Rushall hits Gold

Published: 31st January 2024

Rushall Parish Church is celebrating after being awarded the Gold standard in the Eco Awards, the highest award in the ARocha scheme and the first in the diocese.

The Eco Church awards are given as churches of all denominations take actions to express their care for God's word in worship, teaching and looking after their buildings and land as well as community engagement, global campaigns and personal lifestyles.

In conferring the gold award, the judges summarised their findings in a report:

"The A Rocha panel shared how inspiring it was to meet such an enthusiastic eco group, and it was so clear how your long history of being eco-conscious has led to an embedded creation care thread in all areas of your church life. 

"There are so many highlights - too many to mention - but here are a few that stood out to us:

  • You are constantly looking for ways to celebrate creation throughout the year and have a team that incorporates creation themes into the church services and sermons. Along with  weekly intercessions for the environment.
  • Your church vicar is very supportive and champions Eco Church in many different ways from the Eco Church and the Vicarage leaflet (impressed to read about the bog garden)  through to the schools link. We hope the Forest School plans bear fruit to help young people enjoy, nurture and defend nature.
  • Your sustainable flowers initiative; not using oasis but locally sourced flowers.
  • Your recognition that your churchyard is one part of a wider green corridor and the nearby lime pits are all important habitats for wildlife. 
  • Your upcoming plans to plant 1000’s of spring bulbs with members of the community shows that your church yard is a place of activity and connecting with others who enjoy gardening.
  • Your positive links with the local council in maintaining the church yard.
  • Your community links with the local allotments, beekeepers and local farmers to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators as well as how farmland can be precious wildlife habitats too.
  • Your awareness of church maintenance and energy saving measures are to be noted; and the consideration of what is a sustainable way forward given your current energy usage and cost.
  • Your financial and prayerful support of vulnerable households, women and small holding farmers affected by climate change in Malawi. 
  • Your keenness to share the importance of individual actions and how tools like the WWF carbon footprint and the Eco Church Survey are helpful ways to assess the impact of lifestyle changes on our planet. 

"All of the above and more demonstrate how embedded the ethos of Eco Church is in your church community and how the principles of Eco Church are integral and woven into the fellowship."

Bob Barnard, one of the wardens there said:

"It was very much a team effort with more and more of the congregation getting involved and enthused. I think it has also helped us in other areas too....the numbers attending our main service continue to climb(slowly) and I think this exercise has been one of the reasons for that."

Revd Rich Clarkson, the Diocesan Environmental Officer said:

"Reaching the Gold EcoChurch standard is an incredible achievement, and is testament to the hard work of the team at Rushall Parish Church.  The EcoChurch awards are a great way for Churches to show that they care for the world that God has made, and shine as beacons of hope in their communities.  Rushall Parish Church are the first in our Diocese to reach the Gold standard - I wonder who'll be next!"

Churchwarden's at St Michael the Archangel in Rushall, Bob Barnard and Jan Firth, have offered to help any other churches with their endeavours in this area.

Page last updated: Friday 23rd February 2024 1:43 PM
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