From bricks to bats: church up for eco-award

A forward-looking church has been recognised for its eco-friendly efforts with a nomination for a prestigious environmental award.

The competition, which is run by the Church Times, sees Inverkip Parish Church in Inverclyde entered into the short-list for the annual Green Congregation Award. Three other churches across Europe are also in the same category.

Inverkip Church
Inverkip Church

Impressively the church's eco-group was only started a year ago, but now organise their own litter picks in the village and regularly support local beach clean-ups at Lunderston Bay.

From bricks to bats

They have promoted recycling used postage stamps, paper, bricks from a demolished outbuilding and even droppings from the 700 pipistrelle soprano bats which live in the church's roof.

A Fairtrade coffee morning was held with representatives from Home Energy Scotland, Inverclyde Council Recycling and Inverkip Primary School's Eco-group as guests.

The Sunday School and Youth Club have also been involved making bird boxes, bird feeders from recycled plastic bottles and even a 'bug hotel'.

Children planting flowers
Young people getting involved

Even the weekly order of service is now printed on environmentally friendly paper.

Hard work

Hilary Cameron, who is Inverkip's eco congregation convener said:

"'I am absolutely delighted we have been shortlisted for the Church Times Green Awards. The group is only just over a year old and we have achieved a lot in a short period of time and helped raise awareness of the importance of caring for God's creation, now and forever.

"I would like to thank the group for their hard work and the support we have received, especially from the Kirk Session, Property Group, Sunday School and Youth Club."

Ms Cameron came across the Church Times Green Awards by chance on social media and after discussion with other group members, decided to apply under the 'Green Congregation' category.

A picture of a so-called bug hotel
An Inverkip Church 'bug hotel'

Minister Rev Archie Speirs said: "I think it's really important that we're becoming more eco-aware. Hilary and the team have worked really hard at promoting this. The competition is stiff but we're doing our bit."

The Church Times Green Church Awards are designed to recognise the innovative environmental work carried out by congregations and also to help to inspire others to do similar.

The winners in each award category will be announced at a ceremony on 16 October at Lambeth Palace and will receive a prize of £1,000 for their church.

The chair of the judging panel will be Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and one of the Church of England's leading environmentalists.