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 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.
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”.
Resource Efficient Scotland have teamed up with Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Zero Waste and Orkney Food and Drink to help businesses in Orkney reduce food waste, boost profits and do their bit for the environment and local community.
Orkney Food Waste Prevention Week includes a food waste prevention training workshop, a ‘Love Your Haggis’ cooking demonstration, a webinar on how to redistribute food surplus to the local community and inhouse training to help you help your staff save an average of £460 a year.
All the events are free. If your business is based in Orkney, book your place today.
(Left to right) Mark Kirkbride (Eco-congregation), Kenny Meason (Session Clerk Shapinsay), Revd. Julia Meason (Minister), Caroline Bird (Church Secretary)
On Sunday 24th July members of Shapinsay Church were awarded their first Eco award by Orkney resident Mark Kirkbride, a trustee of Eco-congregation Scotland. Mark commented:
“This award is in recognition of the significant steps that members of Shapinsay church have taken to reduce their carbon footprint and working with the Shapinsay school on environmental activity. It is very well deserved. I am most impressed by the commitment of all the congregation to Eco activities and including installation of air source heating and taking a significant part in Shapinsay’s ‘Bag the Bruck’ in collaboration with local people. The minister even drives an electric car!”
Receiving the award during a joint Sunday morning service with members from the Peedie Kirk, minister Revd Julia Meason said “I was delighted to receive the first eco-congregation award today on behalf of the Shapinsay Church of Scotland. Over the last year we’ve worked on a number of areas of our congregational life and witness and are very pleased with our achievement. We’re a small congregation but we do want to do our bit for God’s creation. It is an important part of who we are as Christians.”
Picture shows (Left to right) Mark Kirkbride (Eco-congregation), Kenny Meason (Session Clerk Shapinsay), Revd. Julia Meason (Minister), Caroline Bird (Church Secretary)
The 2015 Local Networks Seminar took place in Dunblane on Saturday 26th September. This year the main themes discussed at the Seminar have been used to propose an exciting new way of providing web-based resources, which can be downloaded and printed out to encourage more participation in our congregations.
After considering what other resources are available, the ECS Board now plans to invite individuals / congregations / networks, with the relevant experience and expertise, to contribute to developing and writing the new resources.
Local Networks Seminar Report 2015 also lists a whole host of topics and speakers from networks all around the country (see Appendix 3). If you are not already involved in a network, take a look and see what you might be missing! Everyone is welcome at network meetings – you don’t have to be from a registered congregation. Full information about your local network can be found here.