Christ Church ECO Congregation Award Aug 2011Christ Church, Weston Super Mare is awarded eco-congregation status.

Christ Church has joined the 200 churches, chapels and cathedrals in England and Wales that have achieved eco-congregation status. It is the first to do so among the 40 churches in its home town of Weston super Mare. The achievement is the culmination of three years effort by a small but determined eco-group (pictured right) backed by a supportive leadership and church membership of 240. The journey to the present stage began with a survey of church members. This had the twin aims of gaining an understanding of individual people’s views on the need to care for God’s creation and of finding out what practical efforts they were making both individually and as households to that end.

It ended with a formal application and the decision by the award organisers, the Christian conservation and environmental group A Rocha UK, to give Christ Church an unqualified award and a plaque to display in recognition. A Rocha said that the assessors had commended the way the project had involved a wide range of people. It liked the church’s action plan and recognised the struggle it continues to have with certain difficult issues such as heating. The main Christ Church building dates from 1855. Other actions that assessors highlighted included; the regular eco articles in the church magazine, the fact that Christ Church is a Fairtrade church and that there is a strong recycling ethos on the site. They were particularly impressed with the level of engagement across the church. Brian Kellock, who has chaired the eco group since it was formed three years ago, says: ‘Having an eco-worrier in the congregation is a good way to start. But it needs an enthusiastic team with differing gifts backed by a supportive congregation and leadership to make anything significant happen. Which is just what we have here at Christ Church.’ The award lasts for three years but Christ Church already has in place a carefully worked out programme to take it the next stage of the process and its next award. For more information about the Christ Church journey contact Brian Kellock. For more information about the Eco-congregation award scheme - click here.