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