A Farmer’s Market at a Preston Church of England church on Saturday (March 21) will celebrate a unique ‘Green’ achievement for a church in North-west England.
St Michael and All Angels, Ashton on Ribble, the first parish in the Blackburn Diocese to become an Eco-Congregation in December 2004, is now the first church in the North-west to obtain a second award.
Assessors commended particularly the quarterly farmers' markets run by the church, of which Saturday’s is the first in 2009.
The assessors also applauded the church’s Eco-Fair last September, its regular promotion of Fairtrade goods, the re-ordered space within the church building which lends itself to many community events, and the diocesan courses which demonstrate a theological concern with environmental and social justice issues.
“For the future, the assessors suggested that we should 'keep up the good work!' carry out further energy-saving measures for the building after a Sustainability Audit, funded by Faiths4Change, which we are holding at the end of February, and consider providing cycle stands,” said church member Jacqui Crosby.
“Following the success of last year's Eco-Fair the church is holding another on September 19. This promises to be even bigger and better.
“We are really proud to have achieved this award for the second time. Being an Eco-congregation helps to direct our mission to our local community and the wider world. Our concern for social justice, sustainable development and the environment is underpinned by our Christian faith that calls us to celebrate and care for God's creation - to treat both His world and our fellow human beings with respect, starting in our own backyard.”
Priest in charge of St Michael’s, the Rev Rick Bunday, said the hosting of the Farmers’ Markets at the church “highlights the role of the church in enabling a relationship between the local community and its farmers.”
Eco-Congregation is an ecumenical programme helping churches to make the link between environmental issues and Christian faith. The award affirms good practice in environmental stewardship and helps churches show the importance of caring for God's world both locally and globally.