At our Representative Synod in September 2020 we agreed to commit to becoming a Net Zero Carbon District by 2040, at the latest. Find more information, stories, and resources on this page.
[This page is in the process of being updated to showcase more recent stories and resources – Oct 23]
Flourishing as a Greener Church
Stories from around the District
Gold Eco Church award – Summerbridge Methodist Church
Congratulations to Summerbridge Methodist Church who have been given an a Rocha Eco Church scheme Gold award, after lots of hard work! The scheme looked at all aspects of our church life including worship, buildings, community engagement and more. For details take a look at https://www.summerbridgechurch.org/caring-for-our-world Particular thanks to the Young Church team who refurbished the tarmac ‘garden’ beside the Church last year.
Summerbridge were featured on the Methodist Church Podcast, the full episode can be found here: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/podcasts/the-methodist-podcast-episode-32/
As a Church, we have always been committed to environmental issues, supporting Christian Charities, Toilet Twinning, Fairtrade, as
well as saving energy in our buildings by making physical changes to reduce energy use. However, this did not add up to a coordinated
strategic approach to environmental issues, until a member of our congregation, Peter Wright (Who is a volunteer speaker/teacher for
Christian Aid as well as a volunteer speaker for Compassion UK; Chair of Nidderdale Climate and Environment Group; a member of
Zero Carbon Harrogate, and member of Extinction Rebellion Harrogate) approached a member of our Leadership Team to suggest we
carry out an environmental audit, using the A Rocha EcoChurch Survey. The Leadership Team were enthusiastic about having a more
holistic approach to environmental issues and the survey was first carried out in February 2019. At that point our results were fairly
poor and we did not feel it was appropriate to apply for an award.
There was obviously an enormous amount of work to do! We set about creating an Action Plan (See page 54) and sharing this with the
Church Council, who also fully supported the EcoChurch approach. The Leadership Team identified a couple of Environmental
Champions for the Church – Linsay Pooley and Peter Wright. They, along with the Leadership Team, raised awareness and drove the
improvements identified in the March 2019 Action Plan. The outcome of their work can be seen in detail in the survey responses
throughout this document. As well as a lot of physical work, such as refurbishing the ‘garden’, a lot of time was spent in raising
environmental awareness across the Church in services, young church, housegroups and via articles in the Church and Circuit
Newsletters (And more recently, with Church building closed due to Coronavirus, via email). We have focussed on encouraging people
to ‘get on board’ and make lifestyle changes for Biblical reasons.
After a year of hard work, we carried out the audit again in January 2020 and this time we included the questions about ‘land’ as we
had been able to take a number of actions to encourage wildlife and make the space environmentally friendly. The survey outcomes
were much improved:
Worship and Teaching – Gold
Buildings – Gold
Land – Gold
Community and global engagement – Gold
Lifestyle – Gold
We are delighted that the changes we have made have improved our results and that we are now far better stewards – both as a
church and as individuals – of all that God has given us, but we recognise that the job is never finished. We have created an Action Plan
for 2020/21, which appears on page 55 and we have also included ‘Creation Care’ as a key strategy area for our church for 2020-22.
It has been really exciting to see both the improvement that we have made in our survey results and the increase in awareness of
environmental issues amongst our congregation (Particularly our young people) and the wider community. We continue to encourage
other churches in the Circuit and local area to get involved in the A Rocha survey and with some of the changes we have been making.
An exciting future is ahead!