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Creation Care updates Summer 2022

Over the last few months, you might have heard talk of ‘Creation Care’. This is a means of thinking about all the ways that, as a community and as individuals, we can respond to our call to care for all of God’s creation.

In that time, we’ve had a couple of gatherings of people particularly interested in this work, as well as discussions in other small groups and committees. These have helped both to identify what we’re already doing – you might have read about our existing progress installing swift boxes, expanding our use of LED lighting or establishing a wildflower area outside church – and also to generate lots of new ideas.

These existing actions, and more, contributed to the bronze ‘Eco Church’ award we achieved last year – but if we can embed thinking about care for creation throughout the work of St Andrew’s, then we can do so much more. Our ambition is to improve what we do across all of the areas the award covers – in time, aiming for the gold level in them all! Not because we want a Gold Award (although that will be nice) but because it’s the right thing to do.

One of the bigger and more technical areas we’re considering is the direct carbon impact of our buildings – benchmarking and mapping our current energy usage allows us to understand the steps we might take to mitigate it. We’re grateful to those who have diligently kept the records that give us good data to start from; there’s not space for the details here (do get in touch if you’d like to know more) but it’s clear that the emissions from gas heating are likely to be our biggest challenge in this area.

Another challenge is looking at our waste – working out how we can reduce our consumption of all sorts of ‘stuff’, and ensure what we do need is reused or recycled wherever possible. We’ve made a great start here, with some early work mapping different sorts of waste and options for good disposal, as well as starting to understand our current position, but are looking for more volunteers to get involved in this strand and the small practical changes we’ll need – let me or Lucy know if that might be you!

But of course, some changes are even more straightforward – we’ve recently sourced recycled paper towels for the toilets and are investigating ‘twinning’ our toilets with those in vulnerable communities overseas. During our centenary weekend, care was taken to minimise our use of disposable items. Small changes such as these are happening not because they were on a creation care list, or a master action plan, but because people saw a chance to improve something, and took it.

So while I’m hugely impressed and thankful by the enthusiasm, hard work and thought that some skilled people are showing in tackling some of the bigger challenges (like our gas usage), I’m perhaps more encouraged by those small changes. I know individuals will continue to see opportunities to make positive changes at church (or at home). In many cases, you’ll just be able to get on and do stuff – so please do grasp the nettle and get on with it - and then let us know so we can pass on good ideas that others may not have thought of, and celebrate with you!

Alistair Sutcliffe

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