St Mary’s Church in Beaminster has been awarded a Gold Eco Church award.
This is only the twelfth such award in England and Wales and St Mary’s is the first church to receive this award in the Diocese of Salisbury. Eco Church is an A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.
The award comes after three years of sustained effort by St Mary’s Eco Committee which included a change to more environmentally friendly heating, ECO events, litter picking, toilet twinning, and even a plan to be zero carbon by 2030.
The driving force behind the work is Dr Gill Perrott who signed up the parish and church for the ECO Church scheme.
Revd Canon David Baldwin said, “I’d like to congratulate Gill and all her team on this fantastic achievement. As our local eco warrior she has changed not only the Church but also our whole way of life in Beaminster. We are now more fully active stewards of God’s creation.”
On hearing the Church and its churchyard had been given Gold status Gill said, “I am really delighted and want to give a big thank you to the ECO Church team for their support and hard work in achieving the Gold Eco Award. I am also grateful to our long-suffering church members who have put up with my pleas for Eco items and projects.”
The only other Gold award winner in the Diocese is the Dorset Franciscan community at Hilfield Friary. Over 70 other churches in the Diocese have Bronze and Silver awards.
Congratulating St Mary’s the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam (Bishop of Salisbury) said, “I am delighted that St Mary’s Beaminster is the first parish church in the Diocese to achieve Eco Church’s Gold Award. It joins Hilfield Friary which was the very first in the country to receive this award. It’s an encouragement to all of us aiming for the Church of England’s target to achieve Net Zero by 2030 and to live more lightly on the face of God’s earth.”
David Morgan, Chair of the Diocesan Environmental Group welcomed the award, “This has been an excellent sustained effort by a team led by Gillian Perrott and supported by the Rector David Baldwin. I have been particularly impressed with their engagement with the local community on green activities as well as their willingness to assist other parishes in the Deanery. Well done St Mary’s.”
In making the award, the A Rocha assessors said, “It was wonderful to hear how deeply embedded your church is in your local community; with strong links to your local MP and local council too. It is so clear that your church mission is outward looking and serving the community as well as forward looking and that is reflected in each of the survey categories too. Thank you for sharing so many inspiring examples; we took particular note of your tree planting endeavours especially as an example of great community networking and as an illustration of the link between involvement and mission.”
For more information About Eco church visit https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/