Working for Justice

Pilgrim UC wins first SA Five Leaf Eco Award

Jeff Telfer (Green Team) and Marelle Harisun (Chair of Church Council) receive the awards from Jessica Morthorpe (centre), Director of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards

Pilgrim Uniting Church has become the first South Australian church to be recognised by the Five Leaf Eco-Awards for their environmental achievements.

The Five-Leaf Eco Awards are an ecumenical initiative for churches and religious organisations to assist, inspire and reward churches for the actions they take for the environment.

Director of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Jessica Morthorpe travelled to Adelaide to present Pilgrim Uniting Church with the Basic Certificate and Eco-Worship Award in recognition of their extensive work for the environment.

Actions taken by Pilgrim included:

  • energy efficient lighting
  • energy audit and efficiency measures
  • reducing paper use
  • timers on their hot water urns
  • having an environmental group and environmental guest speakers
  • environment-themed worship and participation in the Season of Creation
  • providing eco resources for their congregation
  • creating a community garden

Pilgrim Minister Rev Dr Greg Elsdon said: “It’s wonderful to be encouraged in the work we are doing for God’s Creation and to be connected into a national network of churches working to care for the earth. There’s a lot happening, and it’s exciting to be part of.”

Ms Morthorpe said she hoped the award would encourage other churches to do their bit for the environment.

“Many churches have already done enough to earn Five Leaf Eco-Awards, they just don’t realise it,” said Jessica.  She encouraged churches to get in touch to share what they are doing for the environment.

The Awards are non-competitive with churches completing tasks from a list of flexible criteria to earn each certificate. There are currently six awards of varying degrees.

One action churches can take is to install solar panels to reduce their carbon emissions and to save money on their electricity bills. The Five Leaf Eco-Award has recorded more than 60 churches that have taken this step. The Uniting Church in the City in Perth has the largest solar installation in the whole of the Perth CBD.

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards website includes a wide range of resources to help congregations who want to become more sustainable.