Our May meeting was addressed by Mike Perry, an A Rocha / Eco Church voluntary speaker and Environmental Advisor for the Salisbury diocese. Mike had been a biological researcher, with a deep love of the natural world, who was later ordained into the Anglican Church.
A Rocha, from the Portuguese, means ‘The Rock’. It was founded in 1999 and is an international organisation which promotes green and sustainable living. Mike spoke about the Eco Church scheme, how churches using the programme are engaging with the community and how the Eco Church tool can be used by secular community groups to engage people in the local community to work together.
A phrase our speaker used was ‘Creation Care’. God’s Creation, in all its infinite variety, includes humanity, whose existence depends on the natural world. As Christians, we are motivated by our Christian Faith to care for it. In addition to ensuring church buildings are as green as practically possible (not an easy task given the old fabric of many buildings), churches develop a range of initiatives, including litter picks, staging Green Fayres, and the provision of allotments and an Eco Lodge.
Our speaker demonstrated examples of community-based projects, both at home and around the world which are scientifically rigorous and beneficial to both the natural environment and the people who live there. In Bradford on Avon, Holy Trinity and the Quaker Meeting are registered Eco Churches and the United Church is working towards becoming one. In addition, Bath and Wells Diocese includes a hundred vicarages which are fitted with solar panels.
Mike Perry gave us an inspiring and hopeful account of progress being made towards a greener world, thanks to the Eco Church initiative under the international umbrella of A Rocha.