Eco Church

At St Matthew’s we take looking after Creation seriously. Many people in our church family have a deep love of and knowledge of the natural world, and others have academic qualifications in sustainability. We recognise that our beautiful home, planet Earth, is in trouble, and that this is largely due to human activity—the problem of plastics springs to mind most readily, but there are many other sorts of pollution in our air, our rivers and oceans, in forests and on mountain tops. There are other issues too, which aren’t new, but which have become more apparent to the public in recent years—climate change, carbon emissions, species extinction, deforestation, drought and famine, and many others.

In 1984, the Anglican Communion—all Anglican churches throughout the world—recognised five “Marks of Mission”, and stated that the Mission of the Church is the Mission of Christ. Since then, many other denominations have adopted these Marks of Mission. They are recognised as being all equally as important as each other:

  1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  3. To respond to human need by loving service
  4. To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
  5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

At St Matthew’s, in our worship, teaching, small groups, and daily lives, we try to live out all of these Five Marks of Mission, including signing up to Eco Church. Eco Church is A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.

It consists of an online survey and supporting resources designed to equip churches to express care for God’s world in: worship and teaching; in how we look after our buildings and land; in how we engage with our local community and in global campaigns; and in the personal lifestyles of our church family.

To see how it works: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/how-eco-church-works/

In 2019 we commissioned a small team to take this forward, and to work towards Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. We are working hard to make our church building as sustainable as possible, and we have created a wildlife garden, where many birds and insects come to feed, and a hedgehog has made its home.

We also celebrate Harvest with a shared lunch, together with teaching about Creation Care; and on many other Sundays our prayers and worship have the natural world and the environmental and climate crises as a focus. We take information and advice from organisations such as Green Christian and A Rocha, and we support The Busoga Trust, which provides clean water and sanitation in rural Uganda.

These are exciting times, and we hope everyone will join us as we journey together in this part of the Mission of the Church.

For further information please see the booklet that we have created—Whose World is it Anyway?