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Eco-Journey is the blog of the Environmental Ministries Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It includes a wide array of environmental topics: upcoming environmental events, links to interesting articles and studies, information on environmental advocacy, eco-theology topics, and success stories from churches that are going “green.”

Author Rebecca Barnes is the Associate for Environmental Ministries at the PC(USA). She is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary with an MDiv and Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) dual degree.

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July 22, 2014

Creation Care at Local Churches in All Denominations

While highlighting New Hope Presbyterian Church (Chattanooga) as the Presbyterian example (see snippet below), this great article includes churches from many denominations!


"Stewards of the Earth" by Karen Nazor Hill in




"In Chattanooga, New Hope Presbyterian Church has its “Earth Care Team,” a group dedicated to being “stewards of God’s earth,” says Rosie Sanislo, who founded the local team.


“My concern for better green living is based on practicing my faith through caring for creation,” she says. “Scripture and our reformed faith tradition call humans to be stewards of the earth — God’s good creation. Each of us has the power to make choices that reflect our faith commitments, and be better caretakers of the precious resources God provides. We have a responsibility to restore the creation we have used and abused.


“The Earth Care program designed for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) churches is just one way we can demonstrate our commitment to stewardship of the Earth and share our love for creation with our congregation and the community,” she says. “Our church family provides a place for education, discussion and practice of greener living that we can then carry into our homes, neighborhoods and businesses.”


Nationally, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has an Environmental Ministries program that offers a certification process to help churches create and maintain green projects, she says.


“Our church governing body, the Session, also endorsed an ‘Earth Care Pledge’ that accompanied our application for certification as an Earth Care congregation,” Sanislo says. Under the pledge, a church must accomplish a specific number of actions toward caring for the Earth in four categories, including worship, education, facilities and outreach. Each year, the program audits the churches to make sure they’re still adhering to the rules.


“Our faith urges us to strive for eco-justice: defending and healing creation while working to assure justice for all creation and the human beings who live in it,” according to


The dozen members of New Hope Presbyterian’s Church Earth Care Team oversee environmentally friendly projects such as recycling paper, cardboard, plastic and cans. They also have limited the use of Styrofoam products and instead use washable communion cups and coffee cups, she says. The church also purchases and serves fair-trade coffee, which is grown in developing countries by farmers who are fairly paid and encouraged to use sustainable farming practices.


The church also installed energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems and windows and a tankless hot water heater. Its Vacation Bible School has an Earth-Care theme and its playground equipment contains 25 percent recycled materials. And, by the end of this year, the group plans to develop a rain garden to absorb and clean stormwater runoff from the church parking lot, Sanislo says."

Categories: Church Earth Care Stories, Earth Care Congregations

Tags: chattanooga, church earth care stories, cool congregations, earth care congregation, energy savings, new hope

July 9, 2014

Ohio "Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness" Issue Press Release

The below press release has been released by the faith communities involved in Ohio's "Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness" (FaCT):



CONTACT: Ron Prosek

PHONE NUMBER: 440-974-2035



July 8, 2014


Ohio Faith Communities urge Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly to restore Ohio’s Energy Standards that were frozen recently by SB 310


AKRON, OH.  FaCT [Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness] unanimously adopts letter in opposition to recently-enacted SB 310.


At its recent June meeting at First Grace United Church of Christ in Akron, FaCT – Fa ...

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July 8, 2014

Trinity Presbyterian in Santa Cruz Installs Solar


Members at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Santa Cruz, CA, decided to take the leap of faith and apply for a loan to install solar panels on their church building. In an article about stewardship for the church newsletter, church member Russ Hobbs wrote about "solar coming to Trinity" as a brainstorm that began with replacing styrofoam cups with washable ones. As church members brainstormed the many ways they could care better for God's creation, after talking about water conservation and replacing styrofoam, they came upon the idea of solar panels and decided to explore it.


Hobbs wrote this about ...

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July 7, 2014

Reflection from Eco-Stewards in Gainesville, FL

On Sunday May 18, I had the privilege of gathering with this year's young adult Eco-Stewards in Gainesville, FL to explore issues of food, land, water, and faith journeys in the Gainesville area. We had a marvelous time learning about one another and about the local ecosystem as well as discussing how faith connects to the environment.



Eco-Steward Colleen Earp recently published a great reflection on the experience on the Eco-Stewards' blog, and I want to invite you to continue reading it on their blog, and to learn more about this fabulous community:


To begin, Colleen writes, "We toured ...

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June 26, 2014

Beginning a 5th Year Anniversary for PCUSA Earth Care Congregations

Birthday Cake and Singing for Earth Care Congregations at PEC Lunch, June 2014


This summer, 2014, marks the 5th year of certification for 13 of PCUSA's certified Earth Care Congregations. For five years, these churches have been growing ever deeper in their ministry and witness and for five years, the PCUSA Earth Care Congregation continues to grow nationally. At 139 congregations as of this writing, PCUSA Earth Care Congregations demonstrates the passion people have to care for God's creation as part of Christian discipleship and living out their faith in the world.




The below thirteen churches will "turn ...

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