Centred in church, Eco-Congregation Scotland looks for our places of worship to be models of the environmental and practical changes that are possible throughout wider society. Growing out of lessons learned from the first core area, once a congregation/parish has an understanding of the central place that the environment has in our life of faith the next step is to reflect that importance in practical ways.
For most congregations/parishes that will mean paying attention to buildings and grounds, and the ways these are managed. When we make necessary changes in our lives we often speak of ‘putting our house in order’. At the same time we describe our places of worship as God’s house, so this core area pays special attention to putting God’s house in order. We could say it is a core area dedicated to putting God’s house into green order.
The Ideas for Action under this section includes:
Buildings are always more than bricks and mortar. They are reflections of what goes on inside them, and this is especially true of places of worship. A building dedicated to a Creator God takes very seriously the task of reflecting that creation in every way it can. When there is great strain on natural resources and when every effort has to go into reducing our carbon footprints, church buildings should become examples of what is possible. If small changes can be made that make a big difference, all the more reason for churches to lead the way.
So this core area helps us to see that our buildings and grounds are not an obstacle to being environmentally responsible; rather they are the places to put into place our commitment to being responsible. It contains practical advice on work that can be carried out in church buildings, what can be looked at when major changes become necessary such as changes to boilers, what issues can be planned for when we do five or ten year fabric surveys, and so on. It helps us consider our grounds, and what can be done there. And it helps us consider what we purchase and provide to make our churches function as they do. Simple things like buying recycled paper, providing recycle facilities for our congregation/parish, providing fair-trade goods in our kitchens, all go a long way towards making a difference.