Moncreiff Parish Church – Story of Climate Change.
Locally people will have seen the new windows – big windows – being fitted at Moncreiff Church and wondered how on earth that was possible. Moncreiff Parish Church in Calderwood were the fortunate recipients of a significant grant from the Scottish Government via the Climate Change Fund (CCF). It was a time-limited grant fund that was to be used by the end of March 2022 for both physical changes to the building to reduce its carbon footprint, and encourage energy efficiency throughout the parish and beyond. We are hugely grateful for the £166,000 financial help and practical support we have received from their dedicated CCF staff team. Despite the challenges of the pandemic which seriously curtailed the work of our Energy Efficiency Officer – David Kennedy, much change has taken place not just in renovations but in lifestyles and budgets.
The Climate Crisis is a challenge facing us all and as a Church we are called to look after God’s creation. Through the project we have helped households apply for Warm Home Discounts and over 20 households in fuel poverty gain grant funding of more than £15,000 to help with power debts and help mitigate the impending fuel price rise. Those who accessed his expertise were so impressed with his help and you can read feedback on our Facebook page. Not only that his energy saving tips have made a difference to budgets, but waste reduction, recycling and carbon footprint reduction have helped the environment as well. The Church now has a Ragbag recycling point, has a printer ink cartridges recycling bin, whilst all the main areas in the Church building have multiple bins to maximise recycling.
David has been to many of the organisations including the Guild, Brownies, Girls Brigade and also the Chill Out Club who meet in the building plus online and in person workshops, drop in consultations and church services to share his knowledge and passion. One very wet afternoon in November he helped organise the COP26 Climate Vigil where we all got soaked as well as a two week display that was available for all hall users to read and pick up shower timers and room temperature guides. The young people in the Church helped to promote climate care through a poster campaign.
The CCF funding required the employment of an Energy Efficiency Officer and we are so pleased to have worked with David over these past two years. We wish him well going forward and we will continue his work through our commitment to promoting care for the environment. Our next step following on from his role is that we are now registered as an Eco-Congregation and will be working towards getting our Bronze and Silver awards.
We are grateful for the support from Kirsten Robb, EK Coordinator, Scottish Green Party who said:
‘Moncreiff Parish have really taken on the mantle to do their bit to care for the planet we all rely on. They have worked hard to make the church more energy efficient and recycle more waste. And having attended their open days, I can see they have also helped local members of the community to save energy and reduce their energy bills. Keep up your great work Moncreiff! I look forward to continuing to support you.’
Of course the building has undergone a lot of work to reduce its carbon footprint. The majority of the windows including the large floor to ceiling and one of the ‘Star Trek’ windows have been replaced, along with windows throughout the halls and the main doors. In the majority of the building we have energy efficiency LED lighting, some of which is sensor-controlled so that lights cannot be left on. New boilers that now mean we can heat sections of the building instead of the entire building, along with a HIVE system, which was funded in part by Viridor and generous contributions from members and friends. The installation of windows, doors and boilers has resulted in a drop of power consumption of 20%. Indeed the new windows in the sanctuary cutting drafts etc has already made a marked difference on heating in that space, never mind the aesthetics.
It’s been a hugely difficult time for such a project, when much of the focus was to be on home visits, helping us to understand the causes of climate change and to take action to help. Of course when the project began in April 2020 the UK was in the midst of a lockdown. They were sure it would only last a few weeks and then the project could take off. How wrong they were! The encouraging support from the CCF team at the Scottish Government has been brilliant and understanding of the challenges the Church faced.
Reverend Sarah Ross became the minister of Moncreiff Parish Church in mid December 2020 and said that part of the reason for accepting the call was the wonderful mission and community outreach work that was ongoing. The energy and hard work that the congregation had put into their Development plan, the passion with which they believed it was possible, and the effort to make it happen was inspiring. And the fact that they cared for creation and the climate, something very dear to her heart and her understanding of God meant she knew it was the right fit for her. The hope is to continue to develop Moncreiff Parish Church into a full open and welcoming community resource whilst supporting the environment, indeed working towards a brighter future for all. Plans are in the wings for improving disabled access and for cafe/drop in space.
She said ‘I am very excited to work alongside such a forward-thinking and open-hearted congregation and office bearers. They have risen to the challenge of meeting the demands of this grant in the midst of a pandemic and shown great spirit and a genuine desire to care for people and for the environment. This has never been just about the building but about care for creation, and developing a welcoming, comfortable, environmentally and spiritually friendly space that might in time become a well used centre for enabling and supporting the community around us’.