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Eco Church Celebration: ‘Let’s not rest on our laurels’

Eco Church Celebration

Excitement is building for the Eco Church Celebration at Sheffield Cathedral, with those taking part eager to share good news stories from their own eco journeys.

The event, taking place on Saturday 9 September, is a celebration of God’s creation and the work done by our Eco Churches.

Margaret Ainger, on behalf of the Environment Group at St Mark’s Broomhill and Broomhall, says:

‘St Mark’s Church is delighted to be attending the Eco Diocese Celebration event. We achieved our Gold Award a few weeks ago and are very excited about being presented with the plaque by Bishop Pete. We have been very firmly commissioned NOT to rest on our laurels now but to put our experiences, learning and mistakes (!) at the service of other churches to provide what support and encouragement we can in their Eco church journey – which we are delighted to do.

‘This will also help us keep up a head of steam for projects and activities to continue and develop in our own path to Net Zero and to a community of faith capable of embracing a positive vision for the future.’

St Mark’s Church has been looking at ways to make visible their commitment to caring for God’s beautiful world and also to commemorate the Diamond Anniversary of the rebuilding of the church after the War. Using designs from the Creation series by designer Alex Beattie, they took on a church project to create tapestries. Each tapestry has been worked on in relays as a team to help bring people together. The set will hang in the church but can also be taken down to be used in children’s work and in visits to care homes.

The day at Sheffield Cathedral will start with an Eco Fair from 11am, with children’s crafts and activities available throughout and led by volunteers from the Cathedral and Centenary Project. Eight stalls are lined up from a mix of local secular and Christian groups with an interest in the environment and climate. In addition, we have a stall of Fair-Trade goods from Good Taste.

Representatives of St. Mark’s Broomhill, A Rocha UK, the Diocese of Sheffield and the National Environmental Teams will be on hand to provide information and advice to churches and individuals to support them on their Eco journeys.

Space for prayer and reflection will be led by members of the Cathedral Team, and a service of thanksgiving from 2-3pm will be led by Bishop Pete.

St Saviour’s Thurlstone will also be attending the Eco Church Celebration, as Churchwarden Margaret Crossland explains:

‘Our first ‘joy’ was receiving acknowledgement for what we were already doing! We’d been a Fairtrade church, used environmentally safe products, cultivated a Wildflower meadow, and regularly taught the importance of caring for God’s world for many years, so gaining a Bronze award didn’t need much tweaking!

‘Secondly, we took on a number of improvements towards our Silver attempt. Now we have recycled toilet paper and printer paper, (both British produced!), hedgehog boxes, a bird bath, bird feeders and a water butt donated and waiting to be connected! Our greatest joy comes from starting our Eco Kids, an after-school group of primary aged children, once a month. It is one of our favourite outreach opportunities and though small in numbers has brought us into good contact with children, parents and grandparents too.

‘We’re looking forward to celebrating on the 9th and especially keen to ask questions, especially of St. Mark’s! We’re hoping to find more inspiration for the way forward and have such a lot to be grateful for.’

Music Workshops will also be taking place during the day with the Steel City Choristers at 11.10am and 12pm. A piece of music will be prepared for participants to sing with members of Steel City Choristers in the service taking place from 2-3pm.

A flowers demonstration is also planned with arrangements from Jonathan Moseley, a regular on TV and described as one of the country’s most respected horticulturalists, with a reputation for being at the cutting edge of floristry. The demonstration will show examples of sustainable flower arrangements, with the hope this will appeal to flower arranging teams at churches as they look at more sustainable ways of working.

The Eco Church Celebration is free to attend. You can find out more information here.