Diocese secures Bronze Eco Award
A second diocese in the Church in Wales has been awarded for its commitment to the environment.
The Diocese of St Asaph has achieved a bronze Eco Diocese award from the Christian charity, A Rocha UK. It follows the Diocese of Llandaff which received its bronze award last year.
The award reflects the work of churches across the diocese to make sustainable changes to their buildings, their land, the lifestyle of congregations and the inclusion of green issues in teaching and worship. In addition, the Diocesan Conference passed an Environmental Policy committing churches and individuals to “live simply, in order that others might simply live.”
The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, said, “This is an issue of the utmost importance in our age and the church needs to be leading by example. Christians believe that we are the stewards of God’s creation. That requires us to learn to live in the world as guests and pilgrims and not as dominators or exploiters. I’m delighted by the commitment to creation shown by churches across the diocese.”
Along with putting its own house in order, to achieve a bronze eco-diocese award the diocese had to ensure 10% of local churches were registered with Eco Church and 5% of them had to have achieved silver or gold. A recent count showed there were:
- 49 registered churches (26%)
- 7 Bronze churches, including St Asaph Cathedral
- 5 Silver churches
In addition, the Diocesan Office in St Asaph has bronze status and that too was one of the requirements of reaching Bronze Level.
Other criteria include embedding environmental issues into ministerial training, which the Diocese has done in multiple ways, including through its own training centre at the St Padarn’s Institute where environmental awareness is part in the curriculum for all those training for ordained and other ministries.
Helen Stephens, Church Relations Manager at A Rocha UK, said, "2022 is another critical year in which to address climate change and biodiversity loss. St Asaph Diocese is clearly committed to taking action at every level, from Diocesan Conference in 2021 focusing on the global climate crisis and wholly divesting from climate damaging activities by the end of 2022, to supporting and celebrating with churches the tremendous work that’s being done at a grassroots level. It’s a direction of travel which I’m sure will see them take deeper and faster action in the year ahead."
The chair of the Diocesan Eco-Church Group, Nigel Williams, who is also the Dean of St Asaph, said, "All sorts of different projects and adaptions are being made by churches across the diocese to take care of God’s Creation in their local context.
“There are Forest Churches starting, conservation projects in graveyards, hedgehog counts, orchards and beehives being established and churches converting to green energy tariffs. At St Asaph Cathedral we’re investigating solar panel options so we can move from being a Bronze Eco Cathedral to a Silver award.
“Churches across the diocese are often making simple changes which are making a big difference to our environment. Our Diocesan Environmental Policy is designed to support those changes and encourage people to take the next step.”