Our Eco-Congregation Award - United Church, Dorchester, Dorset
We didn’t need to do anything major for our first Award. The United Church is in the town centre, with well-maintained buildings, a book and Fairtrade shop, a Fairtrade coffee lounge, a weekly sell-anything-recycled stall, strong links with home and overseas missions and charities, lots of local outreach, and of course – environmentally aware ministers and youth workers.
I buttonholed key people to help fill in the environmental check up; no committee meetings needed! and passed on several modules to Heads of Departments. Then I identified practices that could count for an Award application, and over the past year we: -
- Changed to environmentally friendly cleaning products.
- Started a regular Green Page in the Church magazine.
- Held an environment themed harvest service, using A Rocha material.
- Completed one of the Green Bible study modules, which proved very interesting with much debate and input.
- We are using one of the large notice boards in the hall for Eco-Congregation themes.
- As a protest against plastic carrier bags and coinciding with Tesco’s initiative to reduce their use, we started to distribute sturdy shopping bags made from recycled curtains. It hasn’t made much of a dent in the plastic carriers, but it is a good eye-catcher – very colourful – and a good talking point. Please take the idea, anyone. Sewing bags from beautiful bits of fabric that people are only too glad to be rid of is most therapeutic. And they can be sold for charity.
Being “inspected” makes us realise how much more we could do. Gaining the Award is most encouraging; perhaps we now need that committee.
Alison Pople, United Church, Dorchester