The Gold award which Lomond Parish has achieved recognises that their congregation has met or exceeded Eco-Congregation’s highest standards in spiritual living, practical living and global living, and is seen as a beacon in the area for caring about environmental issues.
The congregation has been especially commended by the assessors for the breadth of their work, with many members taking positive action to reduce their individual carbon footprint as well as that of the church building. Environmental issues are embedded in worship and extend beyond the grounds, with a reflective walk being prepared for RSPB Loch Lomond as part of a Faith Action for Nature project.
The assessors were very impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the congregation. Strengths were noted in all the areas being assessed but particularly in the area of spiritual living. They were commended for the outstanding work they are doing in making connections between Christian faith and environmental concerns for the whole congregation.
The church grounds are used to provide community allotments. These are managed in an ecologically positive way and this has had an impressive impact both within the congregation and the wider community.
The church has been involved in the pilot of Faith Action for Nature, supplying locally grown plants for community displays and running an Eco fair. This work has contributed significantly to the church becoming very well known locally for their leadership and their commitment to environmental concerns.
Energy use within the church buildings has been monitored and they now have a zoned heating system with smart WiFi enabled controls, which has helped them to minimise the energy they use in heating their buildings. They are careful to monitoring and evaluate their use of energy. Members of the congregation have taken steps to address the use of energy in their own homes, addressing a range of issues from buying locally to attending a course to learn how to change their driving habits to reduce the use of fuel. There are a variety of examples of the congregation going the extra mile to find environmentally friendly solutions such as switching to bio oasis for flower arrangements and finding a recycling provider for old photographs
“We started on this journey in 2011, and have worked through the levels of the award, raising awareness among the congregation and users of our buildings on the importance of reducing our carbon footprint to protect God’s Creation. With the Climate Emergency now declared by governments we will continue to strive help the transition to a low carbon economy, so that our children and their children can continue to enjoy the beauty of Loch Lomondside and the Leven Valley ” Mary Sweetland, Eco-Convenor
Lomond Parish is the new name for the Church of Scotland in north Vale of Leven following the union recently of Alexandria Parish and Jamestown Parish. The award was assessed for Alexandria Parish Church.