Eco Congregation Scotland Walk2COP27 – January 2023

Eco Congregation  Scotland Walk2COP27 – January 2023

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Apologies for the delay in posting the attached update from Eco Congregation Scotland

Eco-Congregation Scotland is proud to update on your involvement in Walk2COP27 and congratulate all taking part, with churches across Scotland leading the way.

Walk2COP27 built up climate action towards the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, based around a virtual journey over 45 days from COP26 host city Glasgow. Twelve countries between Scotland and Egypt hosted hybrid or virtual Townhall meetings to showcase how climate change is impacting each location and solutions that are being deployed. We invited individuals, churches and faith groups across Scotland to join the virtual journey from 22 September to 7 November:
WALK – take part in active travel as far as they could over 45 days
TALK – attend Townhalls and other dialogue sessions
ACT – fundraise, take part in local climate action and support a call for COP27
Participants tracked their kilometres travelled on an app in their own locations, with trees planted in Burundi by the Jane Goodall Institute for the distance everyone was able to walk, run, cycle or travel by wheelchair.

Walk2COP27 helped highlight the importance of COP27, demonstrating we can work together globally in the fight against climate change. 13 townhall events and dozens of Clubhouse sessions brought together thousands to hear from over 100 speakers over 45 days.

Participants from 68 countries walked 102,566 kilometres resulting in 200,000 trees being planted, double the number first planned. Faith groups joined local authorities, environmental groups, businesses, universities and individuals – with eco-congregations and churches across Scotland leading the way with over 20% of all kilometres walked and trees planted!

Congratulations to world number one ranked group St Andrews Churches Eco Network in Fife – our newest and very active Local Network – who contributed an unsurpassed 10% of the overall total, 10,208 kilometres leading to a staggering 19,907 trees being planted, pictured above as reported in The Courier yesterday!

Joining them in the top 25 groups ranked globally were amazing Orchardhill Parish in Giffnock – at 6,256km and 12,200 trees – and St Andrew’s West in Glasgow with 2,294km and 4,473 trees.

Hillhead Baptist Church merit a special mention with one of the highest ratios walked by a team of 4 participants including minister Rev Catriona Gorton, achieving 1,427km and 2,433 trees.

Other key contributors included our Stirling Local Network of eco-congregations led by Jon Cape of Stirling Methodist Church, Forfar’s East and Old Parish, Holy Cross Justice and Peace Group in Croy, the Scottish Laity Network and Laudato Si’ Animators. Thank you and well done everyone taking part.

At COP27 itself, Loss and Damage was on the agenda for the first time and agreement was reached to establish a dedicated new fund for this, helping to ensure that polluting countries pay for the impact of climate change in the Global South. We thank all across eco-congregations who supported key campaigns we shared on this issue and took part in the 12 November Day of Action, including pictured above Rab Burnett, Karen Bass, Val Cameron and so many more.

Unfortunately there was no firm commitment to immediately phase out all fossil fuels, which keeps the world on course for dangerously high temperatures causing even more damage through climate change.

As Stop Climate Chaos Scotland members and supporters, we all helped champion Loss and Damage in the past year – we celebrate this win and take hope from it, but recognise that much more needs to be done on mitigation.

The COP27 closing plenary heard strong support for fossil fuel phase out from the UK and at home we have already heard firmer words from the Scottish Government on opposition to new oil and gas.

You can find out more from Christian Aid, SCIAF, Tearfund and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. Please also read the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland COP27 Diaries of Becky Kenton-Lake, Coalition Manager, and board member Kirstie Shirra.
Sally Foster-Fulton, David Coleman and Sarah Conway
We have wonderful news to share from our charity trustees and staff – and for volunteers across our movement.

Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Christian Aid Scotland head and Eco-Congregation Scotland trustee, has been named as the Moderator designate of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2023-24. Eco-Congregation Scotand looks forward to supporting Sally in the year ahead as a key ecumenical partner.

Sally said: “I’m excited about what the year will bring. Over the past years of the pandemic in the face of a global climate emergency and now a cost-of-living crisis, people across the Church have been stepping up and doing their very best to make an extraordinary impact in communities, locally, across our nation and in the world.”

Rev’d David Coleman has been appointed for a second five-year term as our Eco-Chaplain from August 2023 until 2028. This will be the third term of Environmental Chaplaincy supported by the URC following Rev’d Trevor Jamison’s initial appointment from 2013. We are hugely thankful for the United Reformed Church (URC) making this unprecedented decision enabling David to continue his ecumenical work as a Special Category Ministry, recognising that David is so highly valued across Scotland’s churches and increasingly further afield.

Please email for the Eco-Chaplain to visit and work with your own church. David and all our team are delighted to be planning his next five years!

Sarah Conway has started work with Eco-Congregation Scotland this month as our new Administrative Co-ordinator. We are pleased to welcome and introduce Sarah, who lives in the Edinburgh area and attends St Mungo’s Church. Sarah will mostly work Tuesday to Friday, 8.30am to 12noon.

Sarah brings excellent administrative experience from the voluntary sector and will be a key direct contact for eco-congregations, improving our communications across churches and volunteers, with much improved updates and maintenance of our contacts database in a time of change for many local parishes. Please get in touch to welcome Sarah, connect on your latest contact details and update us on your activities as an eco-congregation.

Eco-Congregation Scotland has grown to over 600 eco-congregations in local churches across the country through the inspiring work of volunteers. Pictured above, Buchlyive linked with Gartmore is the latest to be recognised with an Eco-Congregation Scotland Bronze Award. During the pandemic we have also seen increasing involvement of individual volunteers, joining our activities and workshops to care and act for God’s creation.

We are delighted to launch our new Volunteer Scheme, agreed by our charity trustees this week, celebrating and supporting lead roles by volunteers in churches and communities throughout Scotland, with staff tasked to support key aspects of volunteering at the heart of our movement.

We are keen to support those who lead our Local Networks, encourage volunteers expressing a special interest in a focused theme of our work, train new Award Assessors and recruit new charity trustees.

A separate email will soon share full details of the new Volunteer Scheme encouraging and supporting these central volunteer roles for Eco-Congregation Scotland, with a invite to its online launch in mid-December along with new opportunities for individuals to support the charity’s work as Members.

Associate Membership for individuals complements the Full Membership role where registered eco-congregations take a further step as members of Eco-Congregation Scotland, with all membership fees ring-fenced for our support of individual churches and Local Networks through our programme of activities.

We are grateful for the incredible interest in our Advent resources, hugely popular with over 2,000 views in the first 48 hours since their launch. Our alternative Advent Calendar has contributions in coming days from our Eco-Chaplain plus:

Rev Sue Parfitt – Christian Climate Action protestor
Judith Macleod – Eco-Congregation Scotland Programme Co-ordinator, training for ministry and member of Crown Church of Scotland, Inverness
Rev Fiona Bennett – Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, minister at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh
Marilyn Pope – St Magnus’ Episcopal Church, Lerwick, Shetland
For daily Advent Calendar views please follow us on Twitter or Facebook – and please feel free to view, download and use more widely all the posts on our website.

“Advent 2022: Last Things First” offers Lectionary reflections and readings for each Sunday for congregational, group and individual use from its webpage.

Thank you for arranging Climate Conversations and other activities in your church and community. More events and training are being updated to share online. Please let us know what you have been doing and planning locally.
Register for free and begin your church’s journey as an eco-congregation. Please consider church membership to become more active in the charity and support our Local Network activities – join online.

Please donate if you can, to help support our work and encourage growing interest across Scotland’s churches. If you or others in your church would like to receive this newsletter regularly, please subscribe.

Contact Eco-Congregation Scotland manager Stephen Curran at:
0141 423 4671, 07950 244329,
Eco-Congregation Scotland, 41 Springkell Avenue, Glasgow G41 4DP

Eco-Congregation Scotland is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) regulated by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), Scottish Charity number: SC041287