Church on a mission to become carbon-neutral

Katie Lumley, of the Town Church, explains how the community’s membership of A Rocha has helped it to gain an environmental accreditation

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(30342152)

A ROCHA (arocha.org.uk) is an international organisation dedicated to caring for God’s Earth.

It runs numerous schemes and projects including a scheme called Eco Church, an online survey with the following overarching headings: worship and teaching, buildings and land, our lives and our communities globally and locally.

The scheme is designed to encourage churches to consider their impact as individuals, as a church, and as a mission, and awards these efforts at bronze, silver and gold level.

The Town Church is excited to announce that, having achieved the bronze award in 2020, its members are now focused on attaining silver accreditation in 2021.

What have we been up to?

We started by welcoming Dave Bookless, founder of Eco Church, to speak at our service. Inspired by his words, we then embarked upon the following projects:

• Our Town Church Kids worked on a series about caring for creation. They made bird feeders, bug hotels and planted potatoes. They held a cake sale, which raised enough money to twin all our toilets – see toilettwinning.org – and hosted a family film night with a climate theme.

• We have a bottle top and teracycle (home cleaning, beauty, printer cartridges, CDs and DVDs etc) drop-off facility for Les Quennevais School’s 3D printer and Philip’s Footprints recycling initiative.

• Our weekly newsletter features eco updates, tips for lightening lifestyles, events, prayer points and news.

• We have liaised with Jersey Bloom Group to plant a range of fruit and vegetables in our church gardens. No pesticides are used on the site and we take great care of the many protected trees in the area, which is encouraged as a space for reflection and recreation.

• During last year’s October half term, we launched a Town Trail walk (visit bit.ly/trailquestions) to encourage a love of being outside, and over Christmas we ran a similar Christmas Quest, with each participant receiving a Christingle pack at the end.

• Instead of sending individual Christmas cards, we arranged an online communal version to reduce our waste.

• We planned to work with the Parish of St Helier to ensure that our grounds were as environmentally friendly as possible, incorporating recycling points, dog-waste bins etc. We had also arranged a cigarette-butt pick-up event with Plastic Free Jersey, and an eco craft night, which was due featuring beeswax wraps, bug and bee hotels and the sharing of ideas and innovative products. Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, both of these events were postponed but we are hoping to hold them soon.

And what’s coming next?

• We will continue with to maintain and extend where possible (ideas welcome) the activities described above.

• We are also going to install a compost bin and water-collection butt at Church House to use on our lands.

• We are seeking additional alternative recycling schemes. One idea is a crisp-packet survival blanket. Head to LOAF for your lunchtime sandwich and have a look for yourself.

• Finally, and this is a huge one, we will be measuring the carbon footprint of both the church and Church House. Our aim is to reduce and offset this footprint, with the target of becoming carbon-neutral.

If you would like to find out more about Eco Church, please contact Katie Lumley (telephone 07700 817689 or email kt_lumley@hottmail.co.uk), Reverend James Porter (758767 or jamesporter@townchurch.org.je) or the Very Reverend Mike Keirle (dean@jerseydeanery.je).

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