Examples of Creation Care

Below are some examples of how Parishes across Birmingham have been caring for God's creation.

Oasis Animal Encounters

 

Holy Hedgehogs

This is one of the rescue hedgehogs being delivered by the volunteer from Snuffles, the local hedgehog rescue centre.

Two have been released this summer, a male and a female: Kristina and John are hoping there will be more hoglets appearing this year! Not least because hedgehogs are disappearing from the wild at an alarming rate. They have made their rectory garden as hedgehog friendly as possible

Hedgehog held in gloved hand

 

Kristina and John at the Rectory in Holy Trinity, Sutton Coldfield, started feeding hedgehogs in their garden 2 years ago, so successfully that they have now been chosen by their local hedgehog rescue centre to be a site for release of some of their rescued hogs! This picture shows one of the hedgehogs who has figured out that by coming out early in the evening it gets first go at the food: chicken cat food, sunflower seeds and mealworms.

Hedgehog in garden eating from a plate

 

Power for Good Co-operative Ltd

The diocese is well represented on this ecumenical initiative to install solar panels on church roofs.  And the board of directors meet in the diocesan offices.
Panels have been installed on the roof at St Andrew’s West Bromwich as pictured above; they resulted in 30% less energy bills during a financial year which ended in September 2019. Others have been installed St Richard’s Lea Hall and the New Life Baptist Church in Kings Heath.  All three churches are benefiting from lower electricity bills as a result.

The money for the work was raised from shareholders who invested in the expectation of a benefit for the community, rather than a personal return.  The now ended Feed in Tariff regime will enable the co-op to repay the investors at the end of the twenty year life of the project.  The investors come from all over England. Those interested in buying shares are asked to contact PfG so that they can be told as and when a share offer is to be made.          

   

St Peter, Maney: Activities and Achievements

  • Our Environment Group led a successful project to install solar panels on the Church roof, which are now generating significant power and reducing our electricity bills.

  • In collaboration with Oxford diocese Eco Maney put forward a proposal for disinvestment of C of E funds in fossil fuel companies, a motion eventually accepted by General Synod following the Transition Pathway Initiative.

  • Hosted an aluminium waste recycling service for the congregation before this was offered by Birmingham City Council.

  • We have regular working Garden Parties to keep our Church grounds not just tidy but ecologically diverse.

  • Raised funds to install energy efficient light bulbs in the Church.

  • In September 2017 we encouraged members of St Peter's congregation to complete a carbon footprint lifestyle audit as part of Creationtide. We were delighted with the response as over 50 people participated.  We use Lent as another time at which to offer green ideas to the comgregation.

  • Involved in Sutton Coldfield in Bloom 2018 by organising our own 'Maney in Bloom' events, supported by the Town Council. We have carried out a litter pick of the streets surrounding the Church and are planning on brightening up the Church environment with several planters.

  • In 2019 we started the drafting that led to the Climate Emergency Motion at Diocesan Synod; and the diocese action plan for net carbon zero.

In recognition of these achievements and others, we are proud to have been awarded the Eco Church Silver Award.

 

Carbon ‘Net Zero’ in 2019

With thanks to Baddesley Clinton Church Magazine and to the author Will Davies
Baddesley Clinton church is a small parish church in rural West Midlands located a short walk from the National Trust property of the same name.  It has only an electrical supply with neither gas nor water. 

The PCC at St Michael’s has been working to reduce electricity consumption. In early 2018, we replaced the old ‘tubular’ electric heating system by a more efficient electric under-pew fan system which also required less time to heat the church.  Later all the electric light bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs thanks to a generous donation. The reduction in consumption has been dramatic – 2017: 4,850 kWh; 2018: 3,379 kWh; 2019: 2,373 kWh; a 50% reduction in two years. All our electricity is now supplied from renewable sources, compared to the UK average of 49% and so is Carbon free.

The Birmingham Diocesan Synod resolved on 16 November 2019 to target ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest. This prompted the PCC to think about our remaining emissions. For us these arise mainly from car travel by the congregation coming to church, and the clergy and lay persons who make the church function. These include trades people who come to the church and the company who mow the churchyard.  We also calculated how much paper we use and the associated emissions. The total came to 3.5 tonnes of CO2.

It is not possible for us to reduce this much further, but we can offset it. There are organisations who will do this by taking a payment and then applying it to one or more projects which are certified to reduce Carbon emissions either in the UK or other countries.  The key is to make sure the organization is certified in some way.  We chose Climate Stewards whose certificate is pictured here. 
Now the next tasks are to maintain or improve on 2019 and get a better understanding of the options to offset our net carbon footprint for 2020.

Find out more on carbon offsets here. 

 

The ECO Journey of Christ Church Selly Park

Christ Church began their ECO journey in early 2019 by installing a large array of solar panelson the church roof together with a battery storage system.  They followed this followed shortly after by registering on the ECO church scheme and later in the year achieving the bronze ECO church award.  They now are well on the way to achieving a silver award.

On their journey so far they have 

  • Sought to bless the community by making the frontage of the church more beautiful planting wild life friendly plants that should provide year round interest and food for pollinators
  • Installed water hippos to reduce water usage
  • Encouraged a move towards using environmentally friendly cleaning products and other consumables in church
  • Reduced the amount of paper being used in the office
  • Partnered with the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife trust who have given seeds and some 200 mixed hedgerow saplings planted around the boundary fences at the rear of the church. 
  • Partnered with Scouts to provide a crisp packet recycling centre for the community.
  • Held a ’left over’ lunch to highlight the problem with waste food,
  • Had a speaker from A Rocha.
  • Are consulting with Stirchley Fruit & Nut Village seeking advice on the planting of fruit trees on land at the church.
  • Their lunch club now compost vegetable peelings and the slopes of the mound are being managed as a 'wildflower meadow'.
  • The Beaver group has built a bug hotel and planted planters, deliberately placed to protect the grass from being driven on.
  • After 15 months of use the solar panel system has generated 19,056 Units (KWh) of power saving around 11,000KG of carbon.

 
Zero Carbon House

Designed and lived in by John Christophers.

Photo if John Christophers

A quote from John:

“I’ve been interested in environmental issues all my adult life. When I was in my twenties, I worked in Africa doing low cost self-build housing. Coming back, I became aware that development issues and global issues were linked not so much to policies in Africa but to a lack of understanding back in the UK etc.

And it seemed to me at the time – I’m talking about the eighties – that green issues, which were often regarded as fringe issues then, were in fact very central issues to a global outlook.

So those issues have been very important to me since. If we see all God’s creation as our sister and our brother, rather than as mere resources, then we will want to protect rather than exploit.”

John is a member of the congregation of the United Church of St Paul's Balsall Heath which has gained a silver Eco Church award.