Below are some examples of how parishes across CofE Birmingham have been caring for God's creation.
Saying Yes to Life: How The Ascension, Stirchley became involved in Eco Church
“Saying Yes to Life “ by Ruth Valerio was the Lent book for 2020 at The Ascension Stirchley. Each week they read a chapter and reflected on its message - how it is the responsibility of us all to put our energies into doing everything we can to address climate change now!
To confirm their enthusiasm and shape future actions The Ascension signed up to Eco Church.
Just a few of their achievements include:
- Small actions, which if carried out collectively would have a real impact: buying Ecover products; charging phones during the day, rather than leaving them on charge all night; composting; growing vegetables and recycling
- Gardening projects to tidy the frontage of the church, removal of railings, retaining the trees which produce berries which birds love
- A recent Church Council meeting agreed to purchase supplies in line with their values, even though it may be financially challenging.
- Cycling is encouraged (pic: Heather Holmes) - their vicar is often seen cycling around the parish.
Power for Good Co-operative Limited
CofE Birmingham supports this ecumenical initiative to raise the funding to install solar panels on church, vicarage and other associated buildings. Panels have been installed on the roof at St Andrew’s West Bromwich, resulting in 30% lower energy bills during the first financial year. Others have been installed: St Richard’s Lea Hall and the New Life Baptist Church in Kings Heath. All three churches are benefiting from lower electricity bills, and lower carbon footprints as a result.
Power for Good is a community benefit society, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and so is able to raise the capital for installations from community shares, using the same model as employed by other community energy societies, specifically for places of worship. For more information, please email.
Activities and achievements at St Peter, Maney
From installing energy efficient light bulbs in the church and solar panels on the church roof, to starting the drafting that led to the Climate Emergency Motion at Diocesan Synod; and the diocese action plan for net carbon zero, St Peter Maney are proud to have been awarded the Eco Church Gold Award.
Just a few more of their achievements include:
- In collaboration with Oxford diocese, Eco Maney put forward a proposal for disinvestment of CofE funds in fossil fuel companies, a motion eventually accepted by General Synod
- Hosted an aluminium waste recycling service for the congregation
- Have regular working Garden Parties to keep the church grounds tidy and ecologically diverse
- Involved in Sutton Coldfield in Bloom 2018
Carbon ‘Net Zero’
Baddesley Clinton church is a small parish church in rural West Midlands. It has only an electrical supply with neither gas nor water.
The PCC at St Michael’s has been working to reduce electricity consumption. In 2018, a more efficient electric under-pew fan system was installed and all light bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs. The reduction in consumption has been dramatic, a 50% reduction in two years. All their electricity is now supplied from renewable sources, compared to the UK average of 49% and so is carbon free.
Although it is not possible to reduce their remaining emissions much further, they can offset it. They chose Climate Stewards to help with this by taking a payment and then applying it to one or more projects which are certified to reduce carbon emissions either in the UK or other countries.
Find out more on carbon offsets here.
The ECO journey of Christ Church Selly Park
From installing a large array of solar panels on the church roof together with a battery storage system and water hippos to reduce water usage, Christ Church are proud to have been awarded The ECO Church Bronze Award. They now are well on the way to achieving a silver.
Just a few of their achievements include:
- Encouraged a move towards using environmentally friendly cleaning products and other consumables in church
- Partnered with the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife trust who have given seeds mixed hedgerow saplings planted around the boundary fences at the rear of the church
- Partnered with Scouts to provide a crisp packet recycling centre for the community
- Held a ’left over’ lunch to highlight the problem with waste food
- Are consulting with Stirchley Fruit & Nut Village seeking advice on the planting of fruit trees on land at the church
Zero Carbon House
John Christophers is an architect who worships at St Paul’s Balsall Heath. He designed and built the first retrofit zero carbon house in the UK. He and his wife Jo have also taken part in activities of Extinction Rebellion.
John said: “If we see all God’s creation as our sister and our brother, rather than as mere resources, then we will want to protect rather than exploit.”
Read more about John's zero carbon house here.