Methodist success in Eco Church Awards

07 December 2022

More Methodist churches are signing up to be part of the Eco Church award scheme operated by A Rocha UK.

Participation in the Eco Church awards for the 12 months until June 2022 shows an increase of 70 percent for Methodist Churches over the previous year. In that period, 94 churches achieved a Bronze award, 28 churches achieved a Silver award and one, the Methodist / URC Emmanuel Church in Bungay in the East Anglia District, received a Gold award.

There are now more than 640 Methodist and LEP churches registered for Eco Church, with four churches having achieved Gold.

The Eco Church award scheme is a national community of churches from all denominations addressing the environmental crisis, using a common framework, an online toolkit of resources and the award survey, as well as learning and speaking up together.  

Three award levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold encourage churches to engage more deeply with the environment within worship and teaching, buildings and land management, community and global engagement and lifestyle. The awards are not an end, but a means to help churches embed caring for creation across every area of church life.

Jude Levermore, Head of Mission at the Methodist Church, commented, “Living sustainably is an essential part of our calling, which we are living out in the context of a global climate emergency. The Methodist Conference has committed our Church to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 and the increasing number of Gold and Silver Eco churches are leading the way. It is great to see how Eco Church is inspiring action in our churches and bringing people together. Eco Church will be an important part of the Methodist ‘Hope in Action’ agenda over the coming years.”

The Bristol District is the first district to have been awarded an Eco District Bronze award. This has been achieved with various initiatives, including churches setting a baseline for their carbon footprints, using the land around buildings to benefit the environment and engaging with political action to protect and restore the planet. There has also been a dramatic reduction in district business mileage from 250,000 miles a year to around 70,000.  

Jonathan Pye, Chair of Bristol District, commented, “We are delighted that the Bristol Methodist District, led by our Bristol Eco District Team, is the first Methodist district to gain a national bronze Eco District Award. 

"The Bristol Methodist District is committed to living responsibly by ecological principles. We want to encourage individuals, churches and Circuits, and the District as a whole, to respond in appropriate ways to the ongoing climate emergency. We not only seek to achieve our own net-zero carbon targets, in line with the Methodist Conference but set an example to others in wider society to do so, too."

 Helen Stephens, Church Relations Manager from A Rocha UK, commented; “Awareness of the deepening climate and biodiversity crises has been brought into searing focus by the summer heatwave, but together, the Methodist Church and A Rocha UK’s Eco Church programme offer a hopeful way to respond to the environmental crisis.  

“There is something each one of us can do to help change the course that we’re on. And it needs every one of us to do something. If we want to grow future generations in our churches, then the environment is one of the biggest priorities on which they want to see action.