Article by Marion Oakes, Parish Environment Champion at St Mary’s Monkseaton
Taking care of God’s Creation is an integral part of Christian life and environmental issues are an established part of ministry and mission.
At St Mary’s we are aiming to reduce our environmental impact and become net zero carbon by 2030. At the end of 2019, we joined the Eco Church programme.
In 2015 we completed a redevelopment programme, which addressed several major issues. Works included a new heating system, LED lighting and water saving toilets, which have since been part of the twinning programme. Wood from removed oak choirstalls was repurposed into a new alter, lectern and various areas of panelling and shutters.
Several groups and individuals continue to work towards our eco goals. We have completed an eco-survey, implemented an Environmental Policy, completed an energy audit and moved to green energy suppliers. We have started to reduce paper, chemicals and plastic usage and widely encourage the use of Fairtrade and eco-friendly products in church.
In November 2021 we achieved our bronze Eco Church award. As we go forward, we are focusing on some of the eco-survey and the energy audit suggestions. We have a grounds redevelopment project planned which will incorporate several eco-friendly ideas, and we intend to make the outside space at St Mary’s as much of a community asset as the inside.
To encourage individual involvement in all things eco, a ‘Pledge and Prayer tree’ is available in church. Anyone can write a personal commitment that will help reduce their carbon footprint and can offer much needed prayers, for those affected by the present climate emergency.
Above: The Pledge and Prayer tree has seen people write personal commitments to reduce their carbon footprint