The Five Leaf Story
The Five Leaf Eco-Awards were founded in late 2008 by Jessica Morthorpe. Jessica, a passionate environmentalist and lifelong Christian, was working for Fairtrade Labelling Australia and New Zealand at the time and was interested in using a similar idea to the Fairtrade label to encourage churches to do more to care for the environment. Jessica felt that the Bible and the Holy Spirit were strongly calling for the Church to do more to care for God’s creation. She was also encouraged by programs overseas in which hundreds of churches were greening their life and worship. Yet it seemed that Australian churches were being overlooked, and many funding opportunities and environmental awards also didn’t apply to churches as they fell through the gap between schools, businesses, households and other community groups.
With the help of a group of people including Dr. Miriam Pepper from Sydney, Jessica developed a set of criteria for a new environmental awards program for churches in Australia. The name “Five Leaf Eco-Awards” was chosen to reflect the five areas the award criteria cover (buildings, worship, congregation, outreach, community leadership), and to avoid the political associations of the term “green”.
The first award in the program was presented to Port Melbourne Uniting Church, Vic on the 18th of January 2009. Since then, the awards have gone from strength to strength, spreading to churches in the ACT and NSW and attracting interest from around the country.
In 2012 the awards were launched in Western Australia with a ceremony at St Luke’s Anglican Church Mosman Park. Awards were presented to St Luke’s, St Denis Catholic Parish Joondanna, Star Street Uniting Church, Wembley Downs Church of Christ and Ross Memorial Uniting Church.
Since then, awards have been presented to St Anselm of Canterbury Anglican Parish Kingsley – Woodvale and St Luke’s Anglican Church Maylands, both in Perth.
Today we are still actively looking for churches anywhere in Australia who are taking action for the environment. Feel free to contact us about getting involved!