Two churches in the Diocese of Truro have been awarded Gold Eco Church Awards, two of less than 50 churches of all denominations nationally to receive the prestigious accolade.

Eco Church launched in 2016 and there are now 3,000 churches across the country with Eco Awards ranging from Bronze to Gold. Gold is the most difficult to achieve.

St Mary’s Church in Bradoc was the 48th gold awarded in England and Wales and the 32nd Church of England church to be awarded. It, along with St Protus and St Hyacinth’s Church in Blisland which was also awarded on the same day, are the first two gold churches in the Diocese of Truro.

The Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans, said: “Christians are called to take responsibility for cherishing God’s good creation, cutting carbon, and speaking up on behalf of those most affected by climate injustice. These gold awards show that churches in Cornwall are at the forefront of this crucial work. I could not be prouder of the people and communities of Bradoc and Blisland, and I look forward to more churches following in their footsteps.”

St Mary Bradoc Church’s team were praised by Eco Church for being an ‘enthusiastic, passionate, knowledgeable, positive and active team’.

One of our lizards found in a monthly survey by our Junior Ringers

The work the team have done around the churchyard and graveyard and how they are managed for wildlife, including the mowing regime, and providing habitats and structures such as bird boxes, bug hotels, grass snake ‘houses’ was particularly highlighted. The congregation and community are enabled to engage with these areas by carrying out regular species surveys, taking part in creative outdoor worship and getting involved in future plans for the development of ‘no dig’ beds at one end of the graveyard.

Braddock School ‘Eco Squad’ undertaking monthly survey of flowers

There was more support for the church’s involvement with the local school is an exciting example of a partnership which has enabled the creation care message to be shared and multiplied. Through a link to the RE curriculum for Church Schools – ‘Understanding Christianity’ – the children have become involved with the church and engaged in many environmental activities. The passion and commitment of Eco Group members to both Creation Care and to the children of the school, has resulted in an incredible symbiotic relationship. The Head sits on the PCC and two Eco Group members are Foundation Governors. Open the Book; a weekly ‘Messy Church’ style after-school club, run by members of the Eco Group at the school, and the Junior Bell Ringing courses in the Church, are all used in different ways to share the Creation care message – using discussion, prayer, and activities. Eco Church assessors were impressed by the long-term thought that had been given to carbon reduction in how the building is used and heating is provided. Very careful consideration has been given to offsetting through carbon sequestration by the on-site trees and wildflower areas.