Bradford Cathedral has become the 849th Silver Eco Church in England and Wales. The award was given by the Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK, and reflects Bradford Cathedral’s commitment to walk in step with nature and put creation care at the heart of what they do. It is the 16th English / Church of England Cathedral to receive a Silver award.

To achieve a silver award, one of the things Bradford Cathedral has done is work in partnership with many organisations, including Bradford Council and ‘Forest for Bradford’, on the Woodland Project. Established in 2015, this was initially designed to offset the amount of paper used in the Cathedral, but the project soon grew bigger, with over 1800 trees planted to date across two sites. There are plans in fruition to expand this further.

The Revd Canon Ned Lunn, Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts and chair of the Cathedral’s EcoGroup, says:
“This award is a long time in coming. Bradford Cathedral was one of the first Eco Congregations and was the first Cathedral to install solar panels back in 2012. We have never taken our pioneering work for granted and have continued to seek to lead the way amongst cathedrals and the Diocese of Leeds in safeguarding the integrity of Creation.

“It is the innovation and creativity of our dedicated Eco Group, past and present, that is being celebrated with this award. We look ahead to expanding our work and achieving our goal of becoming Carbon Net Zero by 2030. You can join us on our onward journey. Look out for environmental themed events and activities or join the Eco Group and help us to dream of a brighter, cleaner and more sustainable future.”

A Rocha UK aims to equip churches and individuals to create a movement to help restore biodiversity at a local level in this critical decade for the climate. Now in its seventh year, the ‘Eco Church’ award scheme brings together a national community of churches addressing the environmental crisis, using a common framework, an online toolkit, learning and speaking up together. The first Eco Church award was given to Hilfield Friary, Dorchester back in June 2016. There are now over 6,300 Eco Churches in England and Wales – nearly 10% of churches – which are already part of the Eco Church community. A Rocha UK is aiming, by 2025, to engage at least 25% of churches in ongoing action to protect nature and address climate change through the free scheme.

Lucy Foster, Eco Church officer for Northern England, explained:
“Our huge congratulations to Bradford Cathedral on the achievement of their silver Eco Church award. They are exemplary in so many ways, from their strategic commitment to environmental action across all parts of the cathedral’s life and operations, sustainable energy projects (both existing and planned) along with the plan for nature in the cathedral grounds and aspirations for the gift shop and working with British wool, for instance. Their work with the other cathedrals over Net Zero is an excellent approach.

“They have a great understanding of Eco Church as being a holistic reflective practice and the opportunity to be a great inspiration for many cathedrals, especially those in industrial / post-industrial & multicultural cities and towns, as well as for churches in the diocese. We celebrate with them all they are doing to renew the face of God’s earth. They are such an inspiration!”

Here are some photos from when the A Rocha team visited the Cathedral, and our Woodland Project, earlier in the year.

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