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!”
The next EcoCongregation Central Borders Network meeting will be on Thursday 13th September commencing at 7.30 pm. Kindly hosted by Hawick Baptist Church the venue will be The Well, Bourtree Terrace, TD9 9HN; it’s suggested that we park by Morrisons and walk up.
Welcome, introductions and apologies
Greener Borders Winter Talks 2018/19
Reports from Congregations
“Ethical Finance and the Disinvestment Movement” – discussion led by David Bethune
A group of 7 of us associated with Selkirk Parish Church arranged to meet with our MSP, Rachael Hamilton, at one of her surgeries last week. We explained why we were concerned about climate change, and urged her to press for an even stronger Climate Bill. She listened to what we had to say, and commented than “no constituent had ever raised the issue of climate change” with her before. After half an hour of discussions with her, we left her (and her MP colleague, John Lamont) to ponder what we had said.
Some of us hope to continue the conversation with her at the Mass Lobby on 19th September. We encourage you to do the same. You can sign up at https://www.christianaid.org.uk/events/mass-climate-lobby.
Following the vote at the Church of Scotland General Assembly to continue with the policy of “engagement” with oil and gas companies, despite 2 years of this policy having little or no effect, Selkirk Parish Church, as an eco-congregation, has decided to withdraw its funds from the Church of Scotland Growth Fund (which currently invests in Shell, BP and Total).
In a letter to the Church of Scotland’s Investors Trust, the Kirk Session and Congregational Board states, “As an eco-congregation, we do not believe it is ethically acceptable to invest in, and gain profit from, companies whose main aim is to continue to explore for, and to extract, fossil fuels. We believe that the Church of Scotland should be leading the way for others, and should fully divest now from all companies involved in fossil fuel exploration and extraction; this would give a stronger signal to these companies than any engagement is ever likely to do.
Within Selkirk Parish Church, we are committed to caring for God’s creation. We can no longer wait for the Church or Scotland to act in this matter, so we are taking our own small steps to make ourselves “fossil free”. Withdrawing our funds is one step in this journey that we are able to make now, and therefore we are doing so. We hope that other congregations may follow our example.”
The congregation may instead invest the cash released in an ethical fund, or use it towards employing a Children and Families Worker. As their letter concludes, “we consider this to be a much better way to invest for growth in God’s Kingdom.”
Over the next few months, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland will be out across Scotland with their members putting on Climate Action Workshops which you can get involved in! These free to attend workshops are an exciting opportunity to meet others interested in climate change, get to know more about this years Climate Bill and to find out how you can get involved in campaigning.
SCCS are also delighted to be working in partnership with Take One Action at some of these workshops to bring you a screening of Not Without Us, a film following frontline activists in the fight against climate change. Check the event page of the workshop near you to find out if there will be a screening and how to get tickets.
More workshop dates and locations will be added over the next few weeks so keep checking the website for our up to date list. You can register for tickets at the confirmed dates so far by following the links below:
These workshops will provide information about the Stop Climate Chaos CLimate Bill campaign and equip you with the knowledge and skills to take action. We hope attendees will feel inspired to take the message that we need a strong climate act onto their streets, communities and to their representatives.
In partnership with Take One Action, the workshops in Edinburgh (3rd June), Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Inverness, Dumfries & Stirling will be followed by a screening of Not Without Us – following frontline activists in the fight against climate change for a subsidised cost of just £4!
There are nine workshops which you can register for today:
Traidcraft recently received nearly £70 from Selkirk Parish Church – mostly from old and broken jewellery and watches!
How does this work?
Traidcraft Exchange works with Recycling For Good Causes, who can turn unwanted currency, jewellery, watches, cameras, old mobiles and used stamps into vital funds.
It is very straightforward. At church, we have a box where people put their old, broken or unwanted items. When we have 10 kilos, Recycling For Good Causes will collect at no cost to us. They then assess the value of the items for recycling and send a cheque direct to our chosen charity.
Traidcraft has so far raised almost £20,000 from this initiative, and this money is used to continue their work with small-scale farmers.
It’s a win-win-win situation: you have the benefit of de-cluttering; Traidcraft can do more good work; less landfill and more recycling benefits the planet.