As Eco Church spreads around the world, it is taking different forms and sometimes different names in varying contexts. However, at the heart of Eco Church is a unique online survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. The answers a church provide earn points towards an Eco Church Award – the more your church does, the more points you get!
The survey covers all areas of church life:
If your score doesn’t gain you an Eco Church Award straight away don’t worry – the idea is to complete further actions in order to gain the points necessary for an Award. For example, you can use green energy in your church building, plant flowers or vegetables in church grounds, and teach creation care in Sunday School.
Free Eco Church resources give lots of support and advice about how to make the changes your church needs to become an Eco Church. Eco Church can be used alongside A Rocha’s environmental education resources.
There are three levels of Eco Church Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Once an Award is confirmed, depending on your country, you may receive a certificate and (optional) plaque from A Rocha UK to mark your achievement.
In the UK, the vision through Eco Church is to create a vast network of churches across England and Wales as local centres of creation care in the community – shining beacons of hope for a brighter environmental future. The scheme is now run in partnership with Christian Aid, The Church of England, The Methodist Church, Tearfund, The United Reformed Church and Allchurches Trust Limited.
Follows the success of the Eco Church award scheme pioneered by A Rocha UK, which now has around 3,000 churches registered, A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand has begun welcoming churches to their Eco Church NZ network. Whilst the schemes differ slightly, the ethos behind them is the same: to support churches to actively care for God’s earth as an integral part of their mission. A Rocha Aotearoa NZ have articulated this as a response to ‘three biblical challenges’:
In partnership with Para Kore, A Rocha Aotearoa NZ has also launched a Zero Waste programme, which supports churches to reduce their waste through training workshops, resources and waste audits.
Église Verte, a joint national initiative of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical churches, was launched in Paris in 2017. It has expanded to a broad range of partnerships. All church progress is acknowledged, from ‘Mustard Seed’ for setting up a steering group, to ‘Cedar of Lebanon’ for major compliance in all areas of the eco-questionnaire – including helping other communities become Églises Vertes themselves. It is a practical tool for Christian communities to embark on a process of ecological conversion, with variations for different groups, including for groups of young people at college-high school level.