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Diocese of Blackburn
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Diocese of Blackburn
World News

Bishop of Blackburn welcomes new eco status for Church in Lancashire

by Donna Birrell

The Church of England in Lancashire has achieved an important milestone in developing its environmental credentials.

The Diocese of Blackburn has been awarded the Bronze status of the national A Rocha Eco Church programme, which encourages churches, schools and dioceses throughout the UK to take practical action in ‘caring for God’s Creation’.

The collective award follows individual bronze awards for Blackburn Cathedral; the Diocesan Offices in Blackburn and the Centre for Christian Discipleship and Prayer at Whalley Abbey, along with 15 parishes in their own right across Lancashire. A further three churches in the Diocese have already achieved silver status; while another 36 have registered and are working towards their bronze status.

Over the coming months the Diocese – which is now an 'eco-Diocese' - will be working towards achieving its Silver and then Gold status under the scheme by completing actions that demonstrate a deepening commitment to the Anglican Church’s fifth ‘mark of mission’ which is to 'strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.

The Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Philip North, welcomed the award saying:

“While I don’t think we should strive for awards purely for award’s sake, it is helpful to have the actions that we are already taking being recognised in this way.

“So, this is a significant moment for the Diocese and I congratulate all those who have helped to make it happen. I look forward to the ongoing progress being made by our parishes, schools and for the Diocese as a whole being recognised by A Rocha."

The Bronze award is given after an organisation achieves various targets under the following headings:

 Celebrating creation

 Ethical investments

 Carbon reduction

 Training and development

 Environmental policy

 (For dioceses) the number of parishes with eco-church awards

Dave Champness, who submitted the successful application in his role as Diocesan Carbon Net Zero Project Manager, said: “It’s great to see Blackburn Diocese join the two-thirds of Church of England dioceses already with bronze eco-diocese status. But we still have more to do to actively demonstrate our love for God’s creation both at parish and diocesan level, potentially requiring us to make choices to live our lives differently.”

The Church of England’s General Synod, has fully embraced the A Rocha scheme with churches and Dioceses throughout England and beyond taking steps to improve the immediate environment around and within church buildings and churchyards.



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