In January 2021, following the example of other church bodies, our Parochial Church Council committed to a goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030, as a contribution to the response to the climate crisis. We see this as an essential part of our calling as Christians to be good stewards of God’s creation, and a key challenge of the present times.
We began on this road about a couple of years before, and registered with the Eco Church initiative run by the Christian charity A Rocha (www.arocha.org.uk). This enables churches to audit all their activities to see what contribution they might be making to climate heating and other environmental problems, and to plan to reduce that contribution as far as possible. There is a system of awards – Bronze, Silver and Gold – to encourage this.
Our neighbours in Stratford Methodist Church (www.stratforduponavonmethodist.org.uk) have achieved a Gold Award, following major refurbishments to their plant and other changes in their life. The Eco Church page on their website gives a history of their journey and is a source of many ideas. We are co-operating closely with them on our own journey.
In 2020 we took a first step in moving to an electricity supplier for the church and Parish Centre which uses 100% renewable sources such as wind and water. However, most of our energy consumption is of gas for heating, which contributes significantly to carbon levels. It could take a while, with some cost and disruption, to find other ways of heating our buildings relying wholly on renewable sources. In the meantime, as soon as we can afford to do so, we hope to “offset” our gas emissions by joining a tree-planting scheme. We also hope to improve insulation in both the church and the Parish Centre to reduce the need for heating, and to take similar steps in our other churches (All Saints Luddington and St Helen’s Clifford Chambers) and in the houses that we own.
We are taking other steps, such as working with the Town Council and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to make our churchyard more environmentally friendly, and setting up opportunities (with our Methodist friends) for members of our community to discuss their personal responses to the climate crisis. We will be working with other partners amongst the Stratford churches, and in the community more generally, to respond to this challenge.
Regular articles in the Trinity Times will focus on climate issues. This page will from time to time provide other links to current initiatives. Anyone who wishes to join us in the work, and/or contribute further ideas, should in the first instance contact our Eco Church “champion” Anthony Woollard (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any other member of the PCC’s Eco Church Team, which currently includes nominees from the ministry team plus Andy Winter, Mike Warrillow, Lindsay MacDonald, Kevin Bond, Sam Jupe and Tricia Hall-Matthews, with Lim Ho from the Methodist church as a corresponding member. As we go further down this road, we will need help from others!