Church in Wales achieves Gold ‘Eco Church’ Award: St Peter’s Church in Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, near Ruthin, has become the first church from Wales to achieve a coveted “Gold” Eco-Church award.
The award which recognizes churches that are tackling the climate and biodiversity crises with excellent environmental practices, is a reflection of St. Peter’s church’s dedication to working in harmony with nature and placing creation care at the center of all that they do.
To assist in getting to the top level, St. Peter’s converted its churchyard into a welcoming green environment to encourage nature and biodiversity. To do this, they sowed wildflower seeds, installed bird boxes, and a bug hotel, and created a labyrinth area with a bench and room for silent reflection.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, young people in the church started gathering around the fire pit, sitting on repurposed wooden pallets. Two altar tables for outdoor service have been crafted out of fallen trees. Father Huw Bryant, one of the vicars, who happened to be a former forester was thrilled to clear the cobwebs from the chainsaw in his shed.
“Getting the Gold award has been a real journey that began with opening up our churchyard, getting the local community and school involved in planting bulbs and wildflowers, and creating new spaces as a sanctuary for both wildlife and people.” Rev Bryant said. “But it developed into so much more than that, from making sure our energy supplies are from renewable green sources to finding environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.”
The church used an easy online tool to measure its own carbon footprint. They also encouraged the community to live out their faith by reducing their own consumption and taking little steps to help the environment- from car-sharing to taking part in no-mow-May.
Congratulating the church on their achievement, Delyth Higgins, Eco Church Officer for Wales said: “Everything about their approach sets them out as an exemplar of what it means to be a gold-awarded church. They are an important part of a close rural community in northeast Wales where what they do rubs off on others around them and there is great teamwork evident here.” She added that another positive impact of the church’s efforts was increasing attendance: “It is encouraging to hear that they have been blessed with growing numbers and much of this is down to their practical activity outside – caring for creation and providing lovely spaces for people to meet and contemplate.”