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Diocesan Church House gains Bronze Eco Church award

Church House bug hotel

The Diocese of Sheffield’s Church House headquarters has been given a Bronze Eco Church award, following efforts to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The A Rocha Eco Church survey demonstrated this in our care of the Building and Land, and in Worship and Teaching. The leadership team committed to being an Eco Church, and worship and prayers at Church House include praying for environmental issues. Bishop Pete marked the Season of Harvest and Creationtide at the Eucharist held there last October, preaching on Luke 12.13-21.

The carbon footprint of the building has been calculated. There are solar panels and a renewable energy tariff, and full double glazing and some insulation help reduce the carbon footprint.  Dual flush toilets save water and there are energy saving bulbs.  Finally, the land around church house has a hedge with native plants near the river, where a kingfisher was spotted! On 3 May the team installed a hedgehog home, bird boxes and a bug hotel, and will keep encouraging wildlife and continue the Eco Church journey in the Building and Worship taking place at Church House.

Diocesan Environment Officer Dr Cathy Rhodes said:

‘I am delighted to see that Church House has received a Bronze Eco Church award. To work towards the Silver award we’ll keep praying for creation and climate justice in the worship there as well as taking further steps in the building and on the land. I’m especially grateful to Michael Lindley, our Diocesan Surveyor who has supported a lot of this work and continues to do so. The work to show that Church House and people within it are prayerfully caring for God’s Creation can now be celebrated and will continue!’

Sheffield Diocese is working towards our Bronze Eco Diocese award, and this Bronze award for our Diocesan Office takes us one step closer. Eco Diocese work is extensive and includes commissioning Cathy and the Diocesan Environment Working Group (DEWG) to coordinate progress in the following areas. Our Environment and Climate Justice Policy commits us to take actions to love our neighbours as Jesus commanded us. The Net Zero Steering Group chaired by +Sophie is working on a plan for carbon reduction with our new Net Zero Project Officer David Castle. We’re blessed to have many local eco initiatives to celebrate in communications including our Eco Church Facebook group and the September 9th cathedral celebration (below). We’re working with our schools and other Dioceses, and we recently committed to continued divestment from fossil fuels and ethical investments. Work continues to embed environmental issues and caring for God’s Creation in the curricula of our ongoing ministerial education.

We now have an amazing 59 Registered Eco Churches throughout the Diocese, meaning 30% of our churches are Eco Churches! Those 59 churches have 24 awards:  16 Bronze, seven Silver and one Gold, so 12% of churches in our Diocese have an award. These numbers and the work above mean we can now apply to be a Bronze Eco Diocese. Cathy and the DEWG send heartfelt thanks and prayers to all the church communities who have committed to Eco Church despite recent very challenging times.

The awards include a recent well-deserved Bronze award for Sheffield Cathedral! The cathedral will host our Eco Church Celebration on a Heritage Open Day: Saturday 9 September from 11am – 3pm. This includes a 2pm service with Bishop Pete, Rev Lucy Foster (A Rocha Eco Church officer for the North of England) and the Steel City choristers. All are welcome to come for a celebration of God’s creation and our Eco Churches, with activities for all the family, singing and drumming workshops. There are loads of great stalls from our partners including the Wildlife Trust, Green Christian, the Good Taste Fairtrade shop, and A Rocha who can advise on your Eco Church journey.

Details here or email Please share this invitation with others in your church community. All welcome!