On our ECO Church Journey
Bristol Diocese declared a Climate Emergency in 2020. To start the journey of helping the church, the community and beyond to respond to the global threat, Gastard resolved to become an ECO Church in 2020. Our ECO Champion is Don. As a result of our work in 2020 & 2021 we achieved our first milestone – we got a Bronze Award!
We invited Gastard parish residents to observe Earth Hour on Saturday March 26th, 2022. Lights off for 1 hour at 8:30pm in support of action on climate change and ecological damage. This year we held a candle-lit vigil in the church for that hour so the community could get together. We had a thoughtful atmospheric hour! Add your voice: EarthHour.org
Earth Hour Vigil 2022
An area set aside to encourage bees, butterflies, etc. We hope to see: Paper Daisy, Pheasant Eye, Pot Marigold, Cornflower, Dwarf Morning Glory, Evening Primrose, Forget-Me-Not, California Poppy, Baby’s Breath, Love-in-a-Mist, Corn, Yellow Tansy, Corncockle, Poppy, Golden Tickseed, Blue Lupin, Borage, Purple Tansy, Blanket flower, Cosmos Mixed, Marsh Mallow, Clovers and Zinnia.
We failed to get any wildflowers to grow in 2020 or 2021, so we are re-locating in 2022 – 3rd time lucky!
We have formed a team from the community to collect discarded cans and other litter from the roads and public Rights of Way across the parochial parish of Gastard. Teams go out with our high visibility gilets with “Gastard ECO Team” printed on the back. Volunteers get together once a month at 10am at the church to get the litter picking equipment and briefing. This is generally the first Saturday of each month. If you would like to become a volunteer, please contact LitterPickingLead@GastardChurch.org.uk
Wild-Life Friendly Plantings in the Church Grounds
We have made sure that the plants in the flower borders are friendly to wildlife so that they sustain visiting insects. A team of volunteers looks after our gardens regularly. The lawn mowing avoids any wild flowers that are flowering in the grass and we only use wildlife friendly organic products. We are currently cataloguing our plants and their benefits to wild life.
In 2021, we held a wildly ambitious exhibition refreshed each week with new material on a different theme. Visitors were asked to take a worksheet with them as they viewed the exhibits on the walls, capture QR codes on their phones for items of particular interest, and choose personal actions from the Action sheets to create their own Personal Action Plan. We launched our month on Climate Sunday and the church was open daily for 29 consecutive days for visitors. The exhibition was also supplemented with a number of pop-up events on various topics for a more sustainable future e.g. Bees, Tree Planting, Climate Protesting, Building a Bug Hotel, Environmental Projects in our area, Getting Back on your Bike and Recycling. The weekly themes were: Climate Change, Over-exploitation & Pollution, Complacency & Anxiety, and finally Adaptation & Children’s Week. This was such an onerous project that we are not planning on a repeat in 2022! The project was widely acclaimed across the team and Corsham area.
Climate Sunday & Climate Week
In 2022 we are holding Climate Sunday on 11th September to introduce a week of ecological talks by a variety of local speakers.
We have twinned our toilet with one in South Sudan. The scheme isn’t just providing a toilet, but education and training so the villagers can make and maintain their toilet and live a more hygienic life, reducing sickness and increasing the days that children go to school.
Our team of volunteers that create topical prayers for each service (the intercessors) always include climate or ecological prayers. We also choose an overseas environmental project each year to include in the prayers and to support in other ways.
Overseas Ecological Development Projects
For 2021, the PCC endorsed Margaret’s choice of the Watu Wa Miti project in Kenya supported by the International Tree Foundation (ITF). Margaret led a pop-up event on the ITF during our Climate October and has gained enough support to raise £2,000 – twice her target. Well done.
For 2022, we have created our very own project through the efforts of a parishioner, Finlay, who has done voluntary work in Kenya – we are drilling a water well for the village of Kerina, Kenya. We have got all the required permissions and survey and currently rising the funds so the project can be fulfilled. More details on our dedicated Just Giving page. Please support this worthwhile project.
Local Ecological Projects
Our Eco Church also supported the tree copse planted in the recreation field, Coppershell, Gastard in December 2021.