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The tips below were written in response to a member of a congregation who sent the following e-mail to Creation Challenge:
“Our church is keen to become more eco-friendly, but we don't know how to begin in the most effective way. We are a moderately sized church - up to 100 at a well-attended Sunday service - and with a pleasingly increasing number of children and young people, though overall with a near or post-retirement profile. Can you recommend means whereby we can get practical inspiration and advice? I should be most grateful to hear from you.”
Start by raising awareness within the congregation. The biggest single impact that any church can achieve is likely to be through changes in lifestyle choices of its members. Incorporate the theme of our concern and responsibility for God's Creation into worship, study and preaching.
Encourage children to take a leadership role - they might discuss the future of the planet in their groups and then report back to the congregation through pictorial or other medium.
As soon as there is sufficient acceptance among the congregation that this area of church life and mission is important carry out a 'church check-up'. The Eco-Congregation Module 1 is ideal for this. Don't feel overwhelmed by the number of different areas this examines. It is not the intention that you look to bring about changes in all of the areas of church life. Set yourselves manageable objectives. Work out a few 'quick wins' to begin with.
Consider switching the church supply to Green Electricity.
Provide information to the congregation on low-wattage light bulbs, green electricity, carbon calculators and other green tips. (Chelsea Methodist Church incorporates a 'green tip' into its notices most Sundays.)
Consider how the church might help members increase recycle or reuse items/materials (see the Selly Oak Methodist Church suggestions). Recycling collection bins in church can serve in providing a helpful reminder of environmental responsibility.
Do you have any tips that you would like to share? Please contact the Network Coordinator if you do.
Useful websites include: CEL, A Rocha and Eco-Congregation
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