Church Environmental Audit 2013

Church Environmental Audit 2013

  The Creation Care Working Group used World Environment Day in June 2013 to conduct a broad-ranging environmental audit of the church.  One member of the group actually designed the audit, drawing partly on the audit carried out in her local school, but also drawing on the Presbyterian Church and A Rocha examples. It was agreed that the audit was far greater than a facilities audit, but probed our worship, awareness, activities, use of resources, and outreach / procurement.  It was also important that the process included everyone, in a participative way.  The Church Council were very supportive and trusting. The working group then contacted the 6 groups which were responsible for 6 of the themes:

  • Youth
  • Outreach
  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Office, and
  • Catering. 

The last 2 themes had to be tackled by everyone, in a Sunday service:

  • Worship
  • Personal awareness.

  The results of the 6 themes were presented to the congregation at a special service on 12 May. After a short service, we moved through to the hall where we were divided into small groups, being careful to include the youth in every group.  The congregation participated enthusiastically. 
The results of the audit were categorised into how we reduce our inputs, maximise our throughputs, and reduce our negative outputs.

Some Priorities

Recycling: We believe that we can improve on recycling, by using the church as a recycling “drop-off”. 
Garden: We should continue to indigenise the garden and provide opportunities to encourage vegetable gardening on and off the property
Environmental calendar: we should continue to use the environmental calendar to raise awareness and plan activities
Get outdoors: organised hikes and camps helps us to get back in touch with God’s creation in a positive way – for some people for the first time
Transport: We can encourage the congregation to reduce car usage / use public transport or lift-clubs to church around non-motorised transport day.
Flowers: the flower arrangements in church were valued.  They are “recycled” by being divided up and given to members on their birthday or as thanks, after the service.
Lessons Learnt

  1. We are not an extravagant church and are careful of our use of resources already (good stewards of the earth!).  Hence there are no dramatic changes which can be made to effect savings.  However, the small actions do make a big difference as they impact on members in their other spheres of influence.
  2. There was great support for the audit both from the groups, but particularly from the congregation in the audit service.  This can be seen as an indication that there is strong support for environmental initiatives. 
  3. The finding supported the original action plan which had been developed, but helped to prioritise all the ideas.
  4. We are performing well by partnering with other initiatives, such as the Rosebank Methodist Church’s A Rocha group, SAFCEI and the Earthkeepers’ Forum.