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Edinburgh: celebrations for 300th 'green-friendly' church

Priestfield Parish Church in Edinburgh is the 300th church in Scotland to register as an eco-congregation ...

Priestfield Parish Church in Edinburgh is the 300th church in Scotland to register as an eco-congregation, reports Ekklesia.

A celebration at the Presbyterian church took place on Monday (20 January 2014) to mark this milestone.

"It’s refreshing to remind ourselves just how new and how vibrant his movement is," commented the Rev Sally Foster Fulton, convenor of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council.

The first eco–congregation in Scotland was established at Callander in 2001 and since then it has grown steadily, embracing all parts of the country and all the main Christian denominations.

It is now a charity open to all churches and is managed by an ecumenical board of directors.

The northernmost eco-congregations in Scotland are at Westray and Papa Westray in Orkney and the most southerly at Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway.

Adds Ms Foster Fulton: "There are eco-congregations linked to Scotland far afield. St. Andrews Church in Brussels recently registered and brought with it a partner church in Ghana. We also work closely with church of Scotland partners, the Reformed Church of Hungary to help them develop the Hungarian programme; ‘Ökogyülekezet’.

"The range of work undertaken by eco-congregations is wide and impressive. Many work on food projects; and Creation Time each September has been come a regular part of the calendar of worship in churches. A small but symbolic act is WWF earth hour, this year on 29 March, when over 100 churches across Scotland will be turning off their lights for an hour to draw attention to the risks of climate change.

"We can draw strength and hope from all these actions and the faith that underpins them. While the challenges of caring for creation seem daunting and governments around the world seem unable or unwilling to tackle climate change, churches and congregations are saying in ever greater numbers we must act. So congratulations to all involved," she concluded on her regular blog.

The eco-congregation movement is part of a growing interest in, and engagement with, environmental concerns, sustainability issues, 'Creation care' and green theology in the churches.

* Eco-congregation Scotland: http://www.ecocongregationscotland.org

* Kirk Church and Society Council blog: http://cos.churchofscotland.org.uk/blogs/church_and_society/

Photos: top: Priestfield Parish Church; above left: Rev Dr Jared Hay; above right: The Celebratory cake is cut by Sarah Boyack MSP and James Ferguson, who leads the Priestfield EC group

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