Young Church win a prize for FairTrade Fred!

Young Church won a runners-up prize from the FairTrade organization for their “FairTrade Fred” sculpture made out of FairTrade wrappers and boxes! Today after church they opened their prize which consisted of a large assortment of FairTrade chocolate and various other FairTrade items.

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Energy Saving Challenge!

ecocongregationCutting Carbon at Home Competition

Discover ways of cutting your electricity bills, make the changes and you might win a prize in the process!

Week 1: Register by e-mailing us at eco@stmarysdunblane.org. Collect an energy monitor from Dunblane Library and record your normal household consumption for 7 days. For help to set up the monitor, please e-mail us.

Week 2: Download our Energy Saving Tips Leaflet (or collect one from the back of church) and put as many tips as you can into practice.

Week 3: Record energy consumption again

Week 4: Send your results to us with a list of what you did to achieve a reduction in electricity use before the end of June. The largest reduction will win a prize!

Fairtrade Breakfast – Photos

Today a Fairtrade Breakfast was held in the church hall between the morning church services:

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Young Church built a person out of all the Fairtrade wrappers and packaging collected by the congregation – They’re now trying to decide what to name him!

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The winning entries from the “design a placemat” competition for St Mary’s School pupils:

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Car Miles Saving Scheme

The results of our Walk to St Mary’s Survey in May were very encouraging. They showed that a majority of those who responded already walked or shared cars to get to the church and the hall and that most of those who didn’t were willing to give more environmentally friendly methods a go. As a result, the Eco Congregation Group are now inviting members of the congregation to join in a wider scheme. The idea is that we all make a note of all the journeys we make during the week either by car-sharing or by using alternative means of transport (train, bike, walking etc) when we would usually have travelled by car.
The scheme is very simple. Packs of tickets are available at the back of church. Please enter on the tickets the mode of transport, number of people travelling and the length of the journey. Tickets will be collected during the services each Sunday as part of our weekly offering to God. In a small way, we will be doing something practical towards helping reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions which are destroying our planet.
This scheme was devised by the Eco Congregation Group at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church last year. In the first two weeks of the scheme, the congregation saved the emission of a staggering 1.2 metric tonnes (1,200 Kg) of these damaging gases! The congregation have extended the ticket scheme beyond the end of their project in March 2012 and it now has become a permanent feature of many members’ lives and of the weekly eucharist at St Andrew’s.

Eco Congregation Group Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Monday October 1st at 7.30pm at Gleniffer, Doune Road, Dunblane. Anyone interested in joining us will be very welcome to attend.

Fairtrade Breakfast – Sunday 28th October

We will be holding a congregational Fairtrade Breakfast on Sunday 28th October in the Church Hall.

The breakfast, a One World Week event, will be held between the two services. You are welcome to come any time between 9 and 10am. There will be a Fairtrade stall, information about Fairtrade goods and activities for children. Please feel free to invite friends. Invitation cards will be available at the back of church. Help is needed to set up the hall, to prepare the food and to wash up. Please get in touch with Jeanette, Nerys or Kate.

Autumn Update

This summer has been a busy and exciting time for our group. Here is the latest news on our various projects.

St Mary’s Wildflower Garden

The garden has been a delight to all visitors to the church and hall throughout the summer, but this is only the beginning … Next year when the biennials flower and the perennials are established there will be even more colour and variety! Look out for the guide we have produced to the 25 varieties of native plants which were sown in the garden with the help of On the Verge Stirling. We will need help to collect the seeds of the annuals and to mow the garden on Saturday 1st September, 10 – 12. Come if you can! We hope to develop other areas of the church grounds during the autumn. Please get in touch if you have any ideas or would like to get involved.

Church Hall Eco-Refurbishment Project

The hall will be cosier this winter thanks to the new suspended ceiling with insulation wool above. We are now working towards the installation of double glazing and cavity wall insulation during the school’s October holiday week. Because the cost of the ceiling was less than we originally allowed for, our funder, the Climate Challenge Fund, has agreed to let us use the outstanding money on other insulation work which will possibly include thermal black-out blinds in the high level windows and new doors. By the time winter comes we should be able to assess how much of an improvement we have in keeping the hall warm.

Recycling @ St Mary’s

At the beginning of the summer we reviewed our recycling facilities. The hall now has a paper recycling box and a bin for tea bags and coffee grounds and outside the kitchen door there are brown and grey bins and boxes for cans and plastic bottles, all clearly labelled.

Walk to St Mary’s Week

A great big thank you to those who completed the survey and promised to try walking or sharing cars during the last week in May! It was reassuring to discover that so many of you are already using environmentally friendly ways of travelling to and from St Mary’s. During September and October, we hope to broaden the project by running a Car Miles Saving Scheme among members of St Mary’s Church which will involve issuing tickets on which to note the number of miles we have travelled every week using methods that are more eco-friendly than driving our own cars, e.g. public transport, walking or cycling, sharing a car etc.

Use your LOAF

We are currently running a survey among church members to work out the number of miles the food we buy travels to get to our plates. Look out for a display in the hall during the autumn on using the LOAF principles when choosing what food to buy:
L- Locally produced, O- Organically grown, A- Animal friendly,
F- Fairly traded

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at eco@stmarysdunblane.org

Latest Wildflower Garden Photos

The Wildflower Garden is thriving now – Here are a couple of photos:

Wildflower Garden Update

More flowers have appeared in our Wildflower Garden!

First flower in the Wildflower Garden!

After months of the Wildflower Garden looking like a patch of weeds the first flower has bloomed!

Eco Bible Study

Eco Bible Study every other Thursday at 7.45. First meeting held in St Mary’s Church Hall on 26th April.  Many Bible verses describe the beauty of the world and God’s relationship to it. In fact, the new Collins Green Bible highlights more than  1,000 references to earth.  These will be the focus of a study which will provide  an opportunity to contemplate our natural environment and explore what Christian faith tells us about  our responsibilities to it. Everybody welcome!

The Wildflower Garden is sprouting…

If you look closely the wildflower garden planted in the churchyard a few weeks ago is just beginning to show some life!

Church Hall Eco-Refurbishment Project

We are delighted to announce that St Mary’s has been awarded a grant of £20,987.92 from the Climate Challenge Fund! The grant is specifically for improving the church hall insulation (both in the walls and ceiling) and installing replacement double-glazing – This should reduce our energy wastage in the hall, both reducing our heating costs and making our existing heating more effective.
This is only part of our overall project though – We have planned a longer-term project to reduce the carbon footprint of our church hall, and to raise awareness of energy use and wastage amongst the hall users and the wider community, resulting in actual changes of behaviour to reduce their own individual carbon footprints.
Over the coming months we will be doing a number of activities to achieve this aim – Some of these are:
• Working with St Mary’s Primary School to monitor energy usage in both our hall and St Blane’s Church Hall
• A survey on transport methods for hall users and church-goers
• Improved recycling facilities in the hall and an awareness campaign
• Campaign to reduce food wastage – Learning from the school’s recent success with this
• Walk To School Week in May will be expanded to encompass hall users and church-goers
This is a big project, but we hope you agree that reducing our impact on the environment and wasting less of its precious resources is part of our Christian mission – And we can perhaps inspire and encourage behaviour change in the wider community too.
In the coming months we have a lot to organize and think about – If you would like to get involved with anything please get in touch with one of us. Let’s continue doing what we’re so good at doing at St Mary’s – working together using our differing skills for a common aim!
Kate, Nerys, Rosemary B, John, & Chris
(On behalf of St Mary’s Eco Congregation Group)

Eco Congregation Group News

Latest news:

With the permission of the Vestry, the group is currently looking into the possibility of obtaining a grant to reduce heat loss from the hall by istalling insulation and double glazing.
We are also working closely with St Mary’s school with raising awareness of environmental issues, and we hope to involve pupils in monitoring improvements in heating efficiency and comfort in the church hall. The school has invited St Mary’s Church to be represented on its own Eco Committee, to help pass information back and forth and share ideas.

Any members of the congregation who would like to become involved are very welcome to join the group.

Further updates will follow – In the meantime you might like to take a look at: Going Carbon Neutral Stirling’s website