How can my church/organization participate?

How to count earth care hours

Mission 4/1 Earth is ONE UNITED CHURCH on a shared resurrection witness for Planet Earth during 50 great days powering down, greening up and shouting out for the environment! Launching on Easter Monday, April 1, 2013, it continues through Pentecost, May 19 - the 50 great days of Eastertide! During Mission 4/1 Earth, the United Church of Christ will offer 1 million hours of caring for the earth, plant more than 100,000 trees and send more than 100,000 advocacy letters on environmental concerns.

Begin now...

Begin now to prepare for how your individual members and congregation will participate. Effective planning is key to widespread participation, especially since Mission 4/1 Earth will include many different components: community clean ups, educational and advocacy opportunities, individual habit changes, tree planting, letter writing, and more.  So work ahead and build momentum.

Brainstorm unique ways that people can contribute hours of active earth care in creative, not-readily-apparent ways.  Early on, you should provide opportunities for people to commit/covenant how they will be donating time and energy to Mission 4/1 Earth, then bless and celebrate these commitments even before Mission 4/1 Earth launches.

Here's a sample checklist of how you can participate:

Share the overarching concept of Mission 4/1 Earth with your church's — or institution's — appropriate leadership and ask for their explicit buy-in and support. Get it on the calendar!

Convene a small Mission 4/1 Earth Implementation Group to set local goals and promote and coordinate your participation.

Distribute Mission 4/1 Earth Timecards (included in the kit and available in packages of 100 at ucc.org/earth or by calling 800/537-3394 so that individuals in your church/institution can report back how they've helped the UCC achieve its big goal of 1 million hours of active earth care. Ask people to put the cards in the offering plate each Sunday during Mission 4/1 Earth, or hold a "celebration moment" during each Sunday worship during the 50 days to lift up all the work done, trees planted and letters written!

Promote Mission 4/1 Earth with campaign materials, including posters, buttons, stickers, banners, etc.  Items can be purchased at ucc.org/earth.  A campaign kit (comprised of two posters, 100 bulletin inserts, 100 commitment cards, 300 time-share cards, 25 buttons, 25 stickers and 25 wrist bands) is available at ucc.org/earth.

✓ Discuss ways to integrate any existing Eastertide or springtime emphases with the coordinated church-wide vision of the Mission 4/1 Earth campaign.

Plan how Mission 4/1 Earth will be launched and sustained in your community.  How will the seven Sundays of Eastertide be utilized to build momentum, increase participation, ignite eco-learning, and serve as an all-important check-in-time for accumulating earth-care hours?

✓ Playfully determine your piece of the overall national goal and set your own personal and congregational goals.  How about planting one tree each day, at a different church member's home, for 50 days? How about partnering with a local farm to plant trees each weekend during the 50-day period? Why not adopt a riverbank or abandoned community lot for weekly clean ups? Brainstorm unique ways that people can contribute hours of active earth care in creative, engaging ways, especially by means that alter existing behaviors but don't necessarily require extra hours of added-on activity.

Publicize and promote individual and collective goal setting and devise a strategy by which you will communicate and celebrate your local tally, in addition to the national tally.  Weekly time-share cards are a great tool for collecting earth-care-hour tallies in your community.

✓ Once your church has decided on its specific plans or goals, share them in advance at http://www.ucc.org/earth/what-are-your-plans.html.  Your stories will be lifted up across the entire UCC leading up to and during Mission 4/1 Earth.

Designate at least one person in your congregation who will be responsible for tallying and reporting your church's participation.