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Eco Church: Passionate people drive the initial work

St John’s Egham became an Eco Church in 2018. In 2019 they were awarded the Bronze Award and in 2022 the Silver. The church is committed to going zero waste, carbon zero, and encouraging wildlife.

At St John’s, the community is encouraged to reflect and think about how they can all reduce greenhouse emissions, how they can reduce waste, reuse as much as possible and recycle when there is no other choice.

Chris Gray, PCC Finance Champion and Growing Green Champion, said: “Eco Church gives a good structure for our intentions to care for God's creation and the resources we have been given. I find that some folk are passionate about nature and biodiversity, others on waste, others on the joy of creation. Each of us is right to focus on our passion, but Eco Church helps validate the parts that are important because they all are necessary to address the whole.

“There are different levels of accreditation, which help us make measurable steps to improve what we do. It is great to shoot for getting to Gold, but we should remember that accreditation is just a form of recognition, and we shouldn't boast about it or use it as an excuse to sit on our laurels.

“There can be a huge missional element in this work as we increase our engagement with the community and collaborate with other community groups. We’ve found it helpful to sometimes bring in expertise and explain why we care, as well as events which draw people in from our community such as our Eco Fayre. I remember my first PCC vision day when we talked about using our campus as a means of engaging with our community, and I really feel we have done that in great part due to our eco-focus.

Chris would encourage other churches to sign up to be an Eco Church: “My biggest advice is to get the most passionate people to drive the initial focus. But at some stage you need to integrate Eco into all aspects of church life, and not just be a program run on one side, disconnected from the Facilities, Prayer and Finance groups.”

Eco Church is a way in which we can turn back, as Christians, to our first task set in scripture. It is an award scheme run by the Christian charity, A Rocha UK, and supported by Christian Aid, The Church of England, The Methodist Church and Tearfund. It encourages us to pursue better environmental stewardship by setting goals that enable congregations to reduce their environmental impact – both as churches and in private life.

 Three ladies stood holding up eco themed craftA women stood inspecting a plant pot behind a table of plantsThree women wearing orange St John's t-shirts manning a wildlife stall

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