EcoChurch Award: the story of Stratton parish church

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During 2019 the Parish Church of St Peter at Stratton near Cirencester worked hard and gained the Bronze Eco Church Award!

On 5th January 2020, Rev. Arthur Champion (the Diocesan Environmental Advisor), presented Stratton Church with this award. Iona Edwards is shown, having received the award, on behalf of her late husband, David, alongside some members of the congregation.

The Eco Church Award is from a Christian charity called “A Rocha,” which means “the rock” in Portuguese. This award scheme, started in 2016, helps churches to take practical steps towards caring for creation. It requires efforts in all areas of church life- from worship and buildings to lifestyle and community.

Stratton Church undertook work in 2007 to build an “eco loo,” involving a trench arch drainage system. Then in 2011, solar panels were installed on the church roof. These projects were all at the inception of David Edwards, who had great foresight in the need to care for creation. The Church is really thankful for David’s hard work and vision - in 2019, the Church was a net provider of electricity to the grid.

As a result, when registering with “A Rocha” in 2018, the Church found it scored highly in the “building” section, but then needed to concentrate on many other areas of church life in order to meet the criteria for an award. They were already using fair trade products and supporting specific environmental charities like Christian Aid, but they needed to go a lot further.

So, work commenced on such varied things as reducing paper usage, organising communal recycling, using environmentally friendly cleaning products and installing a cycle rack. They use a communal Christmas card and have plans to further reduce their carbon footprint. They have had specific teaching from Rev. Arthur about caring for creation.

All of this has taken place against the recent backdrop of much environmental political activity and publicity about climate change. Whilst serving to help them realise that no action is too small to make a difference, their motivation remains to help sustain God’s wonderful creation for future generations.

They are now considering the challenges of going on to work for a Silver Award and to help and collaborate with the other eight Parish churches in the Churn Valley Benefice to make progress with caring for creation. They are also hoping to meet with pupils from Stratton school to consider if any further initiatives can be made.