Stone Church, St Mary the Virgin
13th Century parish church of Stone-next-Dartford, Kent
A place of welcome, prayer, healing and peace.
Eco Church is an A Rocha UK project, run in partnership with Christian Aid, The Church of England, The Methodist Church, Tearfund, The United Reformed Church and Allchurches Trust Limited.
A Rocha UK is a charity committed to mobilising Christians to care for nature.
Here at St Mary's a small group from the congregation continues to work on the A Rocha eco church project. It completed the initial questionnaire to get an understanding of where we are now in terms of our current eco status, and is continuing to address those areas where more work needs to be done.
We will share news of our progress and hope that our work will encourage others to work with us both within the church family and across our local and wider community.
Click the logo for more information about A Rocha UK
Our churchyard has been closed for many years with grass cutting carried out by the local council.
Part of it is maintained as a 'wild' area allowing grasses and wild plants to grow uncut through the months from March to September. It attracts a wide variety of insects and birds and provides cover for the foxes who have a den by the churchyard wall.
A very impressive 'bug hotel' has been built in the churchyard along with bat boxes and bird boxes which are installed on some of the larger trees. Our local Stone Guides helped with this project and it was dedicated at a special service, attended by our archdeacon on 4th October 2021, St Francis' day.
At St Mary's this month .....
Our focus in the October - December 2022 period is our outdoor environment and planning a more eco-friendly Christmas.
We have a new display in church illustrating the areas of focus and are encouraging our church congregation to make their own gardens and outdoor spaces more wildlife friendly. There is advice on water harvesting, composting, about not being over tidy in the garden, and encouraging the planting bulbs for winter and spring. Free seeds are available to everyone for planting - all harvested from our own plants during the late summer.
More advice on the considering the types of purchased Christmas cards and wrapping paper, particularly those containing plastic-based glitter, is on the new noticeboard display in church for everyone to look at.
St Mary's is delighted to have now achieved a Silver Eco church award.
The award and commemorative plaque were presented during our morning Eucharist on 30th October 2022 by the Mayor of Dartford, Cllr Paul Cutler, and can be seen on display in the church porch.
We were delighted to have achieved our Bronze award. A plaque was presented to us by the Bishop on Tuesday 15th February 2022.
We continue to encourage all to check their carbon footprint and anyone can do this through either of these links:
Caring for creation
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Did you know ...
You can reduce junk mail by contacting The Mailing Preference Service on 0845 7034 599 or you can visit their website https://www.mpsonline.org.uk
Reduce throw away packaging by buying one big packet rather than lots of small packets.
There is a website called Upcycle That. They provide innovative ideas on how to upcycle items.
Street Bank is a website that connects local people and helps them give things away and share things with local people.
Planting for pollinators
Our old churchyard, like so many others, has many graves which have not been tended or visited by any family members for many decades.
An 'adopt a grave' scheme is being trialled by a few members of the congregation who have each selected a very old and neglected grave and cleared out old grass and weed roots. Planting of the chosen sites with wildlife friendly plants and spring bulbs has been taking taking place throughout the year and the scheme is already encouraging others to take part.
Home-made bird- feeders made by a member of the congregation are appreciated by the churchyard wildlife.