Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Eco Church success in Chelmsford

21st May 2020

The lockdown period has given us a vision of how nature can regenerate when humans limit their impact: we hear the birds sing, we breathe in less polluted air, we enjoy nature close to our homes.

Ahead of the lockdown many of our churches were making significant changes to limit their own impact on the environment. Both Chelmsford Cathedral and St John’s Moulsham have recently been awarded the A Rocha Silver ECO Church Award.

The award requires churches to apply ECO principles to five key areas of church life:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Management of church buildings
  • Management of church land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

Chelmsford Cathedral was the second Cathedral in the country to receive the A Rocha Eco Church silver award. This was achieved by making changes in the way they care for buildings and in practices as a church community. As work has needed to be carried out, the Cathedral Works Committee kept sustainability high on their agenda – in the Cathedral Chapter House, dual flush lavatory cisterns, auto shut off taps and movement sensitive lighting have been installed. Lights have been changed to LED, plastic usage has been reduced and recycling increased. Refreshments provided for lettings are Fair Trade and hospitality uses Fair Trade tea and coffee.

Revd Imogen Nay, Canon for Evangelism and Discipleship at Chelmsford Cathedral said:

"I’m so pleased that the Cathedral has been awarded the A Rocha Silver ECO Church Award and it is thanks to the commitment of the whole Cathedral congregation. We have much more that we are doing to help play our part in achieving Net Zero by 2030. Gradual changes which we are all making soon become a regular pattern so we continue to make our cathedral a green environment, caring for creation and being good stewards of God’s earth."

Reverend Gemma Fraser will share their good ECO habits and explain how St John’s achieved their award.

Commenting on the silver award received by St John’s church, Moulsham, Reverend Gemma Fraser said:

“I am proud of how the church and community mobilised to make this a reality; the momentum for this came from the church not from me! We've made changes to our corporate life, including an increased focus on environmental issues in worship and teaching and getting involved in campaigning. We've committed to reducing our carbon footprint (no mean feat in a giant Victorian building). We're reducing consumption and developing our churchyard to better support wildlife. Individuals have also taken the cause to heart and made big changes to their own lifestyles as well as sharing the message with those around them. Our Eco Church journey has played a big part in raising our eyes up from life within the church building and seeing what God is calling us to in His world”.

Gemma will be one of the speakers at the ‘Greening the Church - online conference’ hosted by Chelmsford Cathedral on Saturday 13 June from 9.30am-4:30pm. Gemma will share her church’s good ECO habits and explain how St John’s achieved their award. The day will also include input from A Rocha who will explain how to become an Eco Church and Speakers from Tearfund and Christain Aid will talk about their campaigning and advocacy work.


More information 

A Rocha Eco Church awards

Find out more about A Rocha Eco Church awards at

Greening the Church - online conference’

Greening the Church - online conference’ will be hosted by Chelmsford Cathedral on Saturday 13 June from 9.30am-4:30pm.

The conference will take place on the ‘Greening the Church’ Facebook group ( groups/727013254703425). Please join this group if you would like to take part. More details will be posted to the group in the run up to the conference. Email to be added to the mailing list.