Worcester Cathedral has been awarded the Silver Eco Church Award, by A Rocha UK – the Christian environmental charity committed to equipping churches and their congregations to care for the environment.
After achieving the Bronze award last year, the Cathedral’s Eco Group has been busy working towards Silver, implementing a number of initiatives to improve its eco rating and involve the whole community.
The most recent of which, a rewilding project to create a wildlife habitat, consisting of a wildflower meadow and a large ‘bug hotel’, has been picked as one of Co-op UK’s Local Community Fund causes for the second year running.
Last year the Eco Group was awarded National Lottery Funding for its ‘Living Gently on the Earth’ project; a series of community events, talks and workshops on caring for our planet. Around 10, well-attended sessions have been hosted over the past year, including a vegetarian cooking demo, ethical investments, reducing and acting on waste and plastic, growing your own food, active travel, energy use and measuring and acting on your carbon footprint.
The Cathedral also held a Big Green Eco Fair in the medieval cloister as part of the series last October and is looking forward to making it an annual event for the whole community to come together and celebrate eco-friendly living.
Amongst other work, an Energy Assessment and Carbon Emissions Report has also been completed, renewable energy sources explored, rainwater collection facilities and bird-feeders installed around the site, annual wildlife and wildflower surveys implemented and composting facilities utilised. The Cathedral has also been engaging with local MPs on a number of issues.
The Cathedral’s Eco Group was formed to take forward the vision that: ‘In 2025 Worcester Cathedral will be a catalyst for campaigning and awareness on the environment and social justice.’ As part of which it committed to working towards the Eco-Church Gold Standard Award and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
The Vice-Dean of Worcester, Canon Stephen Edwards, who heads-up the Eco Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the A Rocha UK Silver Eco Church Award. Since its formation, the Cathedral’s dedicated and hard-working Eco Group has been working towards the Eco Church scheme, and we are thrilled to have achieved the second milestone on our journey to becoming an Eco Cathedral.”
In 2021 Worcester Cathedral declared a climate and environmental emergency, stating that: “The Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral publicly recognise that there exists a climate and environmental emergency that affects humanity’s ability to sustain civilisation in its present form. This crisis is principally caused by a failure of human beings to fulfil God’s call to love our neighbours, live justly and steward God’s creation.”
As a result of this declaration Worcester Cathedral is committed to bring forward an action plan to minimise its negative corporate impact on the environment, and help restoration where possible, achieve net zero emissions by 2030, care for the natural environment and biodiversity in the grounds of the Cathedral and encourage the community to make changes and act on this emergency.
The overall aim of the A Rocha UK Eco Church award scheme is to celebrate the ways that church communities have been engaging with caring for the earth as a key part of their Christian faith.
In awarding Worcester Cathedral Silver status, A Rocha UK said: “Thank you for all you are doing to champion caring for creation in your church, and congratulations on your Eco Church award!”
Worcester Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship and prayer for fourteen centuries; the present building dates back to 1084 and is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Described as possibly the most interesting of all England's cathedrals, especially architecturally, it was founded in 680. Saint Oswald then built another cathedral in 983, and established a monastery attached to it.
Saint Wulfstan began the present building in 1084 replacing the earlier cathedrals. The Cathedral's attractions include King John's Tomb, Prince Arthur's Chantry, the early 12th Century Chapter House, St Wulfstan's Crypt, medieval cloisters, magnificent Victorian stained glass and spectacular views from the top of the Cathedral tower.