Learning to ‘sail your buildings’ at Eco Church Conference in Islington
Catherine Ross, Sustainability Officer for the Cloudesley charitable trust reports on a Eco Church conference held recently, in West Holloway. Cloudesley supports the Church of England churches in Islington, helping them to repair the buildings and maintain services within them.
People from around the south of England gathered at St Luke’s West Holloway on Saturday, for the latest London Eco Church conference.
This uplifting day, run by A Rocha and sponsored by Cloudesley, focused on church buildings. Ideas and examples were shared about how to make our buildings more sustainable and energy efficient, whilst keeping them comfortable for church users, and protecting or even enhancing their heritage.
There were also sessions on worshipping our creator God, a Lenten lifestyle, and fossil fuel free churches.
The opening session from Caroline Pomeroy, Director of Climate Stewards, painted a powerful picture of the critical issues at hand, from climate change to biodiversity loss. Caroline pointed to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events of all types all around the world. Human beings are said to be ‘stewards of the Earth’, put here by God ‘to work it and take care of it’ (Genesis 2.15). In this context, the role of Christians is vital.
Perhaps most inspiring was hearing from Deborah Colvin from London’s first Eco Church Gold award winner, St James Piccadilly. For over a decade, St James’s have gradually worked to make this busy city centre church more and more sustainable, cutting their carbon footprint significantly and then offsetting the remainder, to become carbon neutral. They have always aimed to inspire the many church users, for example with an art work inside the church, where an ice block dripped slowly into an oil drum throughout the Paris Climate Conference.
St James’s have even corporately joined Extinction Rebellion, the direct action group campaigning for massively heightened government action. Their pragmatic approach of “Do what you can, not what you can’t” is a useful reminder for us all.