There is no time like the present to get ready for Mission 4/1 Earth!
“Mission 4/1 Earth will be the United Church of Christ’s next incredible shared witness to the world,” said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister for Local Church Ministries. And even though there are almost six months before this all-church initiative –– Mission 4/1 Earth: 50 Great Days, kicks off April 1, 2013 –– the UCC is rolling out the resources now to assist in the planning process.
“We need every single person, minister, church, camp, school, and agency of the UCC to become committed to making sure that these 50 days in 2013 will be the life-changing, earth-blessing, and church-empowering moment we know it can be,” Guess added. “The planning, promotion and brainstorming must begin now.”
The place to start, the Mission 4/1 Earth website, outlines the initiative, offers suggestions for ways to get involved, gives participants an opportunity to share their ideas, and includes answers to frequently asked questions about the project. There is also a complete campaign manual available for download.
Mission 4/1 Earth invites us to green up, power down, and shout out for the environment. Beginning on Easter Monday 2013 (April 1), the UCC lifts up 50 Great Days of Mission 4/1 Earth, in hopes of reaching more than 1 million hours of engaged earth care, 100,000 tree plantings across the globe, and 100,000 advocacy letters written and sent on environmental concerns.
At Eastertide, the 50 days from Easter to Pentecost when we celebrate renewal and resurrection, there is no better time to come together as a church to share in a resurrection witness for the environment.
Campaign materials to engage and assist participants are available from UCC Resources and also can be found on the Mission 4/1 Earth website.
Items like organic cotton t-shirts with the campaign logo across the front and handmade organic seed cards, ready for planting, were intentional ‘green’ product choices. The seed cards, handmade linen paper that’s 100 percent recycled, are embedded with flower seeds. The paper dissolves as the flowers grow.
Time cards also are available, so church members can track hours spent in earth care, trees planted and letters written. These free cards can be placed in the pews so participants can report weekly, drop the cards in the offering plate, and their good works can be tallied and shared.
“As our next all-church initiative, Mission 4/1 Earth provides significant shared goals that, when reached, will deepen our understandings of how incremental steps toward powering down, greening up and shouting out for the environment can lead to personal life changes and better governmental laws and regulations that can have a huge impact on the health of our fragile planet,” said Guess.
Working for environmental justice is not new to this church. The UCC first embraced the cause almost 30 years ago and sees this shared mission campaign to live out our faith — and our faith, in Planet Earth — as a continuation of and an effective way to join the UCC work for environmental justice. Mission 4/1 Earth also is a simple way for each of us to show faith, in the places where God planted us — to live our faith and to love our communities.