St Mary the Virgin church Stapleford Abbotts has made the Big Church Switch

St Mary the Virgin church Stapleford Abbotts has made what is being called the Big Church Switch as part of the Eco Church accreditation scheme.

In a bid to divert £5m from the fossil fuel industry, 5,000 churches up and down the country have gone green.

As well as switching to a 100 per cent green electricity tariff, St Marys has switched to using recycled materials, environmental cleaning products and LED lighting.

The church has also worked with Essex Wildlife Trust to develop its churchyard including the addition of fruit trees, hedging, bird nesting boxes and a bug hotel, all of which supports and sustains the local wildlife.

Minister Revd. Roger Gayler said: “The protection of the earth and its people are central to our Christian beliefs and that means taking responsibility for the impact the Church has on the world, both good and bad, near and far.

“It was important to us to switch to clean energy and tread more lightly on God’s earth. It’s heartening to hear these latest figures and know that we are part of what has become a significant movement by churches to cherish and sustain life in this way.

“When we stand together we can make a real difference for those who have no voice and are living with the reality of climate change.”

The Big Church Switch campaign is a partnership between Christian Aid, the Church of England and Tearfund.

The scheme pools the combined buying power of churches to negotiate the cheapest possible tariff, often identifying a cheaper renewable energy tariff than the fossil fuel powered one they were on before.

Ben Selfe, Christian Aid’s regional coordinator for Essex, said: “Many of us have been enjoying the exceptional sunshine this summer.

"But it brings home the impact of unpredictable weather.

"While we have access to plentiful water and other ways to keep cool and refreshed, the world’s poorest communities are hit hardest by unpredictable weather and have the least resilience to it.

“The Big Church Switch and other initiatives to encourage churches to move to clean energy are truly exciting because they show how effective partnership can be."

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