Creative route to Bronze Eco Church award

15th August 2023

The church of St Michael and All Angels, Flax Bourton, is celebrating after gaining a Bronze Eco Church award. The church community used some unique ideas, alongside some well-established ones, to reach their Eco Church goal. 

Revd James Harris, Rector for Flax Bourton said, “Eco Church is a key strand of our vision as a church, to grow together in faith and influence for the sake of Christ's Kingdom. We have used Bible study, prayer meetings and Sunday worship to deepen our understanding of and commitment to Creation-care as a God-given mission whilst at the same time finding that it's a great way to start conversations with our wider community and involve more volunteers. People who wouldn't normally call themselves church-goers are intrigued and encouraged that the Church cares about this issue as much as they do, and is taking action which benefits the whole community.”

Adrienne Hughes is the eco-team lead at the church and has used her creative expertise to bring the church and local community together through environmental art projects. She explained that when they first began their Eco Church journey, the team were surprised how many of the requirements they were already doing, “It was quite easy to tick off some things, particularly in the worship section, as there were readings and prayers we regularly used to talk about our care for creation. In other areas we became more creative using art to reach out beyond the church walls to connect with our local school and community. Involving the community in our eco-church work sends a clear message that the church is serious about caring for the environment.”

  • St Michael and All Angels straight forward and easy wins for the bronze award included:
  • Ensuring intercessional prayers always include environmental issues
  • Using recycled toilet roll and environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Switching to a green electricity and gas tariff
  • Including environmental issues on the church notice board and in the parish magazine

Alongside this, the church community sought to illustrate what’s happening to the Earth and ways to care for it. In 2022, they worked with a group of North Somerset Artists (Art6Explore) to curate an interactive art exhibition. Called, ’Our Creation? Our Future?’, it was held in the church and celebrated the beauty and wonder of the natural world. It also looked at ways to restore and repair the human impact on the environment.

The exhibition offered people the opportunity to create their own environmental artwork and to use that to draw attention to climate issues they felt passionate about. Adrienne, who helped organise the event, said, “It was a great opportunity to bring the whole community together to produce art that was both interesting and thought provoking.” 

For Earth Day in 2023 there was a special celebration at the church. Children were shown how to make bird feeders, there were wood working demonstrations and a display of people’s favourite pieces of local nature. At the end of the day everyone who entered the art exhibition was given seeds to take away with them. 

Attention has also been focused on the churchyard where a locally made, bodged, wooden bench with planters on either side has been set up. The planters contain herbs and plants to encourage pollinators. A crab apple tree, the flowers of which provide an important source of early pollen and nectar for insects, and whose fruit is eaten by birds and mammals, has been planted.

Adrienne said, “It is inspiring to see how many people come to these events. We held one about a fortnight ago to celebrate getting the bronze award and we invited people to come to the churchyard to see what we had done - the church was full!” 

St Michael and All Angels is now determined to keep going and is already thinking about achieving a Silver Eco Church award.


If you would like help and support on your Eco Church journey email Dan Wilis, Bath and Wells Net Zero Support Assistant, or Sara Emmett, Climate Justice & Environment Adviser.

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