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 ...
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 ...
At Trinity Presbyterian Church in McKinney, TX, a small group study initiated by the Creation Care Team has led to changing individual lives and family lifestyle choices. A group of 10 families gathered to work through David Gershon’s Green Living Handbook over a period of 4 months.
The purpose of this four month study was to help people understand creation care, change their hearts and become more mindful of their daily habits and ultimately start to do things in a more sustainable way at home, work and church. Whether it is a question of water consumption, energy use, consumer ...
First Presbyterian Church of Athens announced that it successfully crossed the finish line in EPA’s 2013 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings. In its fourth year, the competition featured buildings from across the country racing to improve energy efficiency ...
In addition to enhancing the well-being of the congregation, securing a better world for future generations, and deepening a sense of Christian discipleship, Earth Care Congregations are finding ways to build up their local communities-- and being noticed for it!
In February, Forest Lake Church helped create a community garden at a transition residence for homelessness recovery. Coming out of their own experience as intergenerational gardeners at their own church, they are now helping others to find food security, a connection to the earth, and an expanded sense of neighbors and care.
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Overland Park KS, has just been informed they have won first place in the "Energy Savings Category" in the Interfaith Power and Light Cool Congregations 2013 Challenge. Their submission was an "Adopt-A-Light" campaign where they designed and installed a lighting retrofit project saving utility costs AND reducing our CO2 contribution to global warming. Check out the story here and meet the winners (and runners-up and honorable mention).
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church will be entered into the US Green Building Council GBIG Database of exemplary projects and receive a $1,000 reward.
Great thanks to all the ...
Webster Groves Presbyterian Church (MO) formed its Environmental Stewardship Committee in 2011 and developed a mission statement which outlined their intent “to be careful stewards of the environment as we honor God’s covenant with all of creation…” The committee has worked to minimize the environmental impact of the church and recently became certified by the PCUSA as a new Earth Care Congregation.
Among other things, the congregation eliminated the use of styrofoam disposables, established a recycling center, held youth confirmation classes outside, and included confirmands in Earth Care Activities at Mound Ridge Presbyterian camp.
It also offered Sunday education ...
First-year certified Earth Care Congregation Hillsborough Presbyterian Church (NC) is a small congregation, preparing to celebrate their 200th anniversary in September of 2016. Earth Care team member Robin Bedingfield writes, “While we don’t own much property - only a 10-foot perimeter around our buildings, and we deal constantly with both the blessings and limitations of a 200-year old sanctuary and 60-year old Christian Ed building, we are committed to being good stewards of our church and home ...
Montreat Presbyterian Church
Tour and Brown-bag Seminar at National Climatic Data Center
Asheville, North Carolina
March 21, 2014
“NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation's treasure of climate and historical weather data and information.” This one sentence does not begin to describe the wealth of programs and the global scope of the Center’s work, nor explain their relevance to contemporary issues concerning atmosphere, weather and climate. See website http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/.
This trip to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is organized by the ...
The PCUSA Earth Care Congregation program welcomes newly certified Earth Care Congregation Nashua Presbyterian Church (NH). When this congregation was chartered as a PCUSA church and built its sanctuary in 1997, they chose to build it back from the road - in the woods. They call themselves "The Church in the Woods." Because of their love of the woods and adjoining wetlands on their 13 acres, they built with a care for the environment and continue to treasure this gift of part of God's creation.
Having built an energy efficient building, they have since added: a memorial garden, nine flower ...
This week Village Church's Environmental Action Committee launched its Stop Using Bottled Water during Lent campaign. Following the example of campaigns by the Green Team at Platt Woods UMC in 2012 and by the Earth Shepherds at Second Presbyterian Church in 2013, EAC has placed signs at Drinking Fountains and at Lavatories around the church urging folks to "Stop Using Bottled Water!"
Specifically, our message is this:
Heal the Earth. Save its People. Conserve Water.
Clean Water is a Human Right.
(One 16.9-ounce bottle of water requires 1.5 gallons of tap water)
FOR LENT, STOP USING BOTTLED ...
“Lent” has a new meaning at North Presbyterian Church (Williamsburg, NY) that is close to the word's ancient etymology. Because of the lengthening days, it’s the time of year when the church starts producing more of the electricity than it uses.
The church has now had two summers of producing more than it uses (June through September). The photovoltaic panels on the flat roofs of North Presbyterian Church went on line May 1, 2012.
2013 was the first full calendar and budget year with solar panels in place. In 2013 the church produced 26,741 kwh of electricity--57 ...
Montevallo Presbyterian Church in Alabama is a PCUSA Earth Care Congregation and an EPA Energy Star Congregation, and has accomplished many great things in caring for God's creation.
Recent celebrations from this church, which uses EPA's Portfolio Manager to manage their energy use:
- Saved $1,973 in 2011 and 2012
- 35% reduction in green house emissions since 2010
This church appreciates the EPA Portfolio Manager tool because it provides structure and discipline for monitoring, which results in better protection of the environment and revenue reallocated for use in ministries of church. Recently redesigned to be even more user-friendly ...
The Earth Shepherds of Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO continue to invite their congregation to care for God’s creation in a diversity of ways. This church has truly responded to this committee's great leadership and to the improvements helped along by the Building and Grounds session committee and their Building Manager Don Weeks,
from caring for trees,
to offering community recycling,
to insulating windows,
and even to putting solar panels on the roof!
Barbara Stevenin, Chairman of the Earth Shepherds reports, “In the six months of operation of the solar panels, the church has saved over ...
We celebrate with First Presbyterian Church of Henderson, TX their “Go Green Award” from the Keep Henderson Beautiful committee and Henderson's Chamber of Commerce! This congregation was lifted up in the Daily News and commended for their energy savings and eco-friendly changes at their congregation.
One of their great projects was a humorous video clip about “Stewardship of Creation.” (See this great video here).
Their environmental efforts at the church started with smaller projects such as collecting bulletins for recycling, replacing incandescent light bulbs, and purchasing recycled products. From there, their earth care ministry increased and continued with raising ...
We welcome White Plains Presbyterian Church to the PCUSA Earth Care Congregation program as it receives dual membership through enrolling in the GreenFaith Certification Program. This congregation enrolled in this program because it “feels called to be stewards of God’s creation” and recognizes environmental stewardship “as an integral part of a sustainable future.” They plan to integrate the GreenFaith Certification process with their tri-centennial celebration, not only celebrating the past but also visioning for a sustainable future. They will improve heating systems, insulation, and windows as well as look into the possibility of solar panels. This summer the congregation ...
In 2013, three Presbyterian congregations were accepted as new applicants to the GreenFaith Certification Program (joining GreenFaith “graduates” Trinity Presbyterian Church in East Brunswick, NJ and Christ Presbyterian Church in Martinsville, NJ). Veteran PCUSA Earth Care Congregation Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church was among this new class of the GreenFaith Certification Program. Through the PCUSA-GreenFaith partnership, Bardstown Road will receive recertification as an Earth Care Congregation while fully participating in GreenFaith’s program.
Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY was one of the original pilot congregations for the PCUSA Earth Care Congregation program when it started 5 years ago. They ...
In Geneva Presbytery, the JPIC committee is concerned with social and environmental justice and has been active for many years. JPIC stands for “Justice”, “Peace”, and “The Integrity of Creation.” This committee supports church education, worship, outreach and missions in various ways.
JPIC member Brad McFall explains, "When two or three Presbyterians get together in solidarity for environmental and social justice a committee can easily be formed that effectively influences individual actions but when these committees get together with their counterparts in other faith traditions it seems like, that not only can personal goals be met, but it really seems ...
In 2013, five of our 124 PCUSA Earth Care Congregations are dually certified for their eco-justice ministry through interfaith organization GreenFaith. One of the newly enrolled congregations is the Presbyterian Church in Morristown. This New Jersey congregation will incorporate environmentally friendly building renovations in its major capital campaign as well as to use the GreenFaith program to grow closer to God, neighbors, and the earth. Green Team member Erin Guthrie explains that one of the most exciting pieces of the program is that “we are continuing our strong relationship with the Bethel AME church down the road and both of ...
While completing the application for Geneva's third year as an Earth Care Congregation, Elder and Green Leader, Rosie Perthel, realized that the church had not been as active as in previous years. "We barely squeaked by with enough points to be certified." She reached out to the Geneva Session, requesting that the Christian Ed team consider facilitating an Earth Care education program. The result? Geneva is using Mathew Sleeth’s 12-week DVD program Serve God, Save the Planet for Adult Bible Study. The first session is focused on Light. Rosie says, "the program is lovely and inspiring."
In Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Presbyterians are joining others to care for God's creation across the county, and around the state.
First Presbyterian Church does much in its own congregation. It hosts youth outdoors retreats and annual church pig roast, creation care worship services, has a summer church garden as well as winter raised beds, makes 20+ gallons of compost, and engages in advocacy concerns.
Meanwhile, outside the Presbyterian church property, this congregation also continues to learn and work with others in the wider community.
As a foundational member of a new county-wide "Earthcare Collaborative," FPC church members were able to ...
A recently installed array of solar panels on the roof of Crosslake Presbyterian Church in north central Minnesota generates electricity when the sun shines. (Crosslake MN enjoys as many hours of sunlight annually as Houston, TX ! )
Click here for access to a real time report of electrical production.
This is the latest of five efforts by Crosslake Church to be good stewards of God’s creation. Collectively dubbed “The New Noah Project”, Crosslake’s five efforts are—
---Photovoltaic electricity generation,
---Geo-thermal heating and air conditioning,
---Purchase of wind generated electricity,
---A highly insulated building with efficient lighting
---Ten acres of ...
McGregor Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, in its third year of being a certified Earth Care Congregation, has an ongoing Green Group bulletin board, hosts adult studies and children's classes on creation care, recycles all kinds of goods and reuses tablecloths and dishes for church meals. they also have fair trade coffee, take care of an Adopt-A-Highway portion of road, use Eco-Palms, and incorporate God's creation into worship service throughout the church year.
A new, exciting project of McGregor Presbyterian Church is its "learning garden," which has excited all ages at this congregation and had good response from ...
First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, recently recertified as one of the 120 PCUSA Earth Care Congregations, brings elements of caring for God's creation into the worship, education, and mission life of the congregation as well as updating their facilities for energy efficiency, water conservation, and other savings.
This congregation is also good at getting out into God's creation. Spending time outdoors, feeling God's presence in the natural world, and enjoying one another, has proved significant as a part of this congregation's experience of caring for God's creation.
One of the best parts of my day is to hear creative stories of what churches are doing all across the country to be disciples and to care for God's good earth! Here’s a clever idea to demonstrate how much waste we can generate, or save from being generated, depending on our choices. This fun activity educated on waste reduction, created community between participants, and accomplished its purpose of raising funds for the church!
First Presbyterian Church (Oak Ridge, TN) cares about God's creation and acts to show it in a variety of ways. In their worship life, educational offerings, outreach activities, and in their buildings and grounds, this congregation operates with an earth care ethic as part of their Christian discipleship.
From hosting a potluck of foods made with local ingredients to inviting a nationally-recognized climate change speaker to their community, this ...
Rev. Neddy Astudillo invited animals to worship on World Communion Sunday at Parroquia San Jose (a Lutheran and Presbyterian Latino congregation in southern Wisconsin). Wild animals, farm animals, and pets were all blessed as part of God's creation. This World Communion Sunday worship expanded the notion of what is typically understood as World Communion to include all the earth and its creatures. Thanks be to God!
Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in North Bethesda, MD is an Earth Care Congregation. Among the many wonderful things they do to care for God's creation, one of their successful activities is an Alternate Transportation Sunday. This special focus began in May 2011 and has continued ever since (and they have even developed tips for replicating the effort).
The Earth Care team explains that the Alternate Transportation Sunday was a big success:
"Saint Markers embraced the idea of energy saving transportation in a big way. The children and youth were particularly enthused. People walked, rode bikes, shared rides and ...
During this liturgical season that the Church of the Pilgrims calls "Homecoming," the Sundays between September and the end of November, we are focusing on the theme of Food and Faith. Within the theme of Food and Faith, we are taking on this arc for a focus: humus, exile, and harvest. To fully experience this theme we are having communion each week in worship.
The inspirations for this theme of Food and Faith is Sacred Greens, Pilgrims' urban garden which produces food to supplement meals for Open Table (our Sunday lunch for hungry neighbors). The book "Food and Faith" by ...
One of many initiatives begun by the Environmental Stewardship Task Force of the church began on a small scale last spring by designating a “Bike to Church Sunday.” In addition to the environmental benefits, we felt that this might help relieve what is routinely a very congested parking situation on Sunday mornings. The Borough of Swarthmore promotes biking and there are clearly identified street markings as well as good bike parking areas in the community.
In addition to announcements in the monthly newsletter and weekly emails, we tagged two of our most active, committed cycling advocates to staff a table ...
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 ...
On Earth Day First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto celebrated in worship by making prayer flags for one of the low-water gardens on the church campus. The worship service was focused on our role in caring for creation and the church used the following Psalm as guidance as they made the flags:
Praise God from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds. (Psalm 148:7-10 ...
The following is a selection of pictures used in a slideshow that the earth care team presented to the congregation, at Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, a PCUSA certified Earth Care Congregation!
Saint James Presbyterian Church (Bellingham, WA) voted to protect the environment, curb climate change, and stand in solidarity with the Lummi Nation whose lands are at risk of being developed for a new coal terminal.The Mission and Social Action Committee felt called to take a position and the church signed the solidatrity statement (below). All of these efforts hope to protect sacred lands and treaty rights, to reduce coal exports to China, and to decrease the shipping of coal across the continent as well.
Inter-faith statement of solidarity with Lummi Nation
Respect for sacred places is intrinsic in most ...
If you would like a pdf copy of the brochure by email, contact us at email@example.com.
First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto, CA
On Earth Day, First Presbyterian Church celebrated in worship by making prayer flags for one of the low-water gardens on their church campus. The worship service was focused on their role in caring for creation and they used the following Psalm to guide them as they made the flags:
Praise God from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds ...
Trinity Presbyterian Church celebrates being an Earth Care Congregation!
As an Earth Care Congregation, Trinity Presbyterian Church of McKinney, TX, proudly celebrates the many great facets of this ministry! Some unique ways Trinity honors God's creation are: offering reusable shopping bags with Trinity Earth Care logos; selling Fair Trade chocolate; providing ceramic mugs and eco-friendly compostable, biodegradable cups for coffee; sending electronic newsletters; increasing paperless Sunday services; using fair trade Eco-Palms on Palm Sunday; taking field trips to places with earth-friendly practices; giving minutes for mission and bulletin inserts with a creation care focus; diverting approx. 7 cubic yards ...
Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church: Kensington, MD
On February 27, 2013, Warner Memorial held the first of three Wednesday evening Green Film Fest showings.
When no one has signed up to dedicate chancel flowers, Warner Memorial displays green plants instead, and includes "The plants in the chancel today are offered to the glory of God in celebration of our home, Earth."
There are wonderful things happening in Baltimore Presbytery!
At Maryland Presbyterian Church, the host for our meeting with these great compostable options, they have a native plants garden, worm composting, a demonstration garden for children, and are advocating in their state legislature for wind energy.
At Towson Presbyterian Church, there is ongoing tree planting on hundreds of acres and the church decided to keep its property always sustainable by making a conservation easement. They clean streams, do vegetable gardening, and have reached the top energy efficiency steps possible.
At Woods Presbyterian Church, they have worked on property concerns (which also ...
Riviera Presbyterian Church: Sustainable Landscape Replacement with No Budget
Riviera Presbyterian Church is located near Everglades and Biscayne Bay National Parks in sub-tropical south Florida, a globally unique ecosystem and home to a wealth of rare indigenous species. With 95% of the area's original habitat (outside the Parks) lost to development, and the overwhelming prevalence of exotic species in home landscapes, many of these natives (plants, insects, wildlife) are in danger of local extinction. Looking at its own property, RPC wished to replace its water- and maintenance-intensive exotics with well-adapted native material and be more welcoming to butterflies and ...
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (Shepherdstown, WV)
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church had their annual EarthFest at the church in early April. This event was an hour-long mixture of earthy-songs presented in the sanctuary by dynamite local musicians (some from the congregation), punctuated by really moving recitations about earth care. A lot of the focus was on coal-mining and mountaintop removal.
Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, KS: Climate Change Forum
With over a hundred people in attendance, the Village Presbyterian Church’s March Environmental Forum on Climate Change exceeded expectations. Panelists shared informative, articulate, and complementary information on climate change while other participants offered inspiring prayers, good scriptural context, and the overall religious framework to the issue. This event stands in a line of successful church efforts to educate and encourage change, such as the Creation Care Earth Fair in May 2010 and the April 2007 hanging out 1500 compact fluorescent lights after morning worship.
The pastor and members of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, KY were among the more than one thousand people who rallied at the state's capital to declare love for the mountains and people of Appalachia. In a time where mountaintop removal coal mining is decimating communities, impacting the quality of soil, air, and water as well as human health, Presbyterians and other faith communities join in the cry for better care-taking of the people and the land of this region. This congregation is answering the scriptural call to care for God's world, a calling affirmed by PCUSA policies ...
As part of Church Earth Care Stories, Reverend Linda Stewart-Kalen, pastor of Colonial Height Presbyterian Church, was interviewed so that her church’s story could be shared. Located in Portland, Oregon, Colonial Heights banded together with their community to tackle a growing problem, water run-off.
We worked with the city to look at a problem in our area and try to fix it. We quickly found that water run-off was a problem, so we set to raising money and making a plan to stop water run-off. We received $5000 from a grant and raised $7000 internally, which was a great ...
Roger Grussing, Pastor Emeritus and Chair of Energy Task Force, submitted this Church Earth Care Story on behalf of Crosslake Presbyterian Church in Crosslake, Minnesota. This church, like others around the nation, has created a greener environment in their community. If your church has done the same and would like to share it, please submit your stories.
Eleven years ago Crosslake Presbyterian Church was organized and its building designed and constructed.
Located in Minnesota's lake country, there was a strong awareness of environmental impact.
Twenty well bores with closed-loop piping draw warmth in the winter and provide cooling in ...
Here is a copy of Eco-Notes, PC(USA) Environmental Ministries monthly e-newsletter. Ranging a wide variety of topics, Eco-Notes is a place for information on stewardship programs, conferences, and ways to get involved. Sign up to receive Eco-Notes each month!
Share your Church Earth Care Stories with our summer intern
This summer the Environmental Ministries and Child Advocacy offices are excited to welcome Jocelyn Kirk as a summer intern. Jocelyn will be helping Environmental Ministries in a number of ways, and we are thankful to have her serving as an intern. One of Jocelyn’s tasks this summer is to ...
Jim Mahurin, member of First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, submitted this story as part of Environmental Ministries Church Earth Care Stories. First Pres has successfully reduced their CO2 emissions and continues to strive towards a greener church life. If you would like to share your church’s Earth Care stories, don’t hesitate to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, TN has successfully taken steps to reduce CO2 emissions and water runoff, to extend the life of mechanical equipment, and various other, greener ways to keep the church running.
The church instituted several ...