Category Archives: Dumfries

Mini-Gathering in Aberdeen Oct 2012

The report from the Mini-Gathering in Aberdeen held on the 22nd October is now available.

People from 13 congregations came to event, which aimed to inspire and equip congregations for their Eco-Congregation journey. Speakers from Cults Parish Church, Skene Parish Church and Queen’s Cross Parish Church shared their Eco-Congregation plans and achievement. We heartily recommend reading the report if you are looking for inspiration or curious to find out how other congregations carry out their Eco-Congregation journey. 

Rev. Ewan Aitken also gave an inspirational sermon prior to the gathering and abseiled off the Forth bridge for charity later the same day.

You can read the full report by clicking on the link: Report on Mini Gathering 2012

We wish to thank everyone who made this gathering such a success. Especially the wonderful speakers from Cults Parish Church, Skene Parish Church and Queen’s Cross Parish Church.

Next Dumfries & Galloway network meeting 29th Nov 2012

The next Dumfries & Galloway network meeting will take place on the 29th November 2012 from 7pm to 8:30pm to Kilnford Mills in Dumfries. The agenda is available by clicking on the link: 121129 Dumfries and Galloway meeting

It promises to be an enjoyable visit and everyone are welcome to join us! Directions:

From the Kilnford website

Kilnford has been reborn. The old farmhouse and steading have been transformed from a sad dilapidated old farm, to a vibrant food hub that provides the very best local food that is available in Dumfries and Galloway.

Photo borrowed from:

Dunscore Parish Church receives third Eco-Congregation award

Dunscore Parish Church, near Dumfries, has received its third award.

The presentation took place at a Harvest Supper. Everyone brought food and paid £1  with money being used to pay the congregation’s Eco-Congregation Scotland membership fee. Food was locally sourced where possible. Church members provided entertainment . There were two “trialogues”, a reading of “The Deluge” in Scots and some humorous songs from the organist!

Christine Sime, the former minister, presented the award to Charlie Macallan, session clerk.
The occasion was such a success that they are going to make it an annual occasion.




Dalbeattie Church visiting Eco-Congregation Hungary

Revd Norman Hutchenson and members of Dalbeattie Parish Church travelled to Hajdunanas in Hungary to promote the Eco-Congregation movement and forge frienships with a Hungarian Eco-Congregation this summer.









Photos from left to right: Woman in local dress; Award cermony for climate time competition; Visitors from Dalbeattie Rev Norman Hutchenson, Ian McMickan, Lilly Stevenson and Janet Henry, along with translator Rev Aron Kocsis of Hajdunanans at school presentation


Here is his story:

An invitation from Hajdunanas to Eco-Congregations Scotland was an invitation too good to refuse, so accompanied by three elders I went to Eastern Hungary to celebrate Climate Time with an eco winning congregation – Hajdunanas Reformed Church.

What a welcome we received. It is doubtful if anyone from Scotland has ever gone further than Debrecen or Budapest to visit congregations in Hungary. The assistant Minister Aron Kocsis made sure this was to be a visit that all would remember.




Photos from left to right: Sharing the WM booklet featuring relationships with Hungarian Minister; Ian McMickan tastes local food grown on environmental farm


The School, a Reformed Church establishment, invited us to share in their School Assembly, and share their exhibition of creation Time art work. Even the Kindergarten had made little animals out of dough for the season. The school ran a Fete from which they raised over 100000 HUF for the work of the bird hospital in Hortobagy, a national park where they are trying to recover some of the traditional strains of animals and create a traditional agricultural area. The bird hospital to which the children raised the money deals mainly with storks, falcons and eagles that have been hit by vehicles or have themselves hit power lines.





Photos of Climate School Fete



Sunday worship to a packed church of over 400 of all ages was an inspiring experience. We shared a PowerPoint presentation in the church on Scotland, the Eco-Congregation movement here, and congratulated the congregation of Hajdunanas on its award from the Hungarian Eco-Congregation movement.








Photos from left to right: Hungarian dance lesson; Elders at the Church; Session with visitors after they decided to share twinning on an Eco-Congregation basis


Part of our group represented the local Initiative Company, and the Mayor was keen to share some of his new work for those on state benefit. A large parcel of land had been rented by the town, and made available on a semi commercial basis for residents. Tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and a variety of crops and vegetables were grown and managed by local people. These were taken to market and sold, and the profits divided among those who had worked the small farm. Their income was improved, together with the dignity of work and the sense of self satisfaction.

There was a lot of local interest generated by the visit. The Television company broadcast an 14 minute news report on the activities of the school, and the local radio channel had an interview on Eco-Congregations too. The Television programme is available on One of the side issues that interested me was reported to me. While in Budapest in the summer of 2011, Hungarian Television had interviewed me as part of the religious broadcast output on Eco-Congregations, and what we as churches could do to improve the environment. During this visit I met up with Tamas Kodacsy who informed that the Science dept of the Television Company had been intrigued by this development in the Churches, and wanted to know more. This apparently gave rise to a series on the “Green God” with a focus on the Church and the environment.



Photos left to right: School presentation; Hajdunanas Reformed Church




You can access the report to the Kirk session by clicking on the link: Visit to Hajdunanas 2012

Eco-Congregation representatives meet MSP’s at Holyrood

Representatives of several eco-congregations met MSP’s at Holrood yesterday to urge further action to tackle climate change.  The mass lobbying event was organised by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition Scotland, of which Eco-Congregation Scotland is a member.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland lobby at Scottish Parliament

Here is a video of the lobby:

Gordon Hudson of Eco-Congregation Scotland with Neil Findlay MSP and other constitituents:

Gordon Hudson with Neil Findlay MSP
From left: Sara Dorman, Gordon, Hudson, Neil Findlay MSP and Katharine Taylor

The following article was written by Alison Boyes of Dunscore Parish Church who was at the event.



A sign on the Canongate wall next to the Scottish Parliament reads “Say but little and say it well”. This was my intention as I made my way to Holyrood to meet with MSPs on October 25th.

I was going as part of a Mass Lobby arranged by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of 60 organisations including Eco-Congregation Scotland.

The Scottish Climate Change Act was passed in 2009 and sets ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the first annual target was missed and the Lobby was a way of telling MSPs that this  is a matter of public concern. The next few months will see debates on Climate policy, public procurement reform and the budget, which are all opportunities for the Government to strengthen their policies on carbon emissions.

We are all represented by 8 MSPs, one constituency (Alex Ferguson for Galloway and West Dumfriesshire) and seven regional (South of Scotland) and I had emailed them all. Five had agreed to meet me at the Lobby. Only 60 places were available and 7 of these were allocated for constituents from the South of Scotland. I met with people who had travelled a lot further than I had – one woman who had come by bus from Campbelltown, and several from the Highlands and Islands region.

Alison Boyes with Alex Fergusson MSP
Alison Boyes with Alex Fergusson MSP

The MSPs were keen to talk, but also to listen. They were aware of local issues which needed to be addressed, such as better public transportation in rural areas, and energy inefficient housing. Everyone was telling them about those issues, but what was it that I had come to “say well”? I am not an expert on climate change, but I do have experience of working with Eco-Congregation, both nationally and in Dunscore, so this is what I decided to tell them about.

I told them about how churches worked not in isolation, but with their local communities and also as networks throughout Scotland. I described how we had been instructed to reduce our carbon footprint by 5% year on year ( our own version of the 2009 Act!). I said that in Dunscore we had widened this by considering the household footprints of our members and other local people on clock change day and I told them about the ways in which we provided information about energy saving, renewables, eco driving and local food. I emphasised the importance that we attached to campaigning and lobbying.

There is no doubt that the MSPs saw the potential for change that congregations can bring about, and indeed  Claudia Beamish ( Shadow Environment and Climate Change) has put the Dunscore Carbon Footprint Day information on her website.

Politics can often seem remote and we feel powerless to influence Government policy. This Lobby showed me that it is important to speak to our representatives and tell them what matters to us. I feel proud to live in a country which has the strongest climate change legislation in the world. I just hope that the politicians Get Their Act Together and work to meet those ambitious targets.

Zero Waste Scotland talks

Zero Waste Scotland run volunteer programmes across Scotland to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle. Would you like them to come and give your network or congregation a talk?

Local Zero Waste Scotland volunteer co-ordinators would be happy to give talks about the Zero Waste Scotland programmes such as Love Food Hate Waste, Real Nappies and Stop Unwanted Mail.

Please have a look at their What Can I Do Today? leaflet for more information and email them on to help find your local volunteer co-ordinator.