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eco church certificate winchmore hill urcA national charity has recognised the progress made by the minister and congregation members at a Winchmore Hill church in reducing the environmental impact of the church's buildings and activities and of their lives.

In July Winchmore Hill United Reformed Church received a Bronze Eco Church Award from A Rocha, a charity whose goal is to mobilise Christians and churches in the UK to help protect and restore the natural world.

Eco Church awards are a recognition of how a church looks after its buildings and land; of how it engages with the local community and in global campaigns; and of the personal lifestyles of the congregation, as well as "how it expresses care for God’s world in worship and teaching".

Church Elder Andrea Latter says that being in lockdown was both a help and a hindrance:

"Lockdown gave us an opportunity to put time and money where our heart is and invest in a native wildlife patch, convert a significant number of light fittings to LED and install lighting controls, as well as to plan for some bigger changes in the coming months, like installing more double-glazing.

winchmore hill urc eco church team in wildflower garden

Some of Winchmore Hill URC’s Eco Church team in the wildflower garden

"The hardest part of the award to achieve during the pandemic has been the 'community involvement' section - as plans to organise a community eco event have had to be put on hold. But that makes us all the more eager to hear from other groups if they'd like to join with us and work together in improving our local environment."

Rev. Melanie Smith, the Minister at the Compton Road church, adds that the bronze level award is just the start of their green journey:

"We're already working on gaining the Silver Eco Church Award. Gaining bronze has energised us and will hopefully inspire other churches and places of worship locally to join us in working towards a more sustainable future. With the climate emergency, we need to ensure that it's not simply our words and prayers that appreciate God's beautiful creation, but that our actions back this up with making a lasting difference."

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