ECO Church

St. Mary’s Church is proud to have achieved a national Silver Eco Church Award as we demonstrate in practical ways that the gospel is good news for God’s earth, in the way we manage our buildings, our care of the churchyard and gardens, our worship and teaching, our recycling, and in our community engagement and supporting global campaigns.  We’re working on lots of new initiatives and meeting the challenges to work towards a future Gold Award too.


As part of our EcoChurch commitment we have relished bringing different aspects of creation and safeguarding the environment into our prayers, preaching and worship, using a wealth of different resources.  This has included an annual “Environment Sunday” service, a “Fairtrade Fortnight” service, and a “Harvest Festival” service and “Messy Church Goes Wild”. Our Youth Group created a 6 part, large mosaic installation highlighting environmental which is permanently on display in church, with biblical reflections and prayers.


Our church building uses lower energy bulbs and is insulated where possible.  The installation of a bicycle rack has encouraged the more able-bodied members of the congregation to cycle to church services and events.  The installation of high volume rain water recycling facilities has allowed the gardening team and visitors to the churchyard access to water for plants which had proved invaluable in hot and dry weather.  We use green electricity and offset our remaining carbon footprint donating to a scheme providing efficient non-polluting cooking stoves in Nigeria and refurbishing water boreholes in Uganda such that water does not need to be boiled to be safe.


We pride ourselves on our land use in the churchyard.  This includes the complete redevelopment of a piece of wasteland into a Spiritual Garden with varied planting which tells biblical stories – including the Garden of Eden, Rainbow of God’s Promise in spring bulbs and summer bedding plants, The Burning Bush, Water into Wine and the Last Supper.  The gardens have won the highest Level 5 Award in the Royal Horticultural Society North West Britain in Bloom competition for 3 years in a row, and is cherished by the local community as a place to reflect, remember and rest.  A new leaflet and map is available to guide visitors.  Wildlife provision includes bird boxes, butterfly boxes, hedgehog houses and a bug hotel designed and filled by the mum’s and toddlers’ group at church, who regularly undertake environmental themed crafts, stories and activities.  Our Annual Survey of wildflowers and plants showed a marked increase in the last year, and is conducted in conjunction with our local Primary School.  This is part of the ‘Love Your Burial Ground’ project and ‘Count on Nature’ – a nationwide scientific survey we contribute our findings to.

Community Engagement

This year has seen a marked increase in community engagement through social media, speakers and events, and notably at a very successful and well attended Plant Fair in May.  Church members raised hundreds of varied plants from seeds over several months which were sold along with instructions for their care.  These include garden flowers, tomatoes and vegetables and herbs, encouraging local residents to improve their green spaces and “grow their own”.  In addition all the plastic pots used were recycled and donated, and many have already been returned as we plan for next year’s event.


A highlight in 2023 has been becoming a Fairtrade Church which allowed us to affirm fairly traded, locally produced or organic produce with the congregation, and encourage lifestyle changes in our shopping and eating habits, alongside our travel and energy consumption.  Another initiative encouraging culture change has been the collection, sorting and donation of coloured plastic bottle caps.  These are donated to Plastic Shed a community Social Enterprise who use the material to re-manufacture products, gifts and jewellery.  So many folk are now recycling in this small way everyday at home, which continually raises awareness of what we do with other recyclable components in the kitchen.  This year we will also complete a lifestyle audit for the first time which give us a benchmark to measure our ecological lifestyle and progress in future years.

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