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.
What makes this congregation’s Earth Care Congregation certification particularly compelling is that the application process, projects, and pledge were completed solely by the 2nd through 5th graders at Hunter Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY). Initiated during the community garden-themed Vacation Bible Study in May 2013, these children completed the research, consulted the clerk of session and the sexton regarding the environmental audits, wrote thoughtful challenges for our church in the coming years, and even added up the audit points.
It can be difficult for children of this age to give in truly meaningful ways and find leadership in the church. Environmental consciousness offers them the opportunity to engage directly, giving of their whole selves through actual labor and prayerful action.
Begun during the "Seeds of Faith" VBS (written by the Christian Education committee to focus on community gardening, gleaning, and environmental responsibility), the children completed the earth care application during special summer sessions of Worship in Practice (a worship and spirituality group that meets for this age group during the academic year). These children met at church and prayerfully worked together to complete the audits and brainstorm future environmental projects for our church. At their final meeting, they wrote a proposal and prepared their presentation for session.
This is not only an extraordinary effort by these 7-, 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds. This is an expression of a church in which children feel empowered to make a difference.