West Lothian & Falkirk Network notes from last meeting

The meeting took place on 7.30pm, Monday 19th November 2012 at Falkirk Old and St Modan’s Church

Falkirk Old and St Modan’s gained their first award some time ago and have done a lot of work with recycling projects and have fairly recently installed low energy LED lighting in the church as part of their refurbishment project. Eco-congregation work formerly came under Peace and Justice group, whose work has now been split between a number of different groups. Caring for creation work now appears to be mainly the remit of the Christian Aid group. Will look at drawing up a new action plan after going through the Church Check Up again.

Livingstone Local Ecumenical Parish, Knightsridge had a successful summer Sunday School project on the theme of “For the Beauty of the Earth”. This included some lovely artwork from the children and a themed service. The church meets in a community hall and has created a wildlife and butterfly garden there. They have recently devolved management of this to the local community. The church is continues to be active on Fair Trade with Traidcraft.

Marjorie has been the network’s rep on the West Lothian Environmental Support Group for some time, which has been a useful link. The Group is also considering setting up a West Lothian Wildlife Blog for the Year of Natural Scotland (2013) to record sitings etc. Jo agreed to take over as the network rep and Marjorie will forward details.

Torphichen has recently welcomed Sandi McGill as their new minister. They are planning to get involved with students and pupils through “Go Green Week” in February and through the children will target their parents. Local head teachers are very open to working with the church on green issues and it is planned to have a service on the theme and invite the local community. They are planning to work on a “Food” topic and will look at food diaries from the point of view of both the environment and health.
The link with Magina Church in Malawi is still very much alive and has also been taken on by the schools. They are looking into the possibility of “solar slates” for the church roof to enable the generation of renewable energy.

News from Eco-Congregation
The Local networks Seminar took place on 8th September with representatives from 12
networks attending, including two from Angus.

Topics discussed included:

  • The introduction of a new, easier registration system – congregations will only have to register
    an interest and they will the, if they wish, be given a link with a “mentor” congregation. This
    will be another, more experienced local eco-congregation who will help the new congregation
    through the Church Check Up, draw up and implement their action plan and generally offer
    support through to first award level. 
  • The Mentoring scheme is being introduced as there has been a big drop off in numbers of
    congregations expressing an interest and actually registering. There have also been an
    increasing number of requests for help and ideas to get going from new congregations. The
    expertise of award winning congregations is invaluable to help grow the Eco-Congregation
    movement and a new criterion of being available as a mentor is being introduced for the
    second award.
  • New resources – the existing Eco-Congregation Modules are being rewritten and rebranded.
    It has long been recognised that there is a widely held perception that it is necessary to
    complete 13 Modules to become an eco-congregation. This is NOT, nor ever has been the
    case! To correct this impression the “Modules” are now to be called “Ideas for Action” (which
    is what they are!) and they will be grouped under the three main areas of the programme:
    Spiritual, Practical and Community. See
  • A full report of the seminar is available on the network page.

Planning for next meeting(s)

It was agreed that 3 meetings in 2013 would be appropriate for the network.
February – Visit to Avondale Landfill Site
Action – Jo to contact and arrange a suitable date and time
May / June – Food theme at St Ninian’s Craigmailen, Linlithgow
Action – Margaret will contact St Ninian’s to see if they are able to host and identify a suitable
date and liaise with Jo. Jo will contact a possible speaker, who is with the Food Standards Agency and investigate a
contribution from the “Slow Food” group in Linlithgow.
October / November – Networking: sharing ideas, inspiration and challenges
Action – Margaret will contact Pardovan, Kingscavil and Winchburgh to see how they are
getting on as an eco-congregation and ask if they might be able to host this meeting.