Is your church green? If so, wonderful! If not, are you interested? Join in the Biblical mandate to care for and be stewards of all that God so lovingly created. It’s easy to become a Green Church, and there are lots of resources out there to help.
How does a church become a Green Church? Put out a call for like-minded church members to form a Creation Care Ministry Team. Together, keep God’s creation in your prayers, for the healing of the earth and for your efforts to make a difference. Next, ask your congregation to sign the Green Church Initiative Covenant (GCIC). Then begin to use the Green Church Initiative (GCI) as a guide and resource for the greening of your church. It’s that simple!
What steps might you take? The GCI gives your church a framework to focus on those steps. The GCI is organized around worship, discipleship, stewardship, mission, and evangelism, with recommendations for each category. For example, for worship hold an “Earth Sabbath” or “Festival of God’s Creation”. Include regular prayers for God’s creation or select hymns that praise God’s creation. As part of discipleship, perhaps hold a training event on organic gardening or create a display uplifting creation care. For stewardship, maybe develop a system to recycle or begin composting. Reduce the amount of paper the church uses. Carry out an energy audit for your facility. For the mission category, plant a church garden and donate the produce to a local food bank. Give energy-saving devices to lower-income families and help install them. And as efforts in evangelism, you could publicize your efforts to care for God’s creation in your local newspaper or online news site. There are many possibilities for action in the GCI.
Where can you find additional information and resources? The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement is a grassroots network of members from throughout the church, including people from several boards and agencies like United Methodist Women, Church and Society and Global Ministries. Information from various sources is compiled on the website umcreationjustice.org. There you can find upcoming events, such as UMW’s Just Energy for All webinar series or Global Ministry’s Earthkeeper Training. As well you will find monthly tips on creation care. This month the tips include: switch from paper napkins and towels to washable, reusable cloth ones; stop wearing plastic; shop organic; start a garden indoors; and many more. Pick one or two for your congregation to focus on. Start small and build over time.
The Creation Justice Movement is growing in Virginia through efforts in local congregations near you, and with the support of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society Creation Justice Team.
So, as we approach Earth Day 2021, I want to encourage all of us to GO GREEN!
For more information please contact:
Karen McElfish firstname.lastname@example.org
Arlington District Lay Leader