All the category winners of Church Times National Award Winners outside Lambeth Palace

A proper David and Goliath story, St Wenn Church has won the prestigious Church Times Green Church Award. That’s no mean feat when you consider this tiny Cornish church was up against the likes of Gloucester Cathedral.

St Wenn cut its fuel bills to almost nothing by sharing a biomass boiler with the school next door. A cold expensive-to-heat church has been transformed into a warm welcoming community hub with impeccably green credentials.

Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, who announced the winners of the Church Times Green Church Awards at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on October 16th, said, “It is a beautiful example of the pastoral mission of the parish church being care for the community and the members of the community caring for and becoming the parish church.”

Archbishop Justin Welby says, “Dedication and devotion extraordinary.”

In a message to the finalists, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation. Meanwhile, to love our neighbour – particularly, in this case, our neighbour whom we may never meet but who lives daily with the profound threat posed by this moral crisis – is at the core of what it is to follow Jesus Christ.”

‘The dedication and devotion of those shortlisted for the Green Church awards is extraordinary and their recognition well deserved,” Archbishop Justin Welby

Green gold

Revd Elke Deeley struck green gold when she asked local resident Stephen Chidgey to get involved. “It was a big ask from an 800-year-old, medieval, Grade 1 listed building,” says Stephen, “But the community pulled together, rolled up their sleeves and pooled talent and resources, and we did it.”

They certainly did. Many, many congratulations to everyone at St Wenn, in particular Stephen, who couldn’t be at the awards ceremony, and churchwardens, Barbara Crowle and Pam Thurlow and the fantastic community that didn’t hesitate to get behind this vision.