Well we’ve had the assessors in for the ecocongregation audit and spent two hours last night going through our submission for the award. I am thrilled to say that we have been awarded it!
There are three main areas that they look at in a church to see what impact we are making on ecological issues.
The first area is looking at the links that we make between our Christian faith and caring for our world. In this respect we were able to point to our teaching about this over a number of years. We had a four week series in 2008 (those in Springfield may remember the bag of goodies that we gave out to help us live in more caring ways for our environment). We have also brought it into other series – such as Harvest or in our series on worship earlier this year. We were also able to point to the ethos of Springfield and the way that we “re-use” buildings. We pointed out that because we don’t have a building that our impact on the environment is lessened.
The second area that is looked at is taking practical. What have we done to lessen our impact? We were able to point to a number of concrete steps that we have already taken in this area. We pointed to our low energy lighting in the centre, the use of paper in the centre, the move to use the church website to provide information and reduce paper use (e.g. some read the newsheet online rather than taking one on a Sunday, or listen to the sermon online rather than have a CD). In addition we pointed to our recycling, Fairtrade status, Fairtrade stall, Share board etc.
The third area was our impact on our local and global community. Well we didn’t pretend that we had changed the world! We were able to point out to the impact we had made on RUSH with the provision of water, chickens, clothing from Sutton Grammar and Wallington Girls, clothing for their football teams. We also pointed to the way that Susanna had started a Fairtrade stall at Nonsuch school.
None of this means that our work is complete but it does mean that we have recognition of the work that has been achieved. A huge thank you needs to go to George, Paul and Jenny who have been the driving force behind our applying for an ecocongregation audit and the award through the eco-cell. Without their hard work and asking loads of questions we would not have achieved this award.
We are now left with next steps. We need to embed these changes within the life of Springfield and look at how we take this work forward so that we naturally look to see how we care for creation around us.