when the pandemic rules allow. All age groups have been encouraged to participate in projects.
The team have linked with the Fabric Committee and this has resulted in an improved environmental performance of the church buildings. There has been discussion about ethical investment and environmental philosophy within the congregation and these discussions have resulted in changes in investment and activity.
A series of pilgrimage walks are planned by Inverness Presbytery over the summer that will take in different parts of the beautiful Highland scenery. If you would like to join in with these walks please contact Paul Haringman, Mission Development worker, using the details below.