Caring for Creation

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The United Reformed Church is committed to caring for God’s creation. We recognise there is a climate emergency, and are committed to acting urgently to reduce carbon emissions across the whole of church life, with a target of reaching net zero emissions by well before 2050. Our Environmental Policy (PDF) was most recently updated in 2019.

Help is available for URC congregations wanting to deepen and strengthen their care for God’s creation, in worship, decision-making, and wider community engagement, through the ecumenical initiatives Eco Church and Eco-Congregation Scotland.

If your congregation is in England or Wales: If your congregation is in Scotland:

eco church logo


Eco congregation Scotland

Other resources

Avoiding single-use plastics: Read our guide to avoiding single-use plastics during the pandemic here.

Carbon footprint calculator: The 360° Carbon calculator enables local URCs to track the carbon footprint of their buildings and activities across different areas – energy, travel, food, waste, water and other expenditure. The tool is free to use, and multiple team members can be given access.

Living Lent: During Lent in 2019 and 2020, we encouraged individuals and congregations to try one of six lifestyle challenges which can have a positive effect on our environment. You can find out more here.


Green Apostles: All URC synods have appointed at least one 'Green Apostle' whose role is to provide information, support and encouragement to the synod and local churches on ways to care for creation. Contact us to find out how to get in touch with your synod's Green Apostle.

Synod Environmental Policies: Many Synods have drawn up their own environmental policies and are endeavouring to implement them. Here are some examples:


Eco Church in England and Wales

Eco Church covers five themes, which will help make a real difference in your church life:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Management of church buildings
  • Management of church land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

Over 220 URCs have registered with the scheme so far.

Getting your church started

A simple online ‘Eco survey’ will help you work out how you’re doing, and give you ideas of what to focus on next. You may find out that you qualify for a Bronze award straight away; if not you’ll get ideas of what you can do to improve your score. Progression to Silver and Gold awards comes through engaging your church leadership and finally from having an independent audit of what you have achieved.

There are plenty of resources on the site which can be useful for elders meetings, church meetings or in services or with youth and children’s work.

Eco Synod

Eco Synod is an award programme that helps Synods to look at their own environmental impact as well as encouraging local churches to participate in Eco Church. Synods progress partly according to the number of congregations in their area achieving the Eco Church award at different levels. 8 of 12 Synods in England and Wales are now registered and working towards an Eco Synod award: West Midlands, Wessex, South West, East Midlands, Southern, Northern, Wales, Mersey.

Next steps

To get started go to to register.

Here is a further encouragement from URC's Youth Assembly 2018:

Eco-Congregation in Scotland

Eco-Congregation Scotland is a movement of Scottish church congregations committed to addressing environmental issues through their life and mission. The vision is for a Scotland that cares for God’s creation, now and forever.

More than 10% of all Scottish churches are now taking part, including 12 URCs, representing 27% of churches in the Synod of Scotland. There are over twenty local networks, run by volunteers, who encourage and help each other to do more to help the environment locally and globally. This is all supported by a small staff based in Edinburgh.

Eco-Congregation Scotland has three strands:
Spiritual living – Making the link between environmental issues and the Christian faith
Practical living – Taking practical action in the church and in the home to reduce our environmental impact
Global living – Influencing attitudes and take action in the local or global community on issues like climate change

Eco-Congregation Scotland can help you with:

  • online resources and a regular newsletter
  • keeping you in touch with news and information
  • assessing congregations for the Eco-Congregation Award
  • running local networks of eco-congregations
  • training volunteers from congregations and local networks

Next steps

For more information visit the Eco-Congregation website.

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