Worms and worship at St Mary's

First published 10th August 2020

The team at St Mary’s Marshfield are seeking some unusual new recruits. They’re not refreshing the reading rota or looking for help with the Sunday school, but finding volunteers to help with the new wormery! That’s because St Mary’s is working towards a Bronze Eco Church award, as they thoughtfully extend their Christian stewardship activities to care for the planet and for each other.

In an idyllic setting at the heart of a beautiful village surrounded by rolling hills, the church is making the most of its surrounding land to become a haven for both wildlife and the local community. The most noticeable change has been the rewilding of areas of grassland. Intersected by paths, and marked by sweet blue heart signposts, expanses of glorious flowers and grasses are attracting numerous insects and birds, as well as local people stopping to admire the butterflies. 

There is also a new cut flower area, growing vibrant blooms for flower displays in church to avoid having to buy flowers that are often flown into the UK from abroad. As if that’s not eco enough, they are irrigated by rainwater harvested from the shed roof!

‘So much new life has been brought into the churchyard’ beams Peter Woodward, Eco Church coordinator at St Mary’s. ‘Not only have we already identified eighty plant species – a number that keeps rising every month – but visitors to the church have grown too. Over 100 people followed a socially distanced trail through the church grounds as part of the Open Gardens scheme weekend and raised an impressive £800! You can visit us as part of the heritage open days from 11-20 September, culminating in a special Creation Sunday event on 20th September.' 

The Eco Church scheme is a nationwide programme to help churches think through how their worship and teaching, buildings, land, community engagement and lifestyle can all do more to safeguard and honour God’s precious creation. Taking simple steps to bring creation more closely into our church life isn’t only good for our shared environment, but also missional opportunity as we reach out to our wider communities.

And as for the worms, they’ll soon become the smallest members of the compost team as they work to break down waste to create nourishing soil. 

If your church would like to do more to help protect our environment, consider:
1.    signing up to become an Eco Church and gain an award
2.    focusing one Sunday in September on the environment, as part of the Season of Creation. Worship and liturgy materials are available for you to adapt and use.

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