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.
The Environmental Ministries office at PC(USA) opened in May 2009. Since then, I have had the opportunity to meet with many Presbyterians throughout the country. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many churches on my travels, and have shared some of these stories. Looking back on 2010, I wanted to share two more stories about what two of these churches are doing to care for the earth. These stories do not highlight all the good work that these churches are doing, but show glimpses of their efforts to care for God’s earth. I hope that they are inspirations for your church in brainstorming how to care for creation. If your church has an earth care story you’d like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In September 2010 I traveled to Presbytery of Baltimore to present two Earth Care Congregation certificates. I had the opportunity to visit one of these churches: First Presbyterian Church of Howard County in Columbia, Maryland. There, I got to see their demonstration gardens and the outdoor labyrinth and amphitheater (pictured). Boy Scouts completed the labyrinth, amphitheater and have added features to help with erosion as parts of Eagle Scout projects. The area serves as a reflective area in creation for church members. The church hosts the Howard County Earth Forum monthly, which gathers community members to learn about and discuss environmental issues. The church is going to start offering home energy audits this winter.
In November 2010 I attended the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association Annual Conference in Colorado, and had the opportunity to visit a few churches in Boulder and Denver. At Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver I learned about several earth care projects that their Green Team has undertaken. Last Earth Day they sold Green Bibles and green cleaning kits. The church also has a Fair Trade shop, which they keep stocked with items from Equal Exchange, the Women’s Bean Project, and the Gathering Place(a local non-profit). The shop offers opportunities for church members to buy sustainably produced goods for which producers are paid a fair wage. Wellshire has also been fundraising for solar panels for the church. The church also holds a Blessing of the Animals service in the sanctuary each year.
These are just stories from two churches that I visited last fall. I always enjoy meeting church members who are making connections between their faith and caring for God’s earth. Thanks to all people have made this work part of their church’s mission.