New Speak Out video shows how churches Care for Creation

Church of Scotland congregations are stepping up to the challenge of caring for creation – in 280 different ways. That is the number of local congregations that have made the commitment to become an eco-congregation and who are contributing to the biggest community based environmental movement in Scotland.

Care for Creation
Mary Sweetland and other members of the congregation by the beehives at the community garden at Alexandria Parish Church. Photo: Adrian Shaw

The Glens and Kirriemuir Old Parish

The 280 ways we can care for creation include worship, practical action and advocacy. Rev. Malcolm Rooney, Minister of The Glens and Kirriemuir Old Parish leads worship and spiritual reflections on care for creation. He reflects:

“Is the history of Christianity one of cultivating and guarding the garden that God has given us or is it a history of exploitation, destruction and greed?

“In our prayers and in our thoughts may we take a few moments to reflect on where we stand: actively cultivating and guarding creation around us or exploiting and destroying it?

“The Lord God put man in the garden to cultivate and guard it. May we never cease to cultivate and guard God’s gift to humanity.”

Dalgety Parish Church

Play the video to see Michael Gourlay, designer of the Peace Garden at Dalgety Parish Church in Fife, tell us about his brilliant peace pole art project. This project at the church, which is an eco-congregation, gives us a glimpse of the range of environmental activities underway in churches.

Alexandria Parish Church

At Alexandria Parish Church in West Dunbartonshire Mary Sweetland and others in the congregation have been taking practical action by cultivating a garden; turning a plot of fallow ground behind the church into a resource for the community. With poly-tunnels, a community orchard and a bee-hive the garden has become a hub of gardening activity.

Wardie Parish Church

Advocacy is of increasing importance in many churches. Wardie Parish Church in Edinburgh, for example, has recently won an Eco-Congregation Scotland award for its environmental work. Heather McHaffie, a national expert on the wild flowers of Scotland who worked for many years at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, is a campaigner in the church. She said:

“We are working on Christian Aid's Big Shift Campaign which is designed to ask the big banks to start the transition from investing in polluting fossil fuels to investing in renewables in fulfillment of the Paris Agreement which the banks were supposed to have agreed to.

“We are signing a petition and on Palm Sunday people in the congregation will be invited to write on 'renewable money' what they are doing to reduce their carbon use (solar panels, riding a bike etc.) The 'money' will be stuck on a large paper Piggy Bank. Later some of us will take the pig to our local bank and hand in a polite letter asking for a plan to be started.”

Get involved!

These are just four examples out of the 280 ways parish churches around Scotland are caring for creation!

You can find out more about Speak out by visiting the Church and Society Council webpages: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/speak_out

Become an eco-congregation. Find out more here: http://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/

See photos from the Wardie Parish church event