Clare Stockford is a member of St Cassian’s Church in Chaddesley Corbett, just outside of Kidderminster. St Cassian’s has achieved their Silver Eco Church Award and Clare was a key part of the team.

How did you get involved in the Eco agenda?

“I have been a member of the DCC for a few years and two years ago became a church warden. Our previous vicar, Hugh Burton, was passionate about the eco agenda and as a primary school teacher, I was very aware of the issues. St Cassian’s is a rural church and is part of a farming community. We have always included creation-focussed hymns and prayers for the care of our world in our regular worship. However, as an old building we weren’t sure how easy it would be for us to be eco-friendly.”

“Faith is about everything we think, speak and do. Often doing can be the hardest bit, but becoming an Eco Church has been really important in linking with our local community. We’ve done community litter picks and made links with the village school and their recycling projects. It’s a way for the church to demonstrate that we don’t just talk about things, but actually do it as well.”

Why did you feel this was important?

“I have children myself and worry about what the future will hold. I can remember the environment being an issue when I was at school – we can’t keep just talking about it. Some things are becoming irreversible and there is no second chance.”

“God gave us something so precious and it is the decisions that man has made which has caused us issues. We’ve done this to our planet and now we need to fix it.At St Cassian’s we regularly pray for the environment and also talk about the issues, including practical sessions in our family services. We share relevant content on our social media channels. However, we’ve also made practical changes – recycling in church, making sure our cleaning products and toilet rolls are eco-friendly and buying new hymn books so we don’t need to use photocopies of the hymns that weren’t in the old ones! Some of the changes have been more major – for example we’ve changed our lighting and gone from using the same energy as 15 kettles to just one!”

How has this work affected your faith?

“My faith is strong and has definitely been strengthened by this work.”

“It’s been fantastic to be able to support other churches in their Eco church journey. It’s nice to be an advocate for the movement and to know that we’re all working on this together to make a difference. I also spoke about our experience at Diocesan Synod, which is something I never thought I’d do. It was important to me to stand up and say what I think is right and when you’re passionate about something, I definitely believe that God gives you the words to inspire others.” 

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