The Diocese of Cashel and Ossory received an environmental award during an eco roadshow held in the River Court Hotel, Kilkenny recently.
The Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) award was made in recognition of the many eco-friendly initiatives that have been undertaken by the Church of Ireland diocese, which includes parishes in Co Kilkenny.
A Green Charter was adopted in 2008, which all 33 parishes in the diocese have signed up to and display on their premises. The diocesan eco committee, which consists of the Right Rev Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, Rev Andrew Orr, Rector of Tullow, and Janet Crampton, organises environmental seminars and an annual eco awards event as well as competitions for young people.
Many parishes in the diocese hold harvest festivals, animal blessing services, Plough Sundays and Walk-to-Church Sundays and have created wildflower meadows. Other eco initiatives have included bee-hive demonstrations, the children in Kilkenny growing pumpkins from seed for harvest, St John’s children creating a butterfly-friendly area in the graveyard and Grange Sylvae parishioners collecting cowslip seeds and distributing them to other parishes.
Restoration of St Laserian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin, has been undertaken in an environmentally-sound manner, including the installation of solar-heated water pipes into a central wall to combat damp. Solar-powered heating has beeen installed in St Lachtain’s, Freshford, and solar panels in Stradbally Rectory.
Presenting the award at the ‘Live Simply, Live Well’ roadshow, Catherine Brennan SSL, chairperson of ECI, said: “Today in the historic city of Kilkenny the Diocese of Cashel and Ossory is making history as the first Church of Ireland diocese in the country to receive an eco award. Their green charter - a comprehensive document - sets out the vision and policy of the diocese for the protection of our fragile planet, not only nationally but globally. The charter is an excellent model for all churches. Respect for, and protection of, the natural environment is not a luxury for Christian churches today but an essential aspect of their life and mission.”
On receiving the award, the Right Rev Michael Burrows said: “Thank you very much, on behalf of us all, for the way you have affirmed and encouraged us in our environmental endeavours and for your encouragement to us to apply for an award. We have benefited from having you inspiring, stirring and examining us.”