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Conservation charity announces name of 1,000th church to win eco award

by Premier Journalist

Christian Conservation charity, A Rocha UK, has announced the latest recipient of its Eco Church scheme's award for high environmental standards.

Hereford Cathedral becomes the 1,000th church to receive an award from the scheme, which was launched in 2016.

The cathedral is one of over 3000 churches to register for Eco Church and picked up a silver award for sharing eco-lifestyle tips during school visits and in its weekly church notices, including suggestions on personal consumption and carbon footprint reduction. 

According to A Rocha, Hereford Cathedral has also made alterations to heating and lighting across the church buildings to improve efficiency and are actively researching how best to install water harvesting systems in the future. 

Helen Stephens, church relations manager for A Rocha UK, said in a statement: "We're delighted that Hereford Cathedral is the recipient of our 1,000th Eco Church award, not least because it demonstrates that even historical buildings can make great progress towards being more sustainable. 

"The Cathedral land includes both gardens within the cathedral complex and some farms in the local area which are managed in a sustainable way. Eco Church is for all church communities regardless of where or how it meets and whether or not it owns land.".

Very Rev Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford, added: "We are overjoyed to receive the silver Eco Church award. In Herefordshire, we are blessed to be surrounded by abundant countryside, wildlife and the beautiful River Wye. 

"More than ever in 2020, the natural world has been a great comfort to many and I am pleased that, as a community, we are working together to do what we can to help protect our environment."

St Paul's Cathedral was the first recipient of A Rocha's Eco Church bronze award back in January 2016. 

Eco Church has continued to receive award applications for Bronze, Silver and Gold award levels since that date, including during the pandemic. 

Sixteen churches have achieved a Gold level Eco Church award including Quaker, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed and Anglican churches.

To become a Gold-awarded church, churches must prove high environmental standards in each of the areas covered by the Eco Church Survey. These areas are: Worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community and global engagement and lifestyle.

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