Well today is an exciting day. This evening we are having the assessors in from Ecocongregation to see if we qualify for an award. Ecocongregation is aimed at helping churches look at how we address environmental issues. We have had a group in the church (based round our eco cell led by George Dow) looking at how we address ecological issues in the church and how ecological we are.
Caring for creation is more than a “trendy” topic it is also a theological understanding that the God who made the entire Universe cares deeply for all he created. It was brought home to me on Sunday when our reading was Jonah 4 (for those who understand these things you can see we don’t do the lectionary!). The final verse says this
And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”
The concern for the God’s creation runs through the bible. Even when we look at verses such as Genesis and we look at the idea of being made in the image of God and given stewardship and dominion these are not commands to pillage the earth but rather to care for the earth as God wishes it to be cared for. To be made in the image of God goes back to the ancient idea that a King would put an image of himself in his cities so that the city would know that he was king. In the same way we, made in the image of God, are to represent God where we are. That includes in what we do and how we treat the world around us.
So we have been looking at all we do and assessing how we are doing. As always in these things we are a work in progress. On some major items I would argue we are very ecologically friendly. For example, using community buildings for our acts of worship such as a school and another modern church building mean that we are sharing and not using an entire building just for ourselves alone. We are already a Fairtrade church and mainly use Fairtrade products for coffee on Sunday’s, cleaning products for the church centre etc.
On other areas we have more to work on. Sometimes its a balancing act between the costs and the benefit of going for recycled or Fairtrade products. Our trajectory is clear though. We do wish to continue to care and nurture for this glorious creation that we are part of.
I will let you know if we get the award!