Members of St John’s URC Marsh Green have long been concerned with issues of justice and peace, and being good stewards of the planet is a natural extension of this. One of St John’s strongest motivations for its eco activities is the children (Marsh Green is a ‘Child Friendly Church’). Every time we baptise a new baby we are reminded of the state of the planet on which they (and children the world over) must live; they are the ones who are going to ‘inherit the earth’ however damaged it is.
So in 2013 the church became an Eco-congregation. In 2016 we became involved in the new scheme of Eco Church which allows you to apply for different levels. In October 2019 the church was given the Gold Award – gained in each of the 5 sections:
- Worship and teaching
- Community and global engagement
The most visible signs of our eco-credentials are such things as the rows of photovoltaic panels high up on the slate roof which mean that the church is a net exporter of electricity, and the rainwater tank that tops up the wildlife pond and another that waters the plants. Also there is the church nature reserve with its wild flower meadow, brushwood piles, fruit trees and numerous bird, bat, bug and butterfly boxes. An important new addition is a wildlife pond. There are several hedgehog homes as well – part of the scheme to encourage the village to become ‘hedgehog friendly’. There are compost bins, a wormery, a recycling centre, double or secondary glazed windows, insulation (where possible), LED light bulbs and Fairtrade supplies in the kitchen. Less obvious but equally important are ethical banking, using green energy suppliers, involvement of the children, environmental services, fortnightly Green Gym walks in the local countryside for all comers, and green ‘spots’ in the newsletter and weekly bulletin!
The church’s environmental work is a continuous process since moving forward is essential if we are to play our part in passing on a world to our children that is fit to live in.
Our Victorian forbears would see a number of differences in their Presbyterian Chapel. They would be surprised, maybe shocked at some things, but hopefully they would be pleased that the church is full of life and activity – once they had ‘got their heads round’ the different world that their descendants live in.
For details of what being an Eco Church means at Marsh Green see linked document ‘What it means to be an Eco Church’
For more information about St John’s URC Nature Reserve click here