At St Mary's we take very seriously the role that we are called to play in stewarding God's Creation. We are proud to be enrolled in the Eco Church programme, which is supported by the Christian environmental charity A Rocha.
The Eco Church survey helps us think about:
How to ensure that our worship and teaching aligns with our calling as Christians to steward God's Creation
How we look after the land and buildings entrusted to us as the current congregation of St. Mary’s
The way we live both amongst our local community and as global citizens, and
The personal choices we make in our lives when it comes to travel, diet, energy use, etc.
We’re delighted to announce that in January 2022 we were awarded a prestigious bronze award and we’re really grateful for all the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment of many people across the whole church family who have made this possible. But while celebrating this event we realise that this is just the beginning of a journey – the journey to silver, and hopefully, eventually, gold. And, of course, as you progress along the road it becomes more and more challenging, so that journey won’t be possible without the help and support of more and more people in all sorts of different ways. How might you get involved? What are the unique gifts, talents and enthusiasms that you could bring to the table? Please fill in one of our digital forms to highlight the particular areas that you are interested in. This will help us to keep in touch and to keep you informed of developments across the whole Eco Church project.
Here is some more detail on our activity across the five areas that make up Eco Church:
Worship & Teaching
On 25th September 2022 we held another Climate Sunday event with Ben Niblett from Tearfund as our guest speaker. This took place not only during the time of year that the church designates as Creation tide but also during Great Big Green Week which this year ran from 24th September to 2nd October: https://greatbiggreenweek.com. Last year, nationwide, over 200,000 people took part in over 5,000 events, highlighting the need for urgent, widespread action to stem the effects of the climate crisis. We hope, in the future, to be working alongside Climate Action Wendover with other community events.
During Great Big Green Week St Mary's also hosted an exhibition of artwork by adults and children in response to the climate crisis. Entitled Precious Earth / Letters for Creation the exhibition featured 2 and 3D work by local adult artists alongside contributions from Piper's Corner, John Hampden and Stoke Mandeville Combined schools. Letters for Creation is a Christian Aid arts project being run in conjunction with the Anglican communion. It explores why climate change is an issue of justice and channels the creativity of young people into making art that expresses their concern and hopes for our planet and its people.
Management of Buildings
We have completed an Energy Audit of our church building and for our bronze accreditation we switched our utility supply to a green tariff.
How You Can Help: Could you get involved in our project to install a heat pump and solar panels at St Mary's? This could eliminate 25 tonnes of CO2 per year and save thousands of pounds for the church. Could you help us to fundraise or make a donation?
Care of Land
On regular churchyard maintenance mornings, we've created bug hotels, woodpiles and built a new compost area. We’ve also installed bird and bat boxes. A wildflower meadow area has been seeded. More than 400 saplings have been planted to create hedging. All these activities provide habitats for plants and animals to thrive.
How You Can Help: Sign-up for the next churchyard tidy-up and help with our plans for conserving nature and promoting biodiversity.
Community & Global Engagement
To enable climate action activities more widely across Wendover, a number of St Mary's congregation formed the community group Climate Action Wendover. This runs independently of St. Mary’s, but we cooperate closely on many activities.
On the global level, St Mary’s took part, once again, in Christian Aid Week which ran from 15-21 May 2022, this year focussing attention on the impact of the climate crisis on farming communities in rural Zimbabwe.
We admire Ruth Valerio’s work as an advocate for ecological work from a Christian viewpoint. She has worked for A Rocha in the past and is now Global Advocacy and Influencing Director for Tearfund. We very much recommend her website - a fantastic read is Ruth's book L is for Lifestyle.
Remember that our very own shop JUST is completely stocked with ethically traded gifts, clothing, food items, cleaning products and the like. Supporting JUST not only provides income to many individual and family businesses around the world but is an additional source of funds for St. Mary’s.
Earlier this year we encouraged people to adopt New Year’s resolutions that would be particularly beneficial to the planet. There are, of course, lots of things we can do as Ruth Valerio book points out. We focussed on three:
Cycling or walking to church, and
Shifting our banking, our pensions and our savings, wherever possible, to institutions with ethical and sustainable values. And signing up with a green energy supplier.
Trying as best we can to buy LOAF which stands for local, organic, animal-friendly and Fairtrade.
It’s always much easier to make changes as a group, swap ideas and inspire each other – so talk about these issues in the organisations you belong to, with your family and friends.
And why not join Climate Action Wendover - and help us to make a real difference in the fight against climate change.
If you'd like more information or you'd like to get involved, please contact Paul Moring or David Blackmore.