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Judges announced for Church Times Green Church Awards

26 April 2024

Christine Miles reveals the line-up of judges in the 2024 Green Church Awards

THIS week, the Church Times can announce the line-up of judges in the 2024 Green Church Awards.

The awards recognise the urgent environmental crisis that we are in, and seek to celebrate the efforts being made by individuals and congregations to care for creation. They are open to Christian groups and church schools of any denomination, in the UK and Ireland.

Dr Ruth Valerio, global advocacy and influencing director at Tearfund, chairs the judging panel. Also on the panel is the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, lead bishop for the environment; the head of Christian Aid Scotland and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (2023-24), the Rt Revd Sally Foster-Fulton; and the founder of the Hazelnut Community, Bristol, the Revd John White.

Joining our judging panel from our principal sponsor, Ecclesiastical, is Stuart Blackie, principal risk-management surveyor. Other judges representing our sponsors are Craig Hogg, ecclesiastical account manager at Green Journey; Janie Oliver, Stewardship CEO; Aike Kennett-Brown, Messy Church ministry lead at BRF Ministries; Matt Fulford, Inspired Efficiency founder and director; David Shreeve, Conservation Foundation director; and Rose Gosling, A Rocha UK Eco Church gold award assessor.

The panel of judges will be looking for projects that have made a positive change in the past two years in buildings, outdoors, and in the community. (A building project can be nominated even if it has not yet been completed.)

There are seven award categories, each with a £1000 prize: Green Building, Land and Nature, Congregation and Community Action, Action on a Shoestring, Green Champion, Training and Education, and Green Health. A group can enter in one or more categories.

Dr Valerio said: “I’m inspired by the entries that are coming in, and feel privileged to get a glimpse into so many churches and organisations doing lots of things to care for God’s world. There’s still time to tell us about your efforts, so get your entry in.”

The deadline for entries is 30 June 2024. Details of shortlisted entries will be published in the Church Times during the summer. The awards ceremony will take place at St John’s, Waterloo, London, on 26 September. Photos and videos to accompany entries are encouraged.

The awards are organised jointly with the Church of England’s environment programme, the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, and Eco Congregation Scotland.

For details of award categories and sponsors, visit: churchtimes.co.uk/green-church

Nominate a project for the 2024 awards here


Green Church Award 2024 judges

Dr Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund

Ruth Valerio is an environmentalist, theologian, and social activist. She was the pioneer of Eco Church while Churches and Theology Director at A Rocha UK. Her doctorate is from King’s College, London, and she has honorary doctorates from the universities of Winchester and Chichester. She is Canon Theologian at Rochester Cathedral, and her home church is part of the 24/7 Prayer Network. She is the author of L is for Lifestyle: Christian living that doesn’t cost the earth; Just Living: Faith and community in an age of consumerism, and the children’s book Planet Protectors: 52 ways to look after God’s world. She also wrote the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lent book, Saying Yes to Life. She is a regular contributor on Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, and is a co-founder of the Oikos Network: a global network of peer mentoring groups for Christian environmental leaders from all over the world.

The Rt Revd
Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (2023-24)

Sally Foster-Fulton was born and raised in South Carolina, in the United States. While studying at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia, she came to Trinity College, Glasgow, on an exchange scholarship. On completion of her Divinity training, she worked as a chaplain at Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, and the Royal National Scottish Hospital, Larbert, before training for ministry in the Church of Scotland. In 2016, she was appointed as Head of Christian Aid Scotland. She is serving as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland until 18 May 2024.

The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich

Graham Usher has been Bishop of Norwich since June 2019, and leads the Church of England’s Environment Programme, including the commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2030. Bishop Graham’s first degree was in ecological science from Edinburgh University. He has written two books about spirituality and landscape: Places of Enchantment: Meeting God in landscapes (2012), and The Way Under Our Feet: A spirituality of walking (2020). He was previously a member of the Northumberland National Park Authority, and chaired the Northeast Advisory Committee of the Forestry Committee. He is a keen beekeeper and is undertaking work to enhance the biodiversity of the historic Bishop’s Gardens, in Norwich.

The Revd John White, Hazelnut Community Founder

John White is originally from the United States, and is now a vicar in the Church of England. He is the founder of the Hazelnut Community. Hazelnut supports churches in creating eco congregations on their land to deepen worship, welcome their community, and combat climate breakdown. He also runs Hazelnut Community Bristol: a church that worships outside and runs a community garden.

Stuart Blackie, Principal Risk Management Surveyor, Ecclesiastical

Stuart Blackie joined Ecclesiastical in October 2021, having worked for more than 16 years in the insurance industry in a number of risk-management positions, following the earlier part of his career in building surveying and fire safety management. He is a chartered surveyor, has a degree in fire safety, and is a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers. He was also key to the establishment of the climate change working group in Ecclesiastical, and is actively involved in developing climate-related thought leadership and guidance. He has a strong interest in the built environment, and is actively involved in supporting churches in their understanding of climate change and the routes towards net zero.

Craig Hogg, Ecclesiastical Account Manager, Green Journey

Craig Hogg oversees the day-to-day operations of Green Journey, supporting the energy needs of church clients. Over the past seven years, he has worked with thousands of churches to enable tangible reductions in their environmental impact through the adoption of renewable energy contracts, energy auditing, and sustainability advice. He is proud to work with churches of all denominations on their journey towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Janie Oliver, Stewardship CEO

Janie Oliver became Stewardship’s new CEO on 1 January 2024. She trained as a chartered accountant in South Africa, but has spent the majority of her working life in the UK, firstly in a number of senior finance positions with Barclays Bank, before moving into the charitable sector eight years ago. Before joining Stewardship, she led the Just Money Movement (previously known as the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility): a charity seeking to influence on issues related to faith and finances. She also spent four years working at the forefront of social investment, as director of finance and operations for Access Foundation, pioneering their total-impact investment approach of their £60-million endowment. She is passionate about social justice, and has held a number of trusteeships.

Aike Kennett-Brown, Messy Church Ministry Lead

Aike Kennett-Brown has led the BRF ministries Messy Church team since 2022, which supports the Messy Church network nationally and internationally. Her own Messy Church journey started in 2010, initially as a volunteer leader, and, after further training, as a Messy Church Pioneer at her church. She joined the diocese of Southwark in 2017, supporting parishes in their ministry with children, young people, and families, including hosting Messy Celebrations at Southwark Cathedral, exploring Messy Communion, Baptism, and Science. She is currently involved in a Messy Church Goes Wild! group, that meets monthly in the outside space of a Church of England school in Greenwich.

David Shreeve, Conservation Foundation Director

David Shreeve received an MBE in the King’s first Birthday Honours for his work as director of the Conservation Foundation and environmental adviser to the Archbishops’ Council. He was also awarded a Lambeth Degree in recognition of his influence on the Church’s understanding of environmental issues. He is the co-author of How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change A Christian?; Don’t Stop at the Lights; and Sharing Eden: Green teachings from Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Matt Fulford, Inspired Efficiency Founder and Director

Matt Fulford led the delivery of the UK’s first net zero carbon church in 2010, and numerous others since. He founded Inspired Efficiency in 2013. Inspired Efficiency currently delivers the church energy and decarbonisation audit programme for the diocese of Oxford and the Church in Wales, as well as the national audit programme for the C of E delivered through parish buying. He has been the energy and sustainability adviser to the diocese of Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) since 2010. He sits on the case-work committee for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), and the Church Building Council (CBC) committee. He instigated the recent change in the C of E’s faculty rules to allow a greater focus on the requirements of delivering net zero carbon, and is the technical adviser to the working group.

Rose Gosling, A Rocha UK Eco Church Gold Award Assessor

Rose Gosling is a senior steward at Summerbridge Methodist Church, in North Yorkshire, and a preacher. The church was awarded its Eco Church gold award in 2020. She is an A Rocha speaker and a Gold Award Assessor. She is a member of the Net Zero Board of the Yorkshire North and East Methodist District.

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