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Chinnor Churches Go Wild

Churches in the village of Chinnor, in Oxfordshire, are joined in a commitment to caring for God’s creation and the natural world.

A group of volunteers from the four Anglican churches in the United Parish of Chinnor, Sydenham, Aston Rowant, and Crowell, and the Chinnor Methodist Church lead the environment group Chinnor Churches Go Wild.

Chinnor Churches Go Wild marquee with a stall in a fieldThe group started in 2017 and aims to promote and protect the natural environment in each of the churchyards, to improve wildlife habitat in the local community, and to engage more local people in nature. The 10 or so volunteers act as reps for their churches and encourage environmental and sustainability action among the congregations. Their efforts have resulted in churches being awarded Eco Church status with the A Rocha scheme – St Peter and St Paul, Aston Rowant, is a Silver Eco Church, and St Andrew’s, Chinnor, is a Bronze Eco Church.

Wildflowers and areas of long grass left unmown in the churchyards have provided habitat for wildlife including slow worms, grass snakes, swifts, bats, hedgehogs, and several butterfly and bee species taking up residence.

The group also organise environmental events for the whole community to be involved in, such as flower festivals, churchyard surveys, children and family events, bird and bat walks, and has hosted a recent Forest Church in the churchyard at St Andrew’s Church.

Lauretta Milligan, Chinnor Churches Go Wild rep for St Andrew’s Church, explains more:

“Our joint working means that we can share our experiences and resources within the community. It’s an opportunity for the church to demonstrate that caring for God’s creation is an important part of the Christian faith.

“It’s also about being able to learn about nature, enjoying God’s creation and not taking it for granted. We want to be able to pass this enjoyment and value for nature onto young families and the next generation. It’s a joy to be able to have young families, many of whom are non-churchgoers, involved in forest church and the other community events throughout the year.”

St Andrew's Churchyard with poppies and people walkingChinnor Churches Go Wild work closely with A Rocha through their Partners in Action programme and with local Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). These partnerships have provided opportunities for the group to receive funding to install hedgehog boxes in each churchyard, build swift boxes to help protect the endangered species and develop their knowledge of caring for the natural environment where they are.

Responding to the environmental crises facing our planet

As Christians, we're called to care for God's creation, and the climate issues facing our planet are hugely important to us. Since the Oxford Diocesan Synod declared a climate emergency in March 2020, our Environment Task Group is overseeing an ambitious programme of change aiming to reach net zero by 2035. Read and find out more

Page last updated: Tuesday 4th April 2023 8:32 AM
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