A parish in Derbyshire has transformed its churchyard into a wildlife haven as part of a green drive affecting all aspects of parish life – even the used candles.
Restored churchyard with new plants Glossop Parish Church

The community at Glossop Parish Church of All Saints worked hard to create a “sanctuary” in their churchyard by litter-picking, toilet-twinning, planting perennials and more. 

In working to clear the area around gravestones, the grave of renowned local inventor Isaac Jackson and his wife Harriet was restored by their descendants in collaboration with a local Community Payback team. 

Joining with churches and community groups across Glossopdale, they took part in the ‘Great British Spring Clean’ in April and October and collected a total of over 40 bags of litter from a local ‘grot spot’.

Bags of litter collected around Glossop, lady tying a bag closed Glossop Parish Church

They also partnered with the Church of South India’s Green Schools Programme which works to promote a commitment within Church of South India schools to safeguard the natural environment, and in November launched the Toilet Twin Glossop campaign to raise money to twin toilets in Glossop with new ones built worldwide for those in need of somewhere safe, private, and hygienic to use. 

Their efforts have won them the Gold Eco Church Award, the highest accolade given by the Christian environmental charity A Rocha.

The vicar, the Rev David Mundy, said: “Throughout the year, volunteers from Glossop Parish Church and the local community have been working to make the churchyard a sanctuary for humans, for plants and for animals, including planting perennials to attract pollinators, and making the churchyard attractive to visitors.” 

Christmas Tree and candles Glossop Parish Church

The church also had a green Christmas, renting a Christmas tree which Rev David said is returned after Christmas so it can continue growing. 

They also sent candle stubs and used tea lights to a company in the southwest of England who recycle them into candles. 

Nationally, there are currently 1,134 Bronze, 394 Silver and 23 Gold Eco Churches across the Church of England. 

Source URL: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/stories-blogs-and-features/congregation-turns-historic-churchyard-wildlife-haven