At the morning service on 17th August at Caversham Heights Methodist Church, in the Reading and Silchester Circuit,the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Peter Beard, presented to the Revd. Dermot Thornberry (the minister of the church) a plaque celebrating its success in being granted the Eco-Congregation Award of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. The church is the first in Reading to gain the Award, following four year’s work by a small group of members with the encouragement of the former minister of the church, the Revd. Rosemary Fletcher.
Ecology is defined as the interaction of people with the environment and churches applying for the Award have to demonstrate their active concern with many aspects of the environment in which their members live. They have to show their concern for their neighbours in the local community and their neighbours in the wider world community, particular the developing world. They have to demonstrate their awareness of the impact of climate change on the physical environment and the actions that a church and its individual members can take to mitigate its effects.
Each Sunday worshippers include paraplegics from the Milbury Care Group and other handicapped members of the local community. The Church provides a home for many local community groups including a pre-school, the 2nd Caversham Girls’ Brigade Company, a flower club, a Women’s Institute, a Townswomen’s Guild, the Red Cross and the Polio Fellowship. It is the host to two well- patronised groups started many years ago by members of the church, the Caversham Heights Society and the Stay Awhile lunch club for pensioners.
The poverty and injustice suffered by people living in the developing world have for long been a concern of members of the Church. Ten years ago it established a partnership with the United Church of Zambia at Mindolo in Kitwe for which it provides prayerful, financial and material support. Members are firm supporters of Fair Trade and have been actively involved in the Make Poverty History, Fairtrade and Tools With A Mission campaigns.
The Christian church celebrates creation and is committed to respect for the earth. Evidence of a concern to preserve the natural environment is a priority in the assessment for the Award and the Church has had to demonstrate that it has taken action in respect of fuel economy, recycling and the elimination of waste. The attention of church members has been drawn in Church newsletters to the practical action that they can take to care for God’s world.
The Award is valid for three years, during which time the Church is required to examine its commitment to its objectives and to ask itself if there are areas where it could still do better.
For more information about how your church could work towards the Eco-congregation Award visit:
Caversham Heights Methodist Church website: