Sacred Heart parish and the Lauriston Jesuit Centre in Edinburgh have been presented with two 'Eco Congregation' awards. The parish was the first Catholic parish in the archdiocese to receive an eco congregation award, and only the second Catholic church in Scotland to do so, while the Lauriston Jesuit Centre is the first church centre of any denomination to be given an award in its own right, separate from the church of which it is a part. The parish has been registered as an eco-congregation church for two years.
The award was made by Eco Congregations Scotland in recognition of Sacred Heart's work in conservation and the environment.
"The priests take the opportunity to bring the environment into homilies," explains Fr Chris Boles SJ, Director of the Lauriston Centre. "Our children have eco-focal points at various times of the year; we celebrate a harvest festival each year; we regularly have bidding prayers on eco matters; we marked the Copenhagen Earth Summit with bell ringing, part of a global action with churches all over the world (since we don't have church bells the children all took bells and rang them during the offertory procession!); and our prayers for peace in Advent had a strong eco theme."
Children of the parish have designed posters to encourage re-cycling and energy-saving measures have been introduced throughout the church and the Jesuit Centre. "The programme at the Lauriston Centre has a lot of environmentally focussed events," said Fr Boles. "Our speakers have included Mary Colwell, Sean McDonagh, Alastair MacIntosh and Aubrey Manning. And special events have taken place: Ranger Guided Nature Walk, Dawn Chorus Experience, Visit to Dynamic Earth, Creation Vigil, and more. We have also done a very major refurbishment of the building with a lot of eco-measures."
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