With an award-winning conservation area and over two acres to care for, nobody could accuse parishioners at St John’s Sharow of not being environmentally friendly.
The churchyard has been managed by conservation volunteers for the last 25 years, and has resulted in an award-winning sanctuary for rare species of plant life, animals and insects.
With the arrival of a new parish priest and the provision of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the church will be redoubling their efforts into 2017.
This year, the church is hoping to attain its first Eco-Church award and will be launching an annual Cherishing Churchyards week, part of a national campaign fronted by the Prince of Wales.
The church’s Heritage Learning Officer, Joe Priestley, will be working with local primary schools, disability charities and community groups to open up the churchyard to new audiences.
The week will culminate in a celebratory open day and tea party on Saturday 10 June from 2-4pm, hosted by St John’s parish priest the Reverend Ruth Newton.
Revd Ruth said: “Respecting and caring for the world God created is an important part of the Church’s mission, this is why we are working towards eco-church status.
“One of the cornerstones of this is how we manage our Churchyard in ways that increase bio-diversity.
“This is something to celebrate and share with the whole community.
“I am particularly excited about the work being done with children, which will both encourage their engagement with creation and build an appreciation of the heritage which is on their doorstep.”
For more information about Cherishing Churchyards week visit the St John’s website, stjohnssharow.org.uk.
Details can also be found on Facebook or contact Joe Priestley on 01765 603462 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.