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.
Our newest PC(USA) certified Earth Care Congregation, St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Portland, OR, already has a well-established and holistic earth care ministry. From working with a local farm to partnering with Bharati Integrated Rural Development Society (BIRDS) in India, this church is making a huge difference in individual lives and global witness. Involved in hunger and poverty alleviation, disaster response, environmental justice, and interfaith learning, St. Mark Presbyterian Church connects the issues that make social-ecological-economic justice work an important part of Christian discipleship.
During the summer of 2014, the church spent 10 weeks worshipping around the theme of Earth Stewardship and Sustainability, around subjects such as food, climate change, air, water, animals, energy, deforestation, oceans, and more. Each year, the church has a "season" to reflect on earth care, typically hosting an outdoor worship in the memorial garden, a "blessing of the animals" Sunday, as well as upcoming local food potlucks and service days in nearby Tryon Creek nature area.
"Abraham's Tent" is the interfaith day camp hosted by St. Mark, a Jewish Renewal congregation sharing the same building, and a nearby mosque. The 2015 theme was "Guardians of the Earth" and focused on holy texts from all 3 faith traditions that call for earth care.
St. Mark also does native and drought-tolerant landscaping, uses washable dishes (instead of disposables), and offers an edible garden (with the Jewish congregation) for gleaning groups and food pantries. In 2015, they'll work to light the church sign and a mural on the side of the building with energy from a solar panel on the roof.
Welcome to the Earth Care Congregation family, St. Mark!
New Life Presbyterian Church (formerly North Como Presbyterian Church, and Knox Presbyterian Church) in Roseville, MN continues their faithful earth care work. They continue to make great strides in worship, education, facilities, and outreach activities. In addition to recycling, fair trade coffee, sharing their building, here are some of their accomplishments:
Reflections from Brant S. Copeland, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Tallahassee, FL. www.oldfirstchurch.org
I have been serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Tallahassee for almost 30 years. Throughout my pastorate our congregation has been deeply engaged in environmental stewardship. In 2006 our Session responded to the General Assembly’s call to become a “carbon neutral” congregation. We have accomplished this goal through the generosity and dedication of our members.
In order to accomplish our goal we conducted a capital campaign and made major changes in our historic sanctuary and other buildings. A central feature of our transition ...
Noah Wilding is a rising sophomore at Trinity High School who is fully committed to ending climate change. He is operating a totally green lawn care business. He has a solar panel for charging his electric mower, trimmer, and weedwacker, and he rides his bike to his mowing jobs, pulling his equipment in a cart behind him. Bill Young is a retired research scientist and is a volunteer in the PC(USA) Environmental Ministries office. Both Bill and Noah are members of the Earth Care Team at their home congregation, Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. CHPC is one ...
Chuck and Ruth Dow, members of PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation River Glen Presbyterian Church (Naperville, IL), recently returned from a mission trip to El Salvador. They taught nutrition, gardening (including container gardening), and solar cooking (with a foldable solar cooker they designed and can teach people how to make and use, with a cost of about $1.) This mission is similar to what they have been doing as part-time volunteers since 1987. The church commissioned them before they left on what happened to also be Chuck's 82rd birthday!
Ruth explained, “A 1983 Presbyterian-Methodist mission trip to Mexico stimulated ...