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The cathedral received news last week that we have been awarded a Bronze Award by Eco Church. This scheme is run by A Rocha UK which inspires and resources Churches and Cathedrals to become greener. Part of the scheme invites users to complete surveys on 5 key areas; Worship and Teaching, Management of Building, Management of Land, Community and Global Engagement and Lifestyle.
When our Cathedral Eco Team came together in January to fill in the surveys, I wasn’t feeling confident. I had been away from the Cathedral for 3 months on placement, so I hadn’t really engaged an awful lot during the autumn term. However, when Sue and Mark (Eco team members) and I began filling in questions, we realised we had done a lot more than was immediately obvious. With so much going on at the Cathedral it’s easy to forget the impact the Gaia festival had on our community engagement, the hours we spent trawling through energy bills to calculate our carbon emissions, the weekly communications on eco matters, and the partnerships with local community groups, such as Greening Westgate, Cathedral Cycle Route and Appletree Community Garden. Sue and Mark have been great at persisting in all these areas and their work over those 3 months I was away; they have sustained the Eco work at the Cathedral. Here is what they have to say:
Mark: Climate change is one of the most significant issues facing us today. Having been involved with helping to set up and develop the Cathedral’s Eco Group over the past year, it has been rewarding to see how our faith has guided us during this journey. My contribution has included engaging with the local community to help facilitate the Greener Westgate initiative, showing how as Christians we are playing our part in protecting and enhancing our environment.
Sue: When I was asked if I was willing to become part of the Eco Group I was surprised! I’d never particularly expressed what might be termed an environmental interest, but I gave it some thought and eventually agreed. Thinking about it, I had actually had a definite awareness of conservation (my brother is the zoologist Ian Redmond and has spent his whole adult life working for and with animal conservation) and our family always tried to act responsibly and, being a good Yorkshire woman, waste was an anathema. I also thought that this was a way for me as a lay person to contribute to the cathedral. The writing of Eco Comment every week has provided me with an opportunity to research environmental issues and hopefully pass them on to the congregation in a way that says each and every one of us in our own small way can help make God’s creation a better place for us and our descendants.
Looking forward, we are now hoping to refocus on the reasons why it is important for us to engage in Eco Work. If you haven’t read our Eco Policy Learn, Love, Save, please have a look. We begin any mission around the environment with the belief that God’s creation is very good and humans created in the image of God have a responsibility in partnering with God in caring for the environment and to challenge the sin that leads to its harm. Our Eco group will be hosting a couple of session closer to the summer that are open to all who wish to engage in study around protecting creation and the theology and spirituality behind it. Please feel free to talk to me or others in the group if you’d like to do so!
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