Author Archives: Judith Macleod

Dunnichen, Letham and Kirkden Silver Award

Bug Hotel

We are delighted to announce that Dunnichen, Letham and Kirkden Church have been awarded their Silver Eco- Congregation Scotland Award. This is the second highest level of award and shows the commitment of the congregation to their work to care for creation.

The assessors specially commended a number of areas of this small congregation’s work. It was noted they had made really effective use of their existing leadership structures to make sure that their Eco work was embedded as a responsibility for each of the smaller groups reporting to the Kirk Session. This structure helped new ideas to be discussed and developed, leading to plans being approved by the Kirk Session and integrated with all aspects of the life of the church.

The assessors praised the good links with community groups in the parish that has led to work on joint projects. This has included asking the local school to help with developing the church grounds. Dunnichen, Letham, Kirkden Church has an established pattern of keeping the community in touch try providing a very valuable Parish Magazine. The congregation also run film nights on an environmental theme. These have generated lots of interest from people in the community.

Promoting the use of net bags to reduce plastic use when shopping.

Our assessors were delighted to hear about interests the church has in learning from and supporting the work of a wide range of charities. The congregation are keen to support and promote Fair Trade goods, encouraging everyone to shop locally, and to reduce food miles.

The congregation have been exploring the journey of recycled goods. The members have also looked at ways to reduce waste and energy use through adapting their lifestyles. They have been running a rag bag scheme to help recycle clothing. Interest and awareness raising in these eco matters has been taken up the children’s and youth groups, and is now an important part of their work.

We wish the congregation well as they continue to develop their care for creation further in years to come.

Gold Award for Gate Church International

Dundee church is seventh to achieve an Eco-Congregation Gold Award

Eco-Congregation Scotland warmly congratulates Gate Church International in Dundee, celebrating the wonderful news that they have achieved our Gold Award.

This means that they have met or exceeded Eco-Congregation’s Gold Award standards in spiritual living, practical living and global living, while also addressing some more general aspects of environmental care. As our most challenging Award, a successful Gold assessment recognises congregations which have developed a long-term commitment to promoting environmental issues as an integral part of their congregational life.

The seventh eco-congregation to achieve a Gold Award were especially commended by assessors for an outstanding contribution in demonstrating practical action taken within the church and involving the local community, through the Gate Church Carbon Saving Project and various Climate Challenge Fund resourced initiatives since 2013.

Dundee West End Community Fridge

One of the projects which was particularly praised by the assessors was their innovative Community Fridge in Perth Road opposite the church buildings which has a major impact in reducing Food Waste in Dundee.  They were delighted to hear the project is using an electric van to pick up excess food from suppliers for the fridge.

We really appreciated their contribution to our recent ‘Feeding our Communities‘ event and the example they offered that can be followed across the country. This took place during Scotland’s Climate Week (14th–20th September 2020) when organisations aim to promote the message that, together, we can help end Scotland’s contribution to climate change.

The Carbon Saving Project aims to make Gate Church International the ‘Greenest Church in Scotland’.

The assessors noted the way that Gate Church International includes so many volunteers within their projects, many of whom do not have a church link, and the integration this brings with the community they serve, enriching the church’s mission.

Also of note was the work that has been done to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings, a 200 years-old Grade A listed church and century-old community centre. The installation of solar panels, condensing boilers, draught proofing and insulation offers a wonderful example of what can be done in listed buildings and halls like theirs.

Clothes Swap in Gate Church International

The assessors were impressed with the fact that reuse, recycling & up-cycling was well established culturally within the congregation, with lots of examples of best practice. They liked the Sew and Repair classes the church occasionally runs, alongside their Community Wardrobe, as well as the Gift Boxes which help meet material poverty in the city.

The assessors also commended the house groups that meet across the area and discuss environmental matters. They really appreciated the focus on stewardship as a church, and the church focus that worshipping God means caring for those in need and the world God created.

Also of note are the links the church has with Signpost International and Compassion UK, and the support they give for international small projects through their personal connections. The children in the congregation have been encouraged to sponsor children in the developing world through Compassion UK.

News of the Gold Award was confirmed days before the 2020 Climate Challenge Fund Gathering. Gate Church Carbon Saving Project and the church’s volunteers have regularly been highlighted at the yearly event celebrating climate projects across Scotland.

Livingston United Parish Church Silver Award

Creation Time Activity – Map of Scotland in stones.

We are delighted to announce that Livingston United Parish Church, Nether Dechmont Community Centre, Livingston has been awarded an Eco-Congregation Scotland Bronze Award on 06/09/2019 in recognition of their work and commitment to caring for creation.

Livingston United Parish Church were especially commended by the assessors for the level of involvement of many individuals in the planning and the continuing good communication links, as well as the way communications are made.

They were also commended for the way they embed creation themes into worship, prayer and learning. A foundation in spiritual living & worship is embedded in the ethos of the worship team in promoting all matters of environmental & peace and justice concern. This is achieved in a variety of ways with all ages and places on the journey included.

Also noted for special commendation were the number of varied actions and creative activities available to the congregation and local community which continue to be supported as well as the evident embedding of the eco congregation values into what they are doing.

Eco Awareness Stand

Selkirk Parish Church Gold Award.

Selkirk Parish Church have been awarded their Eco Congregation Scotland Gold Award.
The Parish Church has just achieved the highest award as an Eco Congregation, only the sixth in Scotland to receive a Gold Award, and the first to experience a virtual assessment via Zoom.
The congregation was delighted to learn that all the criteria under the headings of Spiritual, Practical and Global Living were met or exceeded. They were particularly commended for the use of the pop-up shop as a monthly Recycling Clinic and drop off point. So thanks to those in the community for collecting and bringing those hard-to-recycle items to the pop-up shop. (eg crisp packets, bottle tops, old watches, jewellery and mobiles) The church eco group ensures these items are recycled in an environmentally responsible way, benefitting a number of charities. These practical actions demonstrate the congregation’s conviction that caring for the environment is an essential outworking of their Christian faith. The Gold Award criteria also require the congregation to take action on a wide range of other environmental issues including bio-diversity and climate change.

The congregation hopes to celebrate this achievement when the current restrictions allow. Please follow the Selkirk Parish Church Facebook page for the latest news and events.
“The Gold Award challenges us all to maintain and build on the achievement!”

Westray Parish Church Gold Award.

Westray Parish Church on the island of Westray in the Orkney Isles has become the 5th congregation to gain an Eco-Congregation Scotland Gold Award.

Westray church and two of the wind turbines.

Westray Parish Church had applied for a silver award. However when the assessors visited them they realised that the work being done by the congregation far exceeded that standard and decided that they should be given their Gold Award. The congregation have been especially commended by the assessors for the way the church has been leading the community through involvement in island wide energy projects such as installing a community owned wind turbine and a project with Lottery and Scottish Government grant funding which worked to identify the 9 houses on Westray most severely affected by fuel poverty and energy inefficency. The project took them out of fuel poverty by installing ground source heat pumps, double glazing, extra insulation and draft proofing in each home. The activity of Fair Trade Group, under the Chairmanship of the minister resulted in Westray being recognised as a Fair Trade island in 2007.

Westray Fairtrade display

The award assessors noted the great connections that the church has with their local community and their commitment to Eco-Congregation Scotland which now spans over 20 years. They were impressed with the legacy fund that the congregation have made available to other Orkney Parish Churches. This fund has allowed other churches to proceed with their own eco work. The assessors said that Westray Parish Church is a case study of how to do it. Amazing and inspirational!

Westray Parish Eco-Congregation co-ordinator Alasdair McVicar said: “This should be a source of great pride for the congregation and it’s very fine to have good news during these strange times but we know it’s an ongoing commitment and we welcome that”.

Parish Minister, Iain MacDonald added: “It’s lovely to have something to celebrate collectively but these awards should never be seen as something to stick on the wall so we can sit back and admire them but as an incentive to us all to maintain the high standards and to build on them”.

Well done Westray! A well deserved Gold Award.

POSTPONED: All about food- Stirling Network Meeting

Eco-Congregation Scotland Stirling network are looking forward to their meeting on Wednesday 25th of March from 2-4pm (New date to be confirmed) when the topic is “All about Food.” Stuart Guzinski of Forth Environment Link will be talking about the work that they do involving food and growing.  FEL has run Stirling NeighbourFood an online farmers market for ethical, local and seasonal produce which they have recently handed over management of to The Kitchen at 44 King Street, a soon-to-open community kitchen, food event space and cookery school. Sara Macmillan from this social enterprise will also be joining us to share her exciting plans for more community food activity in Stirling with the network. 

All are welcome to attend this event. To assist with catering, if you would like to come along please let us know by filling in the contact form on the events page of this website.