As the deadline for entering the Church Times 2024 Green Church Awards approaches, Huw Spanner speaks to previous winners

In the Green Church Awards in 2017, the Green Building Award was won by St Wenn’s, near Bodmin (News, 13 October 2017), where the congregation of a small medieval village church formed a partnership with the primary school next door to install a shared biomass boiler.

“We were surprised to win the award, when we knew we were up against Gloucester Cathedral,” Barbara Crowle, one of the churchwardens, recalls, “but it was really heartening.”

The congregation was in single figures in 2017, but has since more than doubled, she says. “We’ve always been welcoming, but the warmth [from the boiler] has definitely helped. It has also made a big difference to the school, and their numbers have gone up, too.”

The £1000 that came with the award “went into the pot to help with our regeneration”, and the church has also received grants from a wind farm near by. In the past few years, they have been able to put in a lavatory with a sewage-treatment plant, and to replace old tarmac paths around the church with permeable gravel.

The congregation are always looking for other ways to make their church more environmentally friendly, Mrs Crowle says. “Obviously, we’ve changed all the lights to LEDs. We’re hoping to use rainwater in the new toilet, but at the moment we haven’t got any further with that.”

Several other churches in the diocese have sent people over “to have a look and ask questions”. And a local man, Stephen Chidgey, a member of the diocesan advisory committee (DAC) and a DAC adviser on renewable energy and heating, who was instrumental in greening St Wenn’s, now has a position on the diocesan board, advising on “all things environmental”.

Read the full article here:

Holy Trinity Church Hall, London

Photo: The newly opened hand-built church hall at Holy Trinity, Tulse Hill, in south-east London