Clitheroe church wins Gold Award

Clitheroe United Reformed Church on Castlegate have had their environmental efforts rewarded.
Clitheroe URC EcoChurch group on the day of inspectionClitheroe URC EcoChurch group on the day of inspection
Clitheroe URC EcoChurch group on the day of inspection

Clitheroe United Reformed Church Elders are delighted to announce that they have been successful in achieving an Eco Church Gold Award. They are the first church in the North West URC Synod to achieve this Gold Award, the 35th Gold Awarded Eco Church in England and Wales, and 4th United Reformed Church in England to be awarded, so quite an achievement.

The EcoChurch award scheme is run by A Rocha UK, a charity who support Christians and churches in England and Wales to protect and restore the environment. Participating churches complete a free online survey to assess care for the world through their worship and teaching, care of buildings and land, how the church engages with their local community and in global campaigns and in the personal lifestyles of the congregation. Churches who might be successful in achieving Gold, based on survey results, receive an inspection visit.

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The achievement of an EcoChurch Gold Award for Clitheroe URC has been a long journey since 2007, which predates any assessment or survey. It started with a wish to make the church more of a resource to the community, to become a ‘street level church’ as well as being more environmentally aware.

There is always a balance to be struck to ensure Clitheroe URC can continue to offer a useful community resource, and doing this in a way that limits damage to the environment. This required a lot of changes to the church building to improve the layout and reduce their carbon footprint and energy usage, including installation of double and triple glazing, some of which is locally made stained glass by ‘Lightworks’.

A more recent development is the wildlife garden, developed during lockdown in 2020 from wasteland. This wildlife space helps to offset some of their carbon footprint as well as aiming to increase biodiversity. A part of this garden is also used by Tom’s Table as a kitchen garden to organically grow salads and herbs for his restaurant.

On a day to day basis simple changes made were use of cleaning products which are environmentally friendly, selling locally produced organic food and/or Fairtrade goods for events, and being careful about recycling waste including composting of items.

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Caring for creation and considering their impact on nature and the planet features regularly in prayer and worship. Equally important to them is the work with the community, involvement of junior church and more recently Barrow URC School (the only URC school).

The church constantly considers stewardship of their land and buildings, wider local and global environment, and how they aim to live their lives to take care of our planet and everyone / everything that lives on it. Not an easy task and nobody is perfect, but they believe small changes do, and will continue to have a big impact.

At the inspection visit on June 8, Rose Gosling from A Rocha UK shared that her visit to Clitheroe URC “was very inspiring and that she enjoyed meeting a large and enthusiastic team, who had embedded environmental principles in everything that they do.”

Clitheroe EcoChurch group is made up of 10 people with additional members of the congregation also providing help when required. During their EcoChurch journey they have also appreciated the enthusiasm of their recently retired minister Rev Michele Jarmany, their NW Synod Green Apostle Rev Daleen ten Cate and Clitheroe URC congregation.