The greenest of them all

by
22 November 2007

After months of preparation and weeks of judging, the first-ever Church Times Green Church Awards were announced on Monday

The Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, former president of the Royal Agricultural Society presenting the awards

The Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, former president of the Royal Agricultural Society presenting the awards

ABOUT 80 people attended the Church Times Green Church Awards ceremony in St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, in the City of London.

Holy Trinity, Cleeve, was awarded the first prize as Green Church of the Year for its range of environmental activities. The church’s application had concentrated on the walking-bus scheme, which eliminated the school run for the families who joined. But the church has also been involved in campaigning against an extension of Bristol airport, it has switched to green energy, runs a recycling scheme, and a great deal more.

Its award includes a cheque for £500 from the Church Times, £1000’s worth of carbon offsetting from Equiclimate, consultancy about how to reduce its carbon footprint further from Encraft, energy-saving light bulbs from Marches Energy Agency, a low-energy washing machine from John Lewis, and other things.

The Green Church Awards were conceived by the Church Times, working in conjunction with the leading agencies in the field of environmental action: Christian Aid, Eco-congregation, A Rocha, the Conservation Foundation, Tearfund, Shrinking the Footprint, Operation Noah, Living Lightly 24:7, Christian Ecology Link, and the Marches Energy Agency.

The award ceremony was sponsored by Christian Aid. Deanna Baynes, one of the Church Times’s cookery writers, provided the lunch, Westerham Brewery donated a barrel of Freedom Ale, and Divine some chocolate gifts.

The award ceremony was sponsored by Christian Aid. Deanna Baynes, one of the Church Times’s cookery writers, provided the lunch, Westerham Brewery donated a barrel of Freedom Ale, and Divine some chocolate gifts.

The judges were impressed by the range of projects that the prizewinners had successfully set in train. St Barnabas’s, Queen Camel, made allotments out of land set aside for a graveyard; St Andrew’s, Fulham, runs a scheme distributing fresh vegetables to neighbours; St Chad’s, Far Headingley, brought their churchyard alive (with the approval of the mid-Yorkshire Fungus Group); St Peter’s, Bexhill, has begun an alternative service that highlights green issues; St Bartholomew’s, Great Barrow, and St John and St Philip, The Hague, have galvanised their congregations to take a number of green initiatives; and St Aldhelm’s, Edmonton, erected solar panels in its roof, and has just received the first cheque for its contribution to the National Grid.

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All the shortlisted churches were represented at the ceremony to receive their prizes from the Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, which included a cheque for £500.

All the shortlisted churches were represented at the ceremony to receive their prizes from the Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, which included a cheque for £500.

The object of the awards, said Paul Handley, the editor of the Church Times, was to celebrate the action that churches had already taken to preserve the environment. In the face of countless reports about the severity of the problem, what people responded to was not exhortation but example. Even the runners-up could take encouragement from the fact that their stories had been told in the Church Times, and were thereby giving a lead to others.

Dr Russell said that the challenge was a serious one. Thirty per cent of his diocese was below sea-level, and was therefore especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming, though not as much as some overseas countries.

He spoke of a new interest in what the churches were doing. The Government, he said, as it sought to promote greater environmental awareness, had identified faith groups as their number-two priority in getting their message across.

The next Green Church Awards are planned for 2009. In the mean time, the Church Times will report progress made by the participating churches.

The editor would particularly like to thank Jo Rathbone of Eco-congregation for her organising skills, and Cordelia Moyse of Christian Aid for making the ceremony such a success.

The editor would particularly like to thank Jo Rathbone of Eco-congregation for her organising skills, and Cordelia Moyse of Christian Aid for making the ceremony such a success.

Green Church of the Year (Church Times)
Holy Trinity, Cleeve

Action in the Community (Conservation Foundation)

Joint winners:
St Barnabas’s, Queen Camel, Yeovil, Somerset

St Andrew’s, Fulham, London

Biodiversity (A Rocha UK)
St Chad’s, Far Headingley, Leeds

Campaigning to cut the carbon (Operation Noah and Christian Ecology Link)
Holy Trinity, Cleeve

Celebrating Creation (Eco-congregation)
St Peter’s, Bexhill

Changing Lifestyles (Tearfund and A Rocha’s Living Lightly 24:7)

Joint winners:

St Bartholomew’s, Great Barrow, Chester

St John and St Philip, The Hague, The Netherlands

Energy Saving in Church Buildings (Shrinking the Footprint and Marches Energy Agency)

St Aldhelm’s, Edmonton, north London

Highly commended

St James’s, Piccadilly, London

Highly commended

St James’s, Piccadilly, London

St John the Evangelist, Hurst Green, Lancashire

St Mary’s, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

St Peter’s, Spixworth, Norwich

Bramford Road Methodist Church, Ipswich

St Mary and St John, Cowley, Oxford

Mill Road Baptist Church, Cambridge

 

All pictures: Andrew Firth

 

All pictures: Andrew Firth

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