As Eco-Congregation Scotland wishes you all the very best for the year ahead, please take a final opportunity to send a New Year’s Climate Resolutions message to Scottish party leaders with your wishes for action on climate and nature in 2024.
Following last month’s COP28 Global Day of Action, organised through Stop Climate Chaos Scotland uniting groups across the country, please send your message at this link by Wednesday 17th January:
Eco-Congregation Scotland trustee Marjory McGhie from Livingston United Parish Church was among hundreds braving the elements on the Global Day of Action, pictured above right alongside Calum Martin and Lucy Le Roux of Christian Aid.
Read more in Lucy’s blog on the day, including comments from David Bethune of Selkirk Parish Church. We look forward to encouraging and supporting more climate campaigning over 2024 as we approach the next UK General Election.
Assessors’ Training: Eco-Congregation Scotland Awards Part 1: Monday 15th January 2024, 7.30pm–8.30pm Part 2: Monday 22nd January 2024, 7.30pm–9.30pm Register for link – or email for future interest
We need more volunteers to assess these Award applications. There are still spaces for our initial two-part online training this month, or you can email interest for later this year. Assessors visit congregations to confirm they meet our criteria and it’s a rewarding way to share experience and ideas with churches across Scotland.
Assessments are often carried out online to save travel. The time commitment and distance travelled are up to you and may only take a few hours every few months. You might bring insights from work, volunteering, church life or experience of applying for an Award yourself.
We still have spaces left for any volunteers keen to train as Award Assessors on the next two Mondays. Please register if you are able to join – or email us if you are interested in being trained later in 2024.
Kinross Parish Church have been awarded their Silver Eco-Congregation Scotland Award in recognition of all their work and commitment to care for creation. Achieving a Silver Award shows a commitment to address environmental concerns as part of their faith, as can be seen in their spiritual living, practical living and global living.
The congregation is active in the community promoting several environmental initiatives such as regular litter picks. The litter pickers work closely Perth & Kinross Council. There is a very successful scheme for collecting blister packs which is used by people throughout Kinross and the surrounding area. (This has been so successful that a larger bin is now needed!) None of the congregation’s initiatives stand alone. An example of this would be the produce from the allotment at the Church Centre which is then cooked and used in outreach activities.
It was notable for this congregation the spiritual and practical approaches to being an Eco Congregation intertwine with neither being a dominant partner. Care for creation forms an important part of worship and is a topic for Bible studies too. The congregation made use of their weekly Transform Trade as part of their Spiritual life. They have addressed issues of energy use in their buildings and are encouraging the wider community to make use of the premises.
harvesting foodTree Planting
Kinross Parish Church is involved with a number of community groups including the Kinross-Shire Climate Café, Kinross Estate, Kinross Rotary, Kinross Youth Enterprise (KYTHE), and Kinross Community Council. From these links they have been involved in planting trees with the Queen’s Green Canopy project, litter picking and growing produce in starter plots and raised beds with the Milnathort and Kinross Allotment Association.
The congregation has active links to Malawi and also a close relationship with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Transform Trade forms an important part of the lives of this congregation, and the assessors found that the ethos of Fair Trade was well understood by all at Kinross Parish Church.
The Eco-Congregation Scotland award assessors commended the work of Kinross Parish Church in the following areas:
The effectiveness of their programme of eco related activities.
The way in which their environmental activities are interlinked.
The great work done by the eco team and team leader, Jim Smith, was commended. The support given by the Kirk Session and the wider congregation were noted to be important in the success of this work. The support from the Minister, Rev Alan Reid and the Transform Trade Coordinator was also praised.
Congratulations to all at Kinross Parish Church for a well deserved Eco Congregation Scotland Silver Award.
The Eco Garden at Oakshaw Trinity Church with their bottle greenhouse.
We are delighted to announce that Oakshaw Trinity Church, Paisley has been given a Silver Eco Congregation Scotland Award for their environmental work. The assessors noted that the team at Oakshaw Trinity church had presented a strong application for their silver award. They were impressed by the way in which the team arranged their meetings to ensure that the Kirk Session is kept fully appraised of their work. The assessors also commended the discussion about environmental matters within the congregation.
Oakshaw Trinity Church has links with charity shops and various events in the community. There is a Fair trade shop which operates in the church and links with the shop in the town. The congregation also support the Renfrewshire Foodbank. The church also has strong links with Christian Aid and TearFund.
Seasons Panels at Oakshaw Trinity Church
Springwatch and Autumnwatch events are held and encourage all of the congregation to participate in caring for the grounds around the church. The youth organisations like to work with gardeners to care for creation. The services held on these days link the spiritual and the practical, with discussion of environmental matters.
The assessors noted the ways in which environmental messages are communicated within the congregation and to the wider community. Good use is made of notice boards and newsletters. During the Covid time of lockdown and isolation more use has been made of online communication, with hopes that this will continue beyond the pandemic.
The team at Oakshaw Trinity have found a number of ways to share environmental learning with the congregation. They have used pledge cards to encourage members of the congregation to review their lifestyle and carbon footprint. Their Zero Waste events have been successful and will be repeated when the pandemic rules allow. All age groups have been encouraged to participate in projects.
The team have linked with the Fabric Committee and this has resulted in an improved environmental performance of the church buildings. There has been discussion about ethical investment and environmental philosophy within the congregation and these discussions have resulted in changes in investment and activity.
We are delighted to announce that Dunnichen, Letham and Kirkden Church have been awarded their Silver Eco- Congregation Scotland Award. This is the second highest level of award and shows the commitment of the congregation to their work to care for creation.
The assessors specially commended a number of areas of this small congregation’s work. It was noted they had made really effective use of their existing leadership structures to make sure that their Eco work was embedded as a responsibility for each of the smaller groups reporting to the Kirk Session. This structure helped new ideas to be discussed and developed, leading to plans being approved by the Kirk Session and integrated with all aspects of the life of the church.
The assessors praised the good links with community groups in the parish that has led to work on joint projects. This has included asking the local school to help with developing the church grounds. Dunnichen, Letham, Kirkden Church has an established pattern of keeping the community in touch try providing a very valuable Parish Magazine. The congregation also run film nights on an environmental theme. These have generated lots of interest from people in the community.
Promoting the use of net bags to reduce plastic use when shopping.
Our assessors were delighted to hear about interests the church has in learning from and supporting the work of a wide range of charities. The congregation are keen to support and promote Fair Trade goods, encouraging everyone to shop locally, and to reduce food miles.
The congregation have been exploring the journey of recycled goods. The members have also looked at ways to reduce waste and energy use through adapting their lifestyles. They have been running a rag bag scheme to help recycle clothing. Interest and awareness raising in these eco matters has been taken up the children’s and youth groups, and is now an important part of their work.
We wish the congregation well as they continue to develop their care for creation further in years to come.
Dundee’s golden Gate – our ‘outstanding’ seventh Gold Award 🥇
Today’s newsletter shares the exciting news of our seventh Gold Award recipient and encourages volunteers to register for the Climate Challenge Fund annual gathering and film night discussion. Great photo courtesy of Gate Church International of solar panels on the community centre immediately behind the church building.
Dundee church is seventh to achieve an Eco-Congregation Gold Award
Eco-Congregation Scotland warmly congratulates Gate Church International in Dundee, celebrating the wonderful news that they have achieved our Gold Award.
This means that they have met or exceeded Eco-Congregation’s Gold Award standards in spiritual living, practical living and global living, while also addressing some more general aspects of environmental care. As our most challenging Award, a successful Gold assessment recognises congregations which have developed a long-term commitment to promoting environmental issues as an integral part of their congregational life.
The seventh eco-congregation to achieve a Gold Award were especially commended by assessors for an outstanding contribution in demonstrating practical action taken within the church and involving the local community, through the Gate Church Carbon Saving Project and various Climate Challenge Fund resourced initiatives since 2013.
Dundee West End Community Fridge
One of the projects which was particularly praised by the assessors was their innovative Community Fridge in Perth Road opposite the church buildings which has a major impact in reducing Food Waste in Dundee. They were delighted to hear the project is using an electric van to pick up excess food from suppliers for the fridge.
We really appreciated their contribution to our recent ‘Feeding our Communities‘ event and the example they offered that can be followed across the country. This took place during Scotland’s Climate Week (14th–20th September 2020) when organisations aim to promote the message that, together, we can help end Scotland’s contribution to climate change.
The Carbon Saving Project aims to make Gate Church International the ‘Greenest Church in Scotland’.
The assessors noted the way that Gate Church International includes so many volunteers within their projects, many of whom do not have a church link, and the integration this brings with the community they serve, enriching the church’s mission.
Also of note was the work that has been done to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings, a 200 years-old Grade A listed church and century-old community centre. The installation of solar panels, condensing boilers, draught proofing and insulation offers a wonderful example of what can be done in listed buildings and halls like theirs.
Clothes Swap in Gate Church International
The assessors were impressed with the fact that reuse, recycling & up-cycling was well established culturally within the congregation, with lots of examples of best practice. They liked the Sew and Repair classes the church occasionally runs, alongside their Community Wardrobe, as well as the Gift Boxes which help meet material poverty in the city.
The assessors also commended the house groups that meet across the area and discuss environmental matters. They really appreciated the focus on stewardship as a church, and the church focus that worshipping God means caring for those in need and the world God created.
Also of note are the links the church has with Signpost International and Compassion UK, and the support they give for international small projects through their personal connections. The children in the congregation have been encouraged to sponsor children in the developing world through Compassion UK.
News of the Gold Award was confirmed days before the 2020 Climate Challenge Fund Gathering. Gate Church Carbon Saving Project and the church’s volunteers have regularly been highlighted at the yearly event celebrating climate projects across Scotland.
We appreciate this is a challenging time for many across all churches and communities due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are delighted to share good news over coming weeks from local eco-congregations, this weekend celebrating Eco-Congregation Scotland Award success in Aberdeenshire.
We value the excellent participation of so many volunteers and supporters in recent interfaith events and a range of meetings as we look forward to welcoming the COP26 climate conference to Scotland next November. We invite you to join a wide variety of online events and activities through the remainder of this November.
Thank you for all your efforts and continuing support as we pray, share and act together, caring for our common home.
Today we acknowledge the wonderful work of Inverurie West Parish Church. Congratulations to enthusiastic environmental team leader Joy Doorghen and all at Inverurie West on achieving our Silver Award recognising their commitment to caring for creation. You can read more about their Silver success on our website.
We will share more Award success stories in coming weeks and encourage every eco-congregation to apply, affirming your church’s environmental activities through online assessment. You are also welcome to join Inverurie West and our Eco-Chaplain this Sunday for a live at home service on the Church website and YouTube.
Many Christians mark this Sunday as the feast of Christ the King. Eco-Chaplain Rev David Coleman will be reflecting on Matthew 25:31-46: “A masterpiece of ‘end-time’ writing, the ‘sheep and the goats’ is perfectly directed at those who look to God for hope in a time of global crisis.”
Just Transition Commission members will share some of the emerging themes from their work to date, ahead of delivering their final recommendations to Scottish Ministers in early 2021. This will be your opportunity to explore and discuss their findings, and the solutions proposed to deliver a just transition in Scotland. The Commission was set up last year to give practical advice on how Scotland can meet ambitious climate change targets in a way that is fair for all.
The Climate Challenge Fund Gathering provides opportunities to learn, network and share experience on tackling climate change, bringing together over 200 CCF Grant recipients and local community-led groups including churches and faith projects. The evening will explore how community film nights can get people thinking about climate change, followed by the opportunity to watch and discuss a challenging film. Find out more and book Gathering and film tickets here.
This Sunday 22nd November, please join us and Christians across Scotland in prayer at 7.00pm.
Good Shepherd, Speak once more to our hearts And offer us vision and hope for days to come. Go before us Shepherd King And lead us into the future that you hold in your hands. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us