A CHURCH near Denbigh has become only the second in Wales to scoop a top award for it’s eco credentials.

St Sadwrn Church in Henllan has achieved Gold Eco Church Status, following in the footsteps of St Peter’s Church in Llanbedr, near Ruthin.

Both churches are in the Diocese of St Asaph, which has encouraged registration with the Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK’s Eco Church Award scheme.

The gold award acknowledges the church’s commitment to walk in step with nature and put creation care at the heart of what they do – in their worship and teaching, use of buildings and land, community and global engagement and by making lifestyle changes.

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Among the key reasons for St Sadwrn’s success has been the weekly Henllan Warm Hub, which serves a two-course hot meal, created entirely from food which would otherwise go to landfill.

The warm hub, held in Henllan Church Institute next door to the church, has been running for more than a year and a dedicated team of volunteers collect surplus food from local supermarkets each week.

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Gaynor Kumria, one of the organisers of Henllan Warm Space and chair of the Henllan Church Institute ,said: “We’re delighted to have received the gold award, but we know there is plenty more that we can do here. At the Henllan warm space, everything we make is cooked from surplus food that the supermarkets aren’t using or are at the end of date.

"Everyone coming is helping the planet by eating fresh food which would otherwise be thrown away. We’re thrilled with how the community has come together to support the Warm Space and I’m so pleased that this has been such a significant factor in our Gold Award.”

You can find out more about Henllan Warm Space in this film: https://dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/henllan-warm-space/

In addition, the church has created a meditative bee-garden to help pollinating insects throughout the year, and a cow-slip bank in the churchyard. Plus, they have installed solar panels on the roof of Henllan Church Institute and insulated the roof with sheep fleece.

There are water-saving devices in the toilets, LED lights in the Institute and church, and environmentally friendly cleaning products are always used.

One of the church wardens at St Sadwrn, Charlotte Jones, compiled much of the evidence to support the church’s claim for gold.

She said: “I think we all feel invigorated by this award. It’s due to the hard work of lots of people but it doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. There is much more that we can do both to engage our local community and speak truth to power.”

The Revd Alyson Goldstein, a curate in the Denbigh Mission Area given the task to get every church signed up as an Eco Church, said: “Congratulations to the congregation and community of Henllan.

"This is a well-deserved award. They were dedicated and committed to the task and in many ways were already well on the way to achieving the award, with the existing work being done.”

Delyth Higgins, Eco Church Officer for Wales, said: “I am delighted to be awarding the second Gold in Wales. This group have worked diligently over a few years to get to this point, which is a huge achievement. They are not resting on their laurels though and have plenty of plans for future activities to further enhance and deepen their action to help both the climate and nature emergencies, in the context of serving their local community. They truly are an example for others to learn from.”

A Rocha UK aims to equip churches and individuals to create a movement to help restore biodiversity at a local level in this critical decade for the climate.

Now in its ninth year, the Eco Church award scheme brings together a national community of churches addressing the environmental crisis, using a common framework, an online toolkit, learning and speaking up together.

There are now more than 7,000 Eco Churches in England and Wales– around 18% of churches.

A Rocha UK aims, by 2025, to engage at least 25% of churches in ongoing action to protect nature and address climate change through the free scheme. Find out more here https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk

St Sadwrn Church in Henllan is part of the Denbigh Mission Area, a collection of churches working and ministering together in communities surrounding the town of Denbigh.

The Mission Area is one of 19 in the Diocese of St Asaph, which is part of the Church in Wales.