St Wilfrid’s Journey to their Silver Eco Church Award
Recently, St Wilfrid’s in Calverton has been presented an A Rocha’s Silver Eco Church Award. The church originally achieved their Bronze Award during the lockdown as it was a positive thing they could be working towards during a difficult time and something they could work together to achieve.
Revd Sam Hustwayte reflects on their journey to Silver: “The journey began back in 2019 when we decided as a church that we should create an environmental policy that would reduce our use of single-use plastics and remind us of our responsibility to the environment. We launched our new values and mission statement that includes how we are striving together to care for our world.
We quickly realised that all the previous work we had done and been doing for years would aid us in achieving our bronze award. We already aimed to use fairtrade products wherever possible and had an Eco ambassador. We were also using recycled paper in the office, changing to use environmentally friendly cleaning products, and using key seasons of the year, such as Lent and Harvest, to focus teaching and prayer on our environment. Through the questions, we were able to celebrate all that we were already doing.
The bronze award process enabled us to see the potential of what else we could be doing. There were also bigger and more major things that needed to be addressed for silver, namely our lighting and energy supply.
To change our lighting to LED lighting, we applied to the Benefact Trust (previously AllChurches Trust) for a grant and received half the amount needed, so we were able to use some reserves to have this work done. The energy was slightly trickier as we had to wait for our old contract to finish. We took the decision to pay more for our fuel to have green energy.
Some of the little things we were able to do included putting bird boxes up and creating a wildflower area on the church grounds. We joined in with the church ground’s big nature count and used old plastic bottles and decorated stones to make bug houses too. It was great to see the children from local schools and the community getting involved.
We encouraged people to walk to church when they could. Also, we gave sunflower seeds out to everyone to plant and grow and then bring to plant along our church railings.
St Wilfrid’s still has a way to go. We are in the process of doing the parish dashboard energy footprint and encouraging our church community to do this for their own homes. We also need to replace the wire mesh that protects our windows and so have taken the opportunity to look creatively at how we incorporate insulation.
As a PCC and church, we are committed to continuing this journey, as we strive together to care for our world, towards achieving Gold being as creative as we can be, given the building and land we have available to us.”