The Diocese of Leeds was well represented among the winners in this year’s Church Times Green Awards, announced this week at Lambeth Palace. Two out of five winning individuals who shared the prize in the Green Champion category come from the Diocese of Leeds - Dr. Judith Allinson, a member of the Diocesan Environment Group from St John’s Methodist Church, Settle, and Dr. Suzanne Dalton from St Chad’s, Far Headingley, Leeds.
In addition, Bradford Cathedral won a highly commended award in the Biodiversity Category, while Sharow church near Ripon was commended and a film shown of it's work,
The ecumenical awards, which were last held ten years ago, attracted 117 entries from across the country in five categories.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Justin Welby praised the ‘extraordinary’ devotion of the Green Awards winners. In a message to the finalists, he said: “Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation. The dedication and devotion of those shortlisted for the Green Church awards is extraordinary and their recognition well deserved.”
The Green Champion Award, one of several categories, was shared by five people. The judges praised joint winner Dr Judith Allinson of Settle, North Yorkshire, a botanical surveyor, (pictured right) for her passion and enthusiasm for communicating and educating, and also her ecumenical approach and tireless dedication. Dr Allinson is a current member of the Diocesan Environment Group and is involved in several ecumenical projects both locally and within the diocese.
Dr Suzanne Dalton, St Chad’s, Far Headingley (pictuered left), another joint-winner was praised by the judges for the inclusive way in which she had involved everyone, and her infectious enthusiasm for the environment.
Mike Willison, of St Chad's Green Team, says, "Suzanne headed up the Green Team from its inception in 2001. It's her tireless work in establishing the Green Team and bringing environmental issues to the fore that resulted in St Chad's gaining numerous awards for its environmental work, including three Eco-congregation Awards, an Eco-Church silver award and the Biodiversity Award at the last Church Times Green Awards.
“She has also very generously donated her share (£200) of the Green Champion Award to St Chad's Green Team to further its work."
Bradford Cathedral won highly commended in the Biodiversity category, won by St James’ Finchampstead, Berkshire. The cathedral has introduced several innovations and last year received its third Eco-congregation award under an award scheme run by Christian environmental charity ARocha. The nomination recognises the contribution the cathedral has made to a city-wide tree planting project. Canon Mandy Coutts said, "We realised the Cathedral's paper usage equalled nearly ten trees per year and wanted to do something about it. With the help of Forest of Bradford, an exciting local initiative to increase tree cover throught the district, we began planting trees to create a legacy for generations to come and will continue to do so into the future."
Also commended in the final was St John’s Church Sharow, near Ripon which, earlier in the year, took part in the Cherishing Our Churchyard Week, which saw local schools and charities assisting with biodiversity surveys, moth captures and churchyard trails. A film of its work was shown during the Awards ceremony.
The awards were presented by the Bishop of Salisbury, and the C of E’s leading spokesman on environmental affairs, the Rt Revd Nick Holtam.
Speaking at the Awards he said,, “That our striving to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth is one of what, for Anglicans, are “the five marks of mission”, makes it clear that the care of creation is core discipleship. It is part of the mission of the Christian Church: a joyful thanksgiving for creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life, and a commitment to the redemptive healing of the world.”
The awards were organised by the Church Times in partnership with the C of E’s national environment programme, Shrinking the Footprint.