St Mary’s Hale, one of six churches in the Avon Valley Churches team, has secured a bronze award in the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha UK.
The Eco Church scheme aims to equip churches and individuals to look at their impact on the environment and to create a movement to help restore biodiversity at a local level.
To achieve the bronze award, A Rocha UK asks the congregation to consider the environmental impact of the church and its activities. This involves looking at the services, management of buildings and land, community and global engagement and personal lifestyle.
St Mary’s Hale has run snowdrop services with an ecological focus; reduced the energy and water consumption at the church; carried out a wildlife survey recording over 100 species; run a monthly Fairtrade stall at the local market and supported Christian Aid in its global effort to lobby leaders to care for creation.
The team at St Mary’s Hale has shown determination and dedication for environmental causes over many years. To secure a bronze award in 2021, despite all of the challenges caused by the pandemic, shows that even when it is difficult or inconvenient, environmentally conscious decisions are possible. During the lockdown, services went online and reusable fabric facemasks were sold to raise money for Ringwood Foodbank. Each action from the weekly prayers to the ‘Hale’s Angels’ Choir car share scheme shows consideration for the environment in all aspects of church life.
Bethan Davies, the Eco Church champion for St Mary’s Hale, said, “The Eco Church award scheme brings together groups from across the community and channels concern for our planet into positive action. I’d especially like to thank our congregation for their continued dedication, and the energies of our many partners, such as Woodgreen Community Shop, the organisers of Hale Food Market, Hale House and Hampshire Fungus Recording Group. They all have a stake in this award. Next we will be going for gold!”
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