The beautiful countryside we live in reminds us that we are all part of the wider community of God’s creation. We seek a way of living and working that minimises harmful impact to the Earth and all its inhabitants. As an international community we know that our lifestyle affects others around the world. We want to be a positive witness through an ethical and compassionate lifestyle.
We believe that God not only created the world but loves it and therefore we should love it too – ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1:31
When we join community, we promise to cherish and protect God’s creation which God the Father loves and entrusts to our care.
One of the ways we do this is through the Eco Church Movement. Initiated by A Rocha UK, Eco Church is an award scheme designed to motivate churches to be more environmentally friendly and to raise awareness of why this is so important.
It is all survey based and focuses on five main areas; Worship and Teaching; Buildings; Land Management; Community and Global Involvement; and Lifestyle. After each section you are given a score which shows whether you have reached bronze, silver or gold for that area. This score is totalled up at the end to reveal your results.
So, what does this mean in practise?
Here are some of the things we are doing at Lee Abbey.
May is full of lots of exciting things that will contribute to our land management section. From 13-17 May, we will be hosting a bird spotting week. We will be exploring Exmoor with our guests on the search for all the birds it has to offer. I am hoping to see a cuckoo, one of many birds dramatically declining in number but often heard and sometimes seen in Exmoor. One of the questions in the Eco Church survey asks if your church provide opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy God’s creation. Whilst you may not be able to run a bird spotting week, how about organising a bird walk with your church? Or perhaps a bike ride?
We are also hosting a Bioblitz, a mass survey of the flora and fauna on the estate. Nature experts from A Rocha UK, Plantlife, and A Rocha UK Partners in Action are coming to Lee Abbey to record species of birds, invertebrates, plants, lichens, reptiles, bats and more! The intention is that this data will be used to impact future land management and conservation plans. According to the Wildlife Trusts and David Attenborough, the UK has become one of the most nature depleted places on the planet and so it is really important that people who own land consider helping nature in their management plans. Fortunately, the world today is beginning to realise just how much our actions, even small ones, influence nature – we are all connected. I have recently discovered TerraCycle, a great organisation who recycle ‘hard to recycle’ materials. As a result, we now recycle crisp packets with Lynton Primary School – crisp packets that would have previously ended up in landfill or even in the sea.
There are lots of things you can do to help God’s creation – let’s care for it together!