As the first church in Haslemere to become an EcoChurch, St Stephen’s Shottermill is now hoping its new vicar Rev Tim Radcliffe, who arrives later this month, will take the lead in becoming a greener church.
EcoChurch is an awards programme for churches which want to show they care for God’s earth in all aspects of church life, as an important part of the Christian faith. St Stephen’s currently holds a bronze EcoChurch award and is now working towards achieving a silver award.
Since becoming an EcoChurch, St Stephen’s has:
- moved to green electricity,
- invested in greater energy efficiency (such as LEDs and insulation),
- installed bike racks and supported car sharing to church,
- reduced plastics use and increased recycling, and
- encouraged members of the congregation to live more sustainably.
The church recently shared an EcoChurch stand with Three Counties Vineyard church at the Great Green Get Together event in Haslemere. Last year, St Stephen’s planted a tree as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project. In 2021, when the UK hosted the UN climate talks, St Stephen’s held a special Climate Sunday service and invited other churches in the area to join us to pray for the success of these talks.
St Stephen’s also supports the work of Tearfund, a Christian charity which helps to reduce the impact of climate change and other environmental problems on the world’s poorest communities.
As part of the Great Big Green Week which runs from June 11 to 18, St Stephen’s will be encouraging congregation members to reduce their plastic use as part of Tearfund’s Rubbish Campaign.
St Stephen’s is doing its bit to reduce carbon emissions, which will also help the Church of England to reach its ambitious target to achieve net carbon zero by 2030. The Church of England takes caring for God’s earth seriously, especially as ‘safeguarding the integrity of creation’ is one of its Five Marks of Mission priorities.
In future, St Stephen’s would like to work together with other green groups in the Haslemere area, either on joint projects or to support and promote what others are doing.
To discuss working together on green projects or for further information about EcoChurch, email [email protected]
By Jean Leston
Jean Leston helps run the Green Team at St Stephen’s and also serves on the Diocese of Guildford environmental advisory group