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Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 11:34 UK
Exeter church wins green award
Danny Lawrence
By Danny Lawrence
BBC Radio Devon

The leadership team receives their award.
Belmont Chapel has received recognition for its green efforts

A pioneering Devon church has received national recognition for its green efforts.

Belmont Chapel in central Exeter is the first church in the city to be given the Eco-Congregation Award.

The charity A Rocha UK presents this award to congregations who find links between faith and caring for the environment.

One hundred and sixty four churches around the UK have gained the accolade since it was introduced in 2002.

A Rocha is an international conservation organisation that sees hope in the way mankind looks after God's planet.

Belmont Chapel members arrive by bike
Church members arrive by bike on Slow Down Sunday

Named after the Portuguese word for "rock", the charity engages with Christians to better understand how to care for creation.

The 550 members of Belmont Chapel have been rewarded for finding ways to preserve our natural resources.

They have installed bicycle racks, and held a Slow Down Sunday, when people were encouraged to journey to church in a green-friendly way, leaving their cars behind.

The church has been given an overhaul, with the introduction of energy monitors.

The amount of energy consumed can therefore be examined, and wasteful practices stopped.

They have also looked to the community to take part, installing things like battery recycling points on the premises.

Derek Burnside, one of the leadership team at Belmont Chapel, believes there's an extra appetite for sustainability among Christians.

"The Bible teaches us that God has given us stewardship of his creation," said Derek.

The Eco-Congregation Award
Belmont Chapel is the first church in Exeter to receive the award

"He expects us to treat it as a blessing and not a commodity to be used up."

Clive Hughes, another of the leadership team, has been impressed with the congregation's enthusiasm.

"We developed a number of sermons and discussion groups," said Clive.

"They explored the relationship between Christian discipleship and climate change issues."

Clive has also put faith in church members to continue the drive for some time.

"The award is valid for three years.

"We have to encourage people to review their lifestyles and to see a deeper commitment to good stewardship as part of following Jesus Christ in every aspect of life."




SEE ALSO
Church people preserving the past
26 May 10 |  Religion & Ethics
Plymouth students' mercy mission
25 May 10 |  Religion & Ethics
Church brings the world to Exeter
09 Apr 10 |  Religion & Ethics

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