Eco Church

“The Lord God place man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”


at St James Church

(Genesis 2:15 New Living Translation)

Eco Church is A Rocha UK’s  award scheme for churches in England and Wales.

We are very proud to announce that on 25 February 2020 St James Church was awarded a Bronze Eco Church Award.

In 2018 St James’ Church started on its Eco Journey.  We joined up with A Rocha and undertook and online survey of how we scored against five areas of Church life:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Management of Church buildings
  • Management of Church Land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

It started with a small eco group with an interest in assessing our Garden of Eden and generating ideas on how we could improve our care for God’s world here in Woodley.   Through declarations of a “Climate Emergency” by our Local council and lots of talk in the media we have been working for global and local changes to protect the environment and encouraging all church users to alter their lifestyles to better care for the world around them.  

In 2020 we have achieved a Bronze award.  But our work caring for God’s world here in Woodley has only just begun.  We will be continuing with our work and hoping to achieve a Silver award taking both individuals and the church and church users on a journey….

New members are welcome to join us, as we continue to work towards our Silver Eco Award. Please email us here

For more information see our Eco Church Facebook page .


Eco News:

At St James our current sermon series “Saying Yes to Life” the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2020 following Ruth Valerio’s book of the same name will challenge us through Lent and our links with God’s World – Our World.   Follow the sermons here! 

Before Lent started and as part of our progress to our Bronze award we have been working at improving the church grounds for wildlife.

Improving the church grounds for wildlife

We already have one nestbox up and will be adding another tit nestbox and a sparrow nestbox terrace before the Spring.

An area of the grass between the church and Kingfisher Drive has been seeded with a meadow wildflower mix containing up to 23 different species. Some of the plants should flower this year with the rest following on in 2021. These flowers will provide food for insects – bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths.

Four Rowan (Mountain Ash) trees have been planted at the entrance to the car park – two on each side. The blossom will provide nectar for insects and the berries food for birds. The ground underneath will be sown with a mix of native grasses and wild flowers in the Spring. These will provide food for insects – bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths. A hedge containing a mix of Hawthorn and Field Maple has also been planted in the gap between the end of the fence and the existing hedge round the Pre-school garden. The blossom will provide nectar for insects and the birds will benefit from the berries and the shelter that the hedge will provide when it thickens up.


Ideas post Christmas

Tidying up after Christmas can daunting and where does one start.  Well why not start this decade with a few new eco ideas for your household and cleaning.

Firstly, do not throw items in the rubbish to go to landfill before you have checked out all the 8 R’s of recycling:-

Rethink
RegiftRepair
ReduceReuse
RecoverRefuse
Recycle

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Zero waste can start in 2020.

Why not think about saving some of your Christmas items from one year to another?  Box items up and pop in a cupboard or the loft until next year.  Mark on the box the contents so before you go out shopping next year you can see what you already have. 

Don’t fancy keeping things!  Before you ditch anything consider if others would like it and you could take to a charity shop or resale locally.  Consider your items trash?  See whether the item can be recycled through kerbside recycling or by taking it to the recycling centres at Reading Smallmead or Bracknell Longsot Lane, Bracknell.  Try the re3 wheel or look at our recycling spreadsheet.   

Click here for your copy of the St James Recycling spread sheet.

Have you every really considered your stuff?  From the natural resources, production, to our consumerism and our stuff and our waste.  Watch ‘the story of stuff’.

Now you’ve tidied how to clean without using harsh or toxic chemicals.  Natural cleaning agents arguably are “kinder” to the environment too.  Use natural products like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.  Why not exchange your kitchen paper towels for reusable rags made from old towels, tea towels, or from old t-shirts or try newspaper to clean your windows.

Windows /Mirrors:- Equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray on mirrors or windows and clean with lint free cloth or newspaper.

Floors:- Mix four cups of distilled vinegar and gallon of hot water with a couple of drops of essential oils mop onto the floor.  The smell of vinegar will quickly disappear leaving behind clean floors with the smell of your essential oils.

Consider swapping your single use mop for a re-useable mop head and bucket.

Tiles and work surfaces:- Mix two parts of vinegar to one part of baking soda and four parts of water, apply with sponge, or rag and then wipe away.

Mold / Mildew:- wipe over with white vinegar.

If you are not sure on using these then there are lots of different eco-friendly cleaning products now available on the market.  Or if you pop to Wokingham Market on Friday or Saturday try Maya’s Refillables, in Woodley market on the 3rd Wednesday of the month too.

This year / decade consider going paperless using electronic correspondence. Instead of ploughing through piles of paperwork consider getting your statements, newsletters and receipts paperless by email.  This will also help to keep your desk / office tidy.

Share your ideas with the group  – email us just click here! Remember to look at the St James Eco Church page on Facebook.


What’s Happening with Eco Church this year……

Now we have achieved out Bronze Eco Church we will be going for Silver…….……. And coming soon an Eco Survey to help you assess how eco you are and see if there are any areas we can help you with on your eco journey.


Local Environmental Events:


Links:

Here are some links you might like to look up:

The Church of England “The Environment and Climate Change” 

Plastic-less Living 

Earley Environmental Group 

Fairtrade 

Oakwood Forest Church 

Green Christian  

Climate Stewards 

Energy Saving Trust


Reading:

“Creation Care; A Biblical Theology of the Natural World” by Duncan Moo and Jonathan Moo

“Planetwise; Dare to care for God’s World” by Dave Bookless

“Just Living: Faith and Community in an Age of Consumerism” by Ruth Valerio

“Christ the Heart of Creation” by Rowan Williams

“Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living” by Nick Spencer and Robert White

Previous Eco ideas:

You can find an archive of previously published Eco ideas here.