The Cathedral has been given a Bronze award by the new Eco Church scheme, a unique online survey for churches to gauge their contribution to the environment and society.
The award scheme, created by A Rocha UK, a charity committed to helping Christians in the UK to care for the natural world, was launched in January of this year at St Paul’s Cathedral. It is the brainchild of Dr Ruth Valerio, Churches and Theology Director at A Rocha UK. Her idea was to create a means by which churches could monitor their sustainability and social contribution using a special online survey. The Eco Church survey questions are wide ranging, covering areas as diverse as how the church manages its worship, the lifestyle of individual members, where the church sources its electricity, how buildings and land are managed, the churches community and global engagement and even what type of toilet paper is purchased.
Revd Nigel Hopper, who manages the scheme in his role as Churches and Resources Manager at A Rocha UK said: “The aim of Eco Church is to help churches assess their performance as custodians of God’s earth, both spiritually and practically – and to encourage them to consider what steps they can take to improve that performance and to do even better.”
Three levels of award are available via the Eco Church survey – Gold, Silver and Bronze. Almost 400 churches have already taken part and Salisbury is one of five Cathedrals to been awarded Bronze, alongside Leicester, Portsmouth, St. Paul’s and York Minster.
Commenting on the Cathedral’s award, Salisbury Cathedral’s Canon Treasurer, Robert Titley said: “We believe that the Christian gospel is good news for the whole of creation as well as for human beings. The Eco Church audit is helping us see how we can express that better through the whole range of the cathedral’s life, from the hymns we sing to the heating we use – and with its graded scheme, indicating areas in which we could improve our service to the community and beyond.”
The news was also welcomed by The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment:
“Christians want to steward the gifts of God and care for His creation. It is great that the Cathedral is taking a lead in this, putting Christian teaching on the care of creation into practice. This award follows on well from the Chief Executive of Christian Aid being made a Sarum Canon recently. Climate change is already damaging the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities. I hope other churches in the Diocese will follow the cathedral's lead. We need to care for the earth because there is no Planet B.”
In the Diocese, the Cathedral joins the Parish of Woodford Valley with Archer’s Gate with its Bronze, while Hilfield Friary holds a Gold award. Another ten churches in the Diocese are registered with the scheme, some of which were accredited Eco-Congregations under the old scheme that was recently phased out.
For those interested in learning more about becoming an Eco Church, all you have to do is register at ecochurch.arocha.org.uk
For any other enquiries contact Marie Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org 01722 555148