Eco Church Update – Summer 2024

At St Mary’s, the church community has long been committed to creation care through deliberate strategies to maintain our beautiful rural churchyard sensitively. More recently the main responsibility has fallen to the LOTS team but others, the Wild Church families and Sunday Club past and present, and the congregation have also been involved. In 2022, our efforts were recognised and rewarded by the local Wildlife Trusts with their Bronze Award (and we are close to applying for the silver award).

We have also been recognised by a Bronze Award from A Rocha proudly displayed on our noticeboard in the Cabin and have recently applied for the silver award.

A Rocha awards are slightly different and use the following headings:

  • our worship and teaching
  • our building
  • our land
  • our community and global engagement
  • and our lifestyle


Over recent months we have been auditing our current situation across the five areas. This has helped us: (i) to highlight those areas where we are already doing well as a church, and (ii) to identify other areas we need to work on. 

The good news is that in three of the five key areas we are currently auditing, we are already doing well as a church (scoring at Gold level on Worship and Teaching, Land, and Community and Global Engagement).

The two areas where we need to do some further work are Lifestyle and Buildings.


Over the coming weeks we will be thinking and sharing more in our worship and life together about ways we can improve our lifestyle audit – as individuals, families and as a church.


We know that many in our congregation already make a wide range of lifestyle choices that reflect personal commitment to environmental care and concern – whether it’s in relation to sustainable travel, or careful recycling, or reducing plastic, or creating a wild space in their garden, or purchasing fairly traded products, or volunteering for local projects…. the list goes on! Let’s share ideas and go on encouraging one another in this venture.

Our Hardwick EcoChurch project is intended as a whole church initiative designed to help us all live more faithfully and lightly on the earth as God’s people, and at the same time convey a message of hope to and for the world. We can all be involved in small and larger ways, so please do join in!

This initiative is about a whole church commitment to making St Mary’s care for world even better, a world which God created and sustains in love.

If you have any questions or concerns, then please don’t hesitate to discuss them with Clare, Chris or Peter.

As we work towards our Silver Eco Church award, below are some ideas about how we can all become more eco-friendly, at church and at home.

How much energy do we use? What steps can we take to reduce our energy consumption?

• Undertake a personal carbon footprint audit

• Switch off lights and plugs

• Reduce heating thermostat by 2 degrees

• Use energy efficient light bulbs

• Close windows and doors properly to prevent drafts

• Wear another layer of clothing

Plastics, Paper, Glass and Food waste: Reduce. Recycle. Reuse.

• Recycle all our plastics, paper, glass and food waste at home and at church

• Reduce amount of plastic we use

• Use a re-usable water bottle

• Use a re-usable box for snacks and lunches

• Reuse junk for craft activities

What small, good things can we do to make a big difference?

• Plant insect friendly flowers and wildflowers

• Plant more trees

• Mow less often

• Recycle and reuse as much as possible

• Compost food waste

• Reuse rain water

• Grow our own fruit and vegetables

• Pick up litter

• Consider making ethical investments with our personal savings

• Consider making ethical decisions when buying food, drink and clothing

Some other useful resources:

Useful links for saving money on energy, going green, etc:

Links to the Church of England’s Guidance on Churchyard Management:

Caring for God’s Acre

Churchyard Wildlife

A list of flowers found in St Mary’s Churchyard is available here.