29 April 2022

Ecumenism in Stratford-upon-Avon to care for the environment

Lim Ho from Stratford-upon-Avon Methodist Church recently received Maundy Thursday money from the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in recognition of his ecumenical work bringing faith groups together to care for the environment. He was nominated for the award by the local Church of England vicar. In this blog Lim outlines some of the work he is involved with locally and offers tips for other churches wanting to engage on environmental issues. The Church was awarded the first Methodist Church to receive the Eco Church Gold Award in 2019. 

How did you bring together local churches to work on eco issues?

 Stratford upon Avon Methodist Church has been working on environmental care for more than 20 years. The church Green Group consists of six to nine people meeting regularly. We not only plan eco-activity in the church but also work with local churches both in the Methodist Circuit and in Stratford Churches Together. We also have invited people from other churches to our green group meeting and from this contact formed a Stratford Churches Together Eco-Group which organises our monthly ecumenical Eco-Chat which meets in our building. This involves 6 local churches – two Anglican, URC, Quaker, Baptist and Methodist.

 

What kind of things do you do as a group?

In our regular Green Group meeting, we discuss how to organise our annual Environment Sunday service, topics for our monthly Green Corner, how to respond to  international and national campaigns and in what way to partake in local climate actions.

In response to the climate emergency we worked with local climate groups to organise Stratford Climate Action Day in 2019. To show our support to COP26, we organised Prayer Vigil led by six local churches in 2021. We also inform and encourage church people to join in local climate actions.  At the moment we are joining in the local Great Big Green Week planning group to make our church contribution is part of the local event. We supported South Warwickshire Circuit to adopt a Circuit Environmental Charter and the Energy Policy so now we have more churches taking up Eco-Church programme.

 

What difference do you think it makes?

Creation care is part of our church mission. With annual Environment Sunday services and monthly Green Corners about taking action for our faith, the church community always responds well and has supported campaigns to protect the rainforest and has raised funds for local tree planting. Our church action on the climate crisis is well recognised in the community and our energy efficient church building is considered the best example of a public building.

 

Any tips for people who might wish to do this themselves in their own contexts?

People in general are willing to do something to combat the climate crisis and understand that we have to restore our covenant with God for his creation. Carrying out the Eco-Church programme is the best way to inspire and equip the congregation to take on the challenge. An active green group to lead and to have the support of the church council is essential to make creation care part of the church life.

 

Find out more about Eco Church and the other resources to help your community here.

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