The Gold award which Lomond Parish has achieved recognises that their congregation has met or exceeded Eco-Congregation’s highest standards in spiritual living, practical living and global living, and is seen as a beacon in the area for caring about environmental issues.
The congregation has been especially commended by the assessors for the breadth of their work, with many members taking positive action to reduce their individual carbon footprint as well as that of the church building. Environmental issues are embedded in worship and extend beyond the grounds, with a reflective walk being prepared for RSPB Loch Lomond as part of a Faith Action for Nature project.
The assessors were very impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the congregation. Strengths were noted in all the areas being assessed but particularly in the area of spiritual living. They were commended for the outstanding work they are doing in making connections between Christian faith and environmental concerns for the whole congregation.
The church grounds are used to provide community allotments. These are managed in an ecologically positive way and this has had an impressive impact both within the congregation and the wider community.
The church has been involved in the pilot of Faith Action for Nature, supplying locally grown plants for community displays and running an Eco fair. This work has contributed significantly to the church becoming very well known locally for their leadership and their commitment to environmental concerns.
Energy use within the church buildings has been monitored and they now have a zoned heating system with smart WiFi enabled controls, which has helped them to minimise the energy they use in heating their buildings. They are careful to monitoring and evaluate their use of energy. Members of the congregation have taken steps to address the use of energy in their own homes, addressing a range of issues from buying locally to attending a course to learn how to change their driving habits to reduce the use of fuel. There are a variety of examples of the congregation going the extra mile to find environmentally friendly solutions such as switching to bio oasis for flower arrangements and finding a recycling provider for old photographs
“We started on this journey in 2011, and have worked through the levels of the award, raising awareness among the congregation and users of our buildings on the importance of reducing our carbon footprint to protect God’s Creation. With the Climate Emergency now declared by governments we will continue to strive help the transition to a low carbon economy, so that our children and their children can continue to enjoy the beauty of Loch Lomondside and the Leven Valley ” Mary Sweetland, Eco-Convenor
Lomond Parish is the new name for the Church of Scotland in north Vale of Leven following the union recently of Alexandria Parish and Jamestown Parish. The award was assessed for Alexandria Parish Church.
A free, interactive and fun workshop to help you find new ways to reduce food waste. Coming along to this workshop could help you save as much as £460 a year (that’s the amount of food the average Scottish household throws away and much of it could have been eaten.) Come and learn some new food saving tips and help play your part in creating a cleaner, greener Scotland.
Is creation care part of your walk with God? This was the question we focused on during this year’s Refuel. We were trying to emphasize that Christians are called to care for this world that we inhabit because God loves all of his creation. He has a purpose for it all, not just for people.
We designed a brief survey as a way to encourage reflection, and to start discussion. We asked people about their environmental awareness and actions, and whether their faith had an impact on these.
Our display highlighted a host of Biblical verses about creation. We contrasted these with facts about how humans are currently treating God’s world, our impact on our environment. In the midst of these we had red and green hearts illustrating Christian responses: hope, reflect, love, pray, change, act, share and restore. Over the display hung our beautiful banner – ‘For God so loved the world’.
The combination of the display and the survey prompted good discussions with people: those attending seminars in the Moray Churches tent, others coming in to browse or for a quiet moment of prayer, and, not least, fellow stall holders. (The Moray Churches tent aimed to provide a sanctuary for prayer and reflection in the busy-ness of Refuel.)
Nearly 90% of those surveyed said their faith had an impact on their desire to protect the environment. We found that most people recycled. Many tried to reduce their plastic use and waste more generally. A few opted to travel more sustainably and reduce car use. A handful ate less meat or grew their own vegetables. Some had not linked their faith to creation care before. Several were very environmentally aware and active and wanted advice and encouragement to build creation care into the life of their church.
We appreciated the opportunity to start these conversations, hopefully planting seeds that will bear fruit in the future. This year, David Coleman from Eco-Congregation Scotland held two seminars in the Moray Churches tent. We were delighted to be able to reinforce his message with our week-long presence at Refuel – and we’re looking forward to next year!
Many thanks to the Energy Saving Trust for leading a really interesting Love Food Hate Waste workshop at Kilmartin and Ford Church, Lochgilphead on Friday afternoon (25.10.19). Everyone enjoyed the workshop and felt they came away with new tips and ideas to save on food waste. Lots of good discussion and memories of things that Mum and Granny did years ago, that are still so relevant today. Looking forward to trying it all out.
In 2016 Springburn Parish Church were awarded a grant from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, Keep Scotland Beautiful. With the funds 12 raised beds, 2.4m long and 1.2m wide were made from railway sleepers and a patio was also constructed. Glasgow District Council donated five tons of compost to fill the beds. The raised beds were mostly placed on the patio, with the remainder situated round one side of the church. In addition, apple and plum trees were planted on the grassy slope which leads down from the church. Blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes were planted too. Last year blackcurrant jam and apple jelly was made to sell at the Trefoil Guild’s annual coffee morning. This year 10lbs of apples, 4lbs of plums and 9lbs of gooseberries were picked from the growing area. It has been a successful project involving people from the church and open to other groups beyond the church if they would like to take part.
Fullarton Connexions is the latest development of Fullarton Parish Church (Church of Scotland), originally built in 1838 as a Chapel of Ease to serve the growing harbourside population in Irvine. The buildings have been extensively renovated and remodelled to serve both the church and the wider community. Such has been the success of the project that the church decided to buy a triangular patch of woodland to the north of the site for a possible future phase of development, but in the meantime for use as a car-park extension.
A member of the church volunteers with the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), who are the lead agency for the Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network, working with landowners to try to create a pollinator-friendly corridor for 50 miles down the Ayrshire coast. The church and SWT agreed to work together on a habitat creation project. The land had been partially cleared and surfaced for the car park, leaving 3 banks of earth around the plot, which rapidly became colonised with nettles, brambles and sticky-willy. The earth banks looked ideal for development to include bee hotels to provide suitable habitat for solitary bees and other insects, habitat which is in short supply around our towns.
SWT volunteers cleared some of the more aggressive plants from the banking and constructed two bee/bug hotel structures, which were subsequently filled by children from the church. The materials used came from local SWT reserves and from the site. An inventory was taken of the flowering plants growing in the area, including some sown earlier. More wildflower seeds were collected from around the parish and sown on the banks and surrounding area, again by the children.
The project draws favourable comments and interest from church members and visitors alike. The remaining woodland has been used as an outdoor classroom and is regarded as an asset to the congregation and a contribution to the Nectar Network. We hope it will raise awareness of the need for wild habitat and provoke thought about our place in creation and our obligations to be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to us.