MEMBERS of St Mary’s Church Embsay with Eastby are celebrating having achieved the Silver Eco Church Award.

The Eco Church Scheme covers five categories: worship and teaching, buildings, land, lifestyle and community and global engagement.

A number of new initiatives have helped the church to gain this award. The church now has a monthly environment theme through the year. A series of services, held online during the lockdown had an environmental theme with discussion groups afterwards.

Members of the church were encouraged to carry out an audit of their carbon footprint in January. The vicarage has had a complete set of replacement windows and doors, and new damp proofing, making the building much more energy efficient (and warmer).

In addition, the church, whose vicar is the Reverend Canon Marion Russell, is taking a leading role in the group ‘Towards Carbon Neutral Churches in Craven.’ This group of five churches are working towards being net carbon zero by 2030.

Diana Linford, parish environment officer, St Mary’s Embsay with Eastby, said: “The initiative starts with a feasibility study in 2021 which they intend to share with other churches. The project is supported by the BEIS funded Rural Community Energy Fund which is managed by the North East Yorkshire and Humber Energy Hub and administered by Tees Valley Combined Authority. More information about this project can be found here:

“Members of the church try to consider the environment in all aspects of the church life. Environmentally friendly cleaning materials are used, the churchyard includes an insect hotel, a water butt has been installed on the shed and areas of grass are left unmown for wildflowers to thrive.

The church toilets are now both twinned and toilet paper from recycled sources is used.

The church has been a Fairtrade church since 2012 and Fairtrade dinners were held online for members of the village during the lockdowns.

Anyone interested in the eco activities of the church can find out more at

St Mary’s is a family-friendly church but like others in the district was forced to put holy communion servies on hold during the pandemic.

As the country heads towards further relaxation of the restrictions St Mary’s has listed its services and dates on the website with details of safety measures for worshippers.

All Age Worship (April 11, May 2 and June 6) will remain on Zoom only, returning to the church building from July.