There are many ways in which the Diocese of Winchester are making progress towards becoming greener and more sustainable. Here are some of them…
Winchester Green Week, which aims to promote the message that a sustainable future can be created by all of us growing greener together, took place 23 September – 1 October 2023. This was a week of events for everyone, organised by local communities, environmental groups, educational institutions, faith groups, local authorities and businesses in the Winchester District.
On Saturday 23rd September, 50 Christians from local churches took part in a protest, starting with an act of prayer and worship at St Luke’s Church on Grange Park, before walking to St John’s Church, via the Hedge End centre shops. The walk gathered people from all faiths and none and was to highlight the ‘Make Polluters Pay’ day of action, a campaign which aims to put pressure on the government to make the big fossil fuel companies pay, as they have promised, into the fund to help those most affected by climate change.
We are called, as Christians, to care for the wondrous creation God has provided. For those responsible for churchyards and other shared spaces, this often means encouraging biodiversity, creating a haven for wildlife such as butterflies and bumblebees. In our diocese, an example of a church embracing this diversity is St Peter and St Paul, Kings Somborne. Parishioners decided to undertake a Wildflower Meadow Trial, despite a few initial reservations.
To mark The Great Big Green Week 2023, St Mary’s Bishopstoke hosted an eco event for their community, with speakers discussing renewable energy, care of land for wildlife, and conserving bird species. There were also various stalls, as well as opportunities to plant, make leaf prints and do a nature trail treasure hunt.
The Big One, an opportunity for people across the country to demand the end of the fossil fuel era, and a fair society that includes reparation, takes place outside Parliament each year. Many individuals across the diocese took this as an opportunity to present a united Christian act of witness for God’s creation.
The pupils and staff at St Mary’s Bentworth Church of England Primary School have been leading the way in the effort to reduce the carbon footprint of our diocese. The school has designated pupil ‘Eco Warriors’ who lead on several of the environmental projects, but ‘green themes’ run throughout each year group and the curriculum.
When the heating system at Saint Mark’s Church Kempshott was condemned as unsafe, the PCC decided to replace it with a new system using BioLPG rather than fossil fuels. The gas now used is made from a blend of waste residues and sustainably sourced materials, making it an environmentally friendly option, and means a reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 85%.
Winchester Cathedral held a Rally for the Earth as part of their Harvest Celebrations, with guest speaker Professor Robert Beckford, scholar-activist and Director of the Institute for Climate and Social Justice at Winchester University. At the centre of the Rally was a ‘Burning Bush’ installation that was lit during the event as those gathered made pledges and prayers to live more sustainably on the earth.
In Winchester Diocese 66 parishes (out of 255) now have an Eco Church award – and the number is growing every month. There 2 golds, 20 silver and 44 bronze!
The number of parishes with Eco Church awards is steadily increasing each year.
Here’s the Full List of Churches and Their Awards – Congratulations to Them All!
|St Thomas’, Lymington
|University of Winchester Chapel
|St John’s, Rownhams
|All Saints, North Baddesley
|St Lawrence, Winchester
|St Mary’s, Andover
|St Leonard’s, Oakley
|All Saints, Basingstoke
|St Luke’s, Hedge End
|St Luke’s, Sway
|St Paul’s, Tadley
|St Saviour’s, Brockenhurst
|St Luke’s, Bournemouth
|St Mary’s, Tadley
|St Michael’s, Quarley
|Christ Church, Winchester
|St John the Evangelist, Northington
|St Alban’s Church, Bournemouth
|St Mary’s, Old Basing
|Ascension Church, Southampton
|St James’, West End
|St John the Evangelist Hartley Wintney
|St Barnabas, Winchester
|St Leonard’s, Sherfield on Loddon
|St Peter & St Paul’s, King’s Somborne
|St Mary, Longstock
|St. Leonard’s and St. Paul’s, Bursledon
|All Saint’s, Fawley
|St Andrews, Owslebury
|St Andrew’s, Timsbury
|St Boniface, Chandler’s Ford
|Saint Martin in the Wood, Chandler’s Ford
|All Saints’, Hordle
|St Paul’s, Throop
|St Mary’s, Hale
|St Mary’s, Breamore
|Holy Trinity, Colden Common
|St John the Evangelist, Hook
|St Thomas of Canterbury, Tangley
|Christ Church, Hatherden
|St Thomas’, Charlton
|Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Bramdean
|St John’s, Moordown
|St Peter’s, Yateley
|St Mary’s, Sholing
|St Mary’s, Bishopstoke
|St Mary’s, Twyford
|All Saints, Winchester
|St Mary’s, Overton
|Highfield Church (Christ Church Portswood)
|St Peter’s, Hurstbourne Tarrant
|Parish of the Resurrection, Alton
|All Hallows, Whitchurch
|St Catherine’s, Littleton
|St Mary the Virgin, Eling
|St John the Baptist, Alresford
|St Mark’s, Pennington
|St Boniface, Woodgreen
|St Mark’s, Kempshott
|St Swithun’s (LoveChurch), Bournemouth
|St James by the Park, Shirley
|All Saints, Milford on Sea
|St Peter’s, St Mary Bourne
|St Michael & All Angels, West Andover
|St Mary’s, Kings Worthy
|St Christopher’s, Thornhill
|St Paul’s, Winchester
|All Saints’, Hook