420 eco-warriors wanted from churches in Gloucestershire

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Environmental champions are wanted in every church across Gloucestershire by the end of 2015.

This is the challenge being put forward by the Gloucester Churches Environmental Justice Network, which promotes green action among Christians in the county.

The group encourages church-goers to get involved in environment campaigns and hopes the eco-warriors will be able to raise awareness of local issues.

Vicars are being asked to nominate one or two members of their congregations who would be willing to receive information which can be passed on to their churches.

The Revd Arthur Champion, Environmental Advisor for the Diocese of Gloucester, helps co-ordinate the network.

He said: “We aim to have at least one eco-representative in each of Gloucestershire's 420 churches. Each member will be engaged within a support network that focuses on local relevant issues.”

The network, which meets every two months to discuss issues, has recently set up a new website to help Christians respond to issues. It can be found at www.greengloucestershire.org.uk.

The website has been funded by the Diocese of Gloucester and Churches Together in Gloucestershire and provides a number of resources, including energy saving tips in church buildings, flooding, finding suppliers of locally grown food and drink and responses to the Joint Core Strategy.

As an added incentive, anyone joining this new network of eco-warriors will be eligible to take part in a visit to Duchy Home Farm near Tetbury, which is owned by the Prince of Wales. The network has 50 places available for the afternoon of Monday 15 June.

Arthur said: “We have been given the role of custodians of this planet and we have a duty to ensure that we do all we can to protect it.

“Surely, each of these 420 churches has at least one person who cares enough about our beautiful and endangered county that they are willing to visit the website and join the network? Alone we are struggling but together we can make things a lot better.”

One environmentally-friendly church in the Diocese of Gloucester is St Michael and All Angels Church in Withington, which was the first zero carbon church in the UK.

As well as reducing the energy it used, the Grade I listed Norman church also installed a biomass boiler and 24 solar PV panels on its roof to help in its bid to go green.