Holy Trinity Blacon is celebrating after being awarded a Bronze Eco Church award by the Christian environmental charity A Rocha.
The award is largely thanks to the hard work of their eco-champions, mother and daughter Tricia and Neive Hughes.
The Revd Tina Upton, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, says: “We are delighted to have received this Bronze Award. We are very fortunate to have such passionate and effective eco-champions in Neive and Tricia, and we would not have this award were it not for their hard work. We wonder whether, at 11 years old, Neive is the youngest Eco-Champion in the diocese?”
Neive and Tricia Hughes
Neive is a pupil in year 7 of Blacon High School and is passionate about the environment. She says: “For as long as I can remember I’ve been worried about our planet, the oceans, and land. We have been given a beautiful place to live and we don’t look after it. People are hurting God’s earth and everything in it. We can change that and save our world before it is too late.
"For the last year, I have been investigating and trying new ways in how I make a difference, I have been nominated as the church Eco-Champion and encourage you where possible to do your bit to save the planet while we still can."
We asked mum Tricia what it was they did to achieve the Bronze Award and what challenges they had to overcome. She said: "We had a fair amount of eco-friendly activities and opportunities already taking place, but being questioned about them [as part of the A Rocha Eco-Church survey] made it possible to identify gaps and the areas we could improve.
"One of the challenges we faced was recognising that while change was essential it would need to be gradual. By being patient and changing small things one at a time, the overall picture changed.
"If another church was considering the process I'd offer the following advice: find someone like our young Eco-Champion who has a heart for genuinely preserving the planet; be patient and kind to yourselves knowing that the most important step is the first one; and get people involved."
How Eco-Church works
Eco-Church is an environment scheme from Christian charity A Rocha. Churches complete the unique online Eco Survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. The answers a church provides contribute towards an Eco Church Award.
There are plenty of free resources from A Rocha, giving churches lots of support and advice about how to make the changes needed to become an Eco Church.
There are three levels of Eco Church Award – Bronze, Silver, and Gold. In order to qualify for an Award, churches must attain the required standard in each of the areas covered by the Eco Survey.
Find out more on the A Rocha website.
In spring 2021, Bishop's Council stated its intent to work towards Eco-Diocese status.
To achieve Bronze, Silver, and Gold status, the diocese must fulfill a set of agreed activities. This includes providing details of local churches that have registered their intent to work towards Eco Church status.
Bishop Mark said at the time: "We took an important decision that we're going to aim to be registered as an Eco-Diocese. That matters to me at a personal level, as well as at an institutional level as a Church.
"The scientific evidence that we are doing damage to our ecology, I think, is just really clear, and we have a responsibility to work together to leave a good planet for those who come after us. Wherever you are, there are little things you can do which invest in the environment, and, together we can do really big things."
What are you doing for the planet?
A new video resource has been sent to all Church schools to help start a conversation about the small things we can do in our everyday lives to help protect the planet from environmental damage.
Access the video on YouTube here
Download the follow-up activities here