Earth Care

Earth Care

PC(USA) Environmental Ministries has released the denomination’s new certification program for environmentally responsible churches, called “Earth Care Congregations: A Guide to Greening Presbyterian Churches.” The goal of the program is to inspire churches to care for God’s earth in a holistic way, through integrating earth care into all of church life.

To become an Earth Care Congregation, churches affirm the Earth Care Pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into all facets of congregational life, and track their commitments to earth care in the areas of worship, education, facilities, and outreach. Recertification is required annually.

We are glad to announce that Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church committed to the Earth Care Pledge in May of 2014.  Upon verification of our sufficient stewardship efforts as detailed by our application, we were certified as an Earth Care Congregation in June.

We also maintain our commitment by continuing to increase our efforts at and around the church and recertifying each year with PC(USA) Environmental Ministries.

Earth Care Certification

It is not easy to acquire and maintain Earth Care Certification. Below you can see what we have been doing (Actions Performed) and what we intend to do yet as a congregation. We intend to continue to apply for recertification each year.

Actions Performed:

1.  Worship
a.  one Sunday devoted to earth care 4/27/14
b.  one service outside 4/17/14
c.  one sermon about earth care 4/27/14 – Joette Steger
d.  one service with earth care hymns and prayers 4/27/14
e.  we use eco-palms on Palm Sunday
f.  we have a bird sanctuary
g.  we often serve communion by intinction

2.  Education
a.  one adult series of classes with an earth care theme -Social Justice – “Christian Simplicity”
b.  classes held outside
i.  Seeds of Faith – planting children’s garden bed
ii.  Youth Sunday school
c.  Youth projects related to earth care
i.  gleaning
ii.  Seeds of Faith Garden
iii.  Montreat 1/2 day workshop
d.  articles in newsletter and/or bulletin – Seeds of Faith garden
e.  emails to congregation – Seeds of Faith garden
f.   create an earth care page for our website

3.  Facilities
a.  performed energy audit and implemented at least 2 suggested items
b.  performed at least two preseason check-ups to maintain the HVAC system in the last year
c.  HVAC systems is programmable to turn on and off at set times
d.  most fixtures use efficient light bulbs
e.  some restrooms have motion sensors on lights
f.  some restrooms have low flush toilets
g.  all faucets have aerators
h.  some discarded paper is recycled
i.  some aluminum, glass, and plastic is recycled
j.  some paper products purchased are recycled – toilet paper
k.  sometimes use reusable plates
l.  sometimes use reusable cups
m.  sometimes use reusable flatware
n.  half the time serve fair trade coffee
o.  all meals have vegetarian options
p.  most fertilizers used on grounds are fossil fuel based (you earn more points the LESS you use)
q.  bird sanctuary/wildlife habitat
r.  water is served from pitchers (not disposable bottles) for most events reusable table-cloths are used most of the time
s.  composting area for yard and kitchen waste – BSA Eagle project

4.  Outreach
a.  nature outings
i.  Day at the Lake
ii.  Youth to Lake Johnson
b.  used materials were donated for reuse – Haiti – DVDs, sewing machines
c.  members were encouraged to contact elected officials about earth care legislation once – The Farm Bill
d.  church members stood in solidarity with an earth care component
i.  Moral Mondays
ii.  Owen’s trip to Nicaragua
iii.  protests against fracking
iv.  March against Monsanto
e.  we sponsor a mission with an earth care component –  In Haiti our efforts have planed trees, raised a garden, and supplied the orphanage with goats and chickens (which they use their scraps to feed). This year (2014) the ream will be going to the ApParent Project, all sustainable art/clothing goods made through micro-financing grants. Last year (2013) missionaries went to eco-villages to learn how to grow sustainable gardens for the orphanage. This year’s team will be using these technique to make tire gardens.
f.  we maintain an international partnership with missionary Sarah Junkin Woodard who works in Nicaragua with the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), a community organization working for environmental justice in that area of the world in the areas of:
i.  organic cotton and sesame
ii.  fair trade coffee
iii.  handmade market
iv.  tree planting
g.  we have a community garden – Seeds of Faith
h.  we share our facilities with non-profit groups
i.  Scouting – Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts
ii.  Avent West Children’s Mentoring program (AWCM)
iii.  Ladies fitness class
iv.  Little German Band practice
v.  Preschool
i.  youth gleaning project – The Society of St . Andrew

Goals:

1.  Worship
a.  celebrate “Earth Care Sunday” annually
i. sermon
ii.  hymns
iii.  prayers
b.  build in Minutes for Mission related to earth care
c.  utilize outdoor worship areas
i.  encourage members to appreciate the bird sanctuary
ii.  outdoor sermons and/or classes

2.  Education
a.  invite guest speakers (especially for youth) – NC State is a good resource
b.  take a youth trip to Duke Forest
c.  creatively utilize church grounds for Christian education and environmental education
d.  host an environmental movie and discussion evening

3.  Facilities
a.  purchase and install bike racks
b.  establish a water catchment system – rain barrel/cistern
c.  research and implement improvements to outdoor worship areas
i.  sanctuary
ii.  bird sanctuary
iii.  meditation labyrinth / prayer garden
iv.  columbarium

4.  Outreach
a.  sponsor an e-trash or household hazardous waste day
b.  network with other churches regarding earth care
c.  become a committee/group member of Presbyterians for Earth Care
d.  promote alternative transportation to church, e.g. walk, bike, carpool

Earth Care Pledge

The Social Justice and Peacemaking Unit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in consultation with congregations and presbyteries across the denomination, developed a five-part resolution as a model for mobilizing congregations to respond to the General Assembly’s “CALL TO RESTORE THE CREATION.” The resolution was simplified to a four-part pledge in 2010. Churches applying to be an Earth Care Congregation must have the Earth Care Pledge affirmed by their session and signed by the clerk.

Earth Care Pledge

Peace and justice is God’s plan for all creation. The earth and all creation are God’s. God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family. As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.

1. Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth.

2. In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice and community.

3. Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.

4. Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the wlnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.