Eco-congregation is a tool to help churches begin to address environmental issues in all that they do. It is suitable for all kinds of churches to use.
Churches are encouraged to use the resources provided to look at three main areas of church life
1. spiritual: worship and teaching (this might include services, preaching, work with children and young people, small groups)
2. practical: things to do with buildings, land and church management, and wildlife gardening
3. missional: reaching out to the local and/or global community
Assemble a small group and get going with the church check-up (module 1). This helps to affirm what is already happening in the church, and gives you some ideas as to what you might work on in the future. By the end of the check-up, you will be able to draw up an action plan with ideas for each of the three main areas above.
Complete the Resources Order Form at the back of the church check-up and send off to the eco-congregation office.
Now, get moving! There are resources to help you implement your action plan. You might get together a group which represents some of the active groups in the church (those planning services, those leading the work with children/young people, those looking after the building/church grounds). Perhaps you could meet every 4 or 6 months to check on progress with the action plan. It’s helpful to have targets to aim for.
Once you have made significant progress in those three main areas: spiritual, practical and mission, then apply for the award! Two local assessors will come to visit the church, hear your story and (hopefully) grant you the Eco-congregation Award. The Award is a wooden plaque to go on the wall, but more than that, it is a recognition that your church is taking these issues seriously, and weaving creation care into the life and witness of the church. It’s an opportunity to show your local community that these issues have their proper home in the life of the church.
Once you have received your first Award, work through module 1 again, or some other (more comprehensive) audit. Draw up another action plan which will take you through the next couple of years. The Award lasts for two to three years, during which time the hope is that you will continue your journey towards greening your church. There is always more to do.
The process of applying for your next Award is just the same as for the first Award – complete the application form. Only work completed since the previous Award was granted will be taken in consideration. This is an incentive to keep going!