Manchester Diocese is excited to announce that it has received an Eco Diocese award from the national environmental charity A Rocha in recognition of its work to embed environmental issues into the life of the diocese.
The Bronze award also recognises the many churches across Greater Manchester and Rossendale who have worked hard to make their buildings and worship greener, and who have received Eco Church awards over the past three years.
Since announcing its intention to work towards becoming an Eco Diocese in 2017, the diocese has made great efforts to integrate care for the environment into its strategy, training, investments and communications.
A Rocha, who administer the award, commented on some innovative elements to work on the environment such as encouraging cycling, and supporting Beeways, the radical plan by Chris Boardman and Transport for Greater Manchester to transform Greater Manchester into Britain's first 'cycling city'.
Manchester Diocese has also established a 12-week Ecology and Creation training pathway for Authorised Lay Ministers. Eco ALMs develop a theological understanding of creation care alongside the climate emergency, and identify how creation and ecology present missional opportunities for engagement in all aspects of church life, including pastoral care and worship.
Innovative Communications from the Diocese of Manchester on environmental issues include the commissioning of a cartoon and videos to encourage cycling.
The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said “I am delighted that Manchester Diocese has achieved the Eco Diocese Bronze Award! It is particularly pleasing that churches in both more rural areas and deprived urban locations have achieved high awards.
“Environmental issues are now becoming firmly embedded in our life and thinking, and form a core part of our goal to serve local communities well. There is still a long way to go. Onwards to Silver!”
The Bishop of Bolton, Mark Ashcroft, who leads on environmental issues, added “What a lovely Christmas present to receive the Eco Diocese award! The Climate emergency is the most significant challenge that our world faces, but this award shows that by working together it can be addressed.
“The award is a tribute to all the hard work that The Revd John Hughes has put in over the past years but also to the hard work of parishes who have registered and achieved Bronze and Silver level awards. Congratulations to you all! Thanks also to Alison Peacock, Head of Serving Communities, for pulling our application together.”
The Revd John Hughes, from St John the Evangelist, Old Trafford, was Diocesan Environmental Officer for many years and laid the groundwork for much of the diocese’s work on environmental issues. He has inspired action through initiatives such as the Old Trafford community garden, ‘no-waste’ harvest suppers, the Eco Lent challenge and installing solar panels on the church roof!
Looking to the future
Work on environmental issues does not stop with the Bronze Eco Award! There is still a long way to go and a Motion on the environment will be debated by Manchester Diocesan Synod in spring 2021 as the diocese continues to take this work forward in the coming years.
Churches, schools, chaplaincies and other ministries are encouraged to make environmental concerns a significant part of their planning and action.
Would you like your church to work towards an Eco Church award? Or if you have already registered, would you like to submit further details towards your reward application?
More details on our Eco Diocese webpage.