Methodist churches around the country now have embraced a project that encourages churches to focus on the environment and take action in their buildings, churchyards, worship and community groups.
The project named “Eco- Congregation” is developed from a partnership between the Government funded environmental charity ENCAMS (which runs the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign and the Going for Green brand) and the Environmental Issues Network of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
A wide variety of denominations are drawn to participate, including the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, United Reform Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain and so on. The project has inspired the churches to consider environmental issues within a Christian context and enable them to make positive contributions in their life and mission.
The Bible tells us the amazing message- God created this beautiful universe and entrusted it in the hands of man to manage it. The Methodist Church believes that mission includes ‘caring for the earth’, and an objective of the Methodist Church Environment Policy, says Ruby Beech, Co-ordinating Secretary for Human and Financial Resources, is to “encourage us to take seriously our responsibility as co-partners in the on-going creative and renewing activity of God."
Evesham Methodist Church in Worcestershire was the first church in the country to receive the eco-congregation award, and they continue to set an example through strict recycling practises. Their ‘Green Apostle’, Graham Gooderham, explained one of their most wacky initiatives, “We even recycle broken biscuits that get dropped on the floor at our twice weekly toddlers group - as we overlook the river Avon, and they go to feed the ducks and swans.”
Unwanted computers are taken to Saffron Walden Methodist Church in Essex. The recycled computer will be used to supports established and registered training centres and selected NGO's in many African countries with computer equipment. Two or three computers are collected each month.
The history of Eco- Congregation is started from September 2000 as a dedication service of Pilot Study was held at St Paul’s Cathedral involving churches from across Britain and Ireland. A tree was planted in the churchyard to mark the occasion. The ecumenical service was led by senior church leaders and included a sermon preached by the Bishop of London. Till now, over 200 churches are participating.