Diocese of Cashel and Ossory

The Diocese of Cashel and Ossory (Church of Ireland) has undertaken many eco initiatives. The diocese adopted a Green Charter in 2008, which all parishes have signed up to and display on their premises.

The Diocese Eco Committee has brought this charter to General Synod in the hopes that a similar charter will be adopted by all dioceses within the Church of Ireland.

St Johns Kilkenny The group produces an eco newsletter and organises regular seminars. Past topics have included ‘Our Christian Responsibility to the Global Effects of Climate Change’ and ‘Water – We Can’t Live Without It’. These events are followed by a question-and-answer session and stalls are available about eco glazing, alternative energy systems, composting, pump systems for energy systems and eco baby products.

Many parishes within the diocese have undertaken eco projects and the Diocese Eco Committee holds an annual Diocesan

Environmental Awards evening to recognise these environmental endeavours. Also, environmental awareness and action competitions are organised for young people.

The following are a few examples of eco initiatives undertaken by individual parishes in Cashel and Ossory Diocese:

An animal blessing service is held in Kilkenny each October with animals as diverse as horses, roosters, fish, cats … and many dogs! Children in the Kilkenny Group grew pumpkins from seed for their Harvest festivals.

Restoration of St Laserian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin, has been undertaken in an environmentally sound manner, including the installation of solar-heated water pipes into a central wall to combat damp.

St Lactains, Freshford installed a solar-powered heating

system,C&O - Goresbridge which keeps both the church and parish centre at a comfortable 18 degrees Celsius.

Stradbally parishioners have been protecting the ancient ruins within the graveyard over many years and have replaced trees. Solar panels have been installed in Stradbally Rectory and the church is being insulated.

The parish church of Grange Sylvae hosts a spectacular display of cowslips during the summer months. Parish members have collected the precious seeds and offered them to other parishes within the diocese, which had the appropriate soil type and conditions suited to the cowslip. Seeds have also been packaged and made available to Synod members.

Carlow Parish held some of its confirmation classes out in the open, identifying trees and animals for a parish project. The local wildlife officer was invited to visit the churchyard area and advise on how to make it more welcoming to local wildlife. Since then trees and shrubs have been planted and bird boxes have been installed.

Parishioners of St John's carried out work in the graveyard area to ensure a butterfly-friendly environment. The Sunday School invited all of the children from the otherC&O - Carlow 2three Sunday Schools in the Kilkenny group to visit their church to view a demonstration bee-hive and learn all about the life-cycle of the honey bee from a local bee keeper.

Wexford and Kilscoran Union identified and tackled areas where changes could be made to help the churches become greener.

Goresbridge and Stradbally have wildflower meadows. Carlow is planting one and is keeping one corner of the property wild as a natural habitat.

Abbeyleix National School is surrounded by church land and the local vestry is allowing the local Grow It Yourself group to use part of the land for allotments. The plot is visible to the school and the nearby road and the growing of fruit and vegetables has created a lot of interest both for the children and the public. Good community relationships are growing out of the project.

Kilkenny College harvests rainwater and has four green flags. The school has been involved in helping to get clean water toC&O - Carlowremote villages in Afghanistan. It also promotes the growing of vegetables in Swaziland and Rwanda where there is a big AIDS problem and many families have no adults. Teenagers and children are being taught to grow vegetables to feed themselves.

A number of parishes in the diocese hold Harvest festivals, animal blessing services, Plough Sundays, Walk-to-Church Sundays and rogation-tide prayers.

Congratulations to Cashel and Ossory on receiving an Eco-Congregation Ireland diocesan award on 20th April 2013! It is the first Church of Ireland diocese to receive an award, although three individual Church of Ireland parishes have - Rathfarnham and Whitechurch in Dublin, and St Molua's in Belfast. You can read about the diocese receiving its award at the ECI Roadshow in Kilkenny on 20th April 2013 here.

C&O - Kilkenny blessing of animals