Written by Emily Mullins
For every hour of earth care completed, a green tissue-paper leaf goes up on a 7-foot cardboard tree at First Congregational Church UCC in Williamstown, Mass. Just last week alone, the congregation added 354 leaves representing the variety of ways its members have contributed to the Mission 4/1 Earth goal of 1 million earth care hours during the 50-day campaign. With 33 more days to go, there’s no doubt the tree is really going to fill out.
"This is how we let the congregation know how they are doing, by making the tree get leafier for each hour they take care of the world," said Elizabeth Davis, head of Christian education. "We think we are going to run out of room on the tree."
Many UCC congregations are using the concept of an indoor tree blooming as a visual representation of the time and effort their members are putting into the Mission 4/1 Earth campaign. The Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, Ariz., has a tree in its fellowship hall. Members have been asked to "green the tree" by writing their earth care efforts on paper leaves and hanging them on its branches. All of the different ideas are being collected and distributed along with other resource materials during fellowship services throughout the duration of Mission 4/1 Earth.
First Congregational UCC in Elmhurst, Ill., also has a tree in its foyer and its Tree of Life Green Team has been adding leaves to it as members report their hours earned, advocacy letters written and trees planted. Some of the congregation’s activities have included gathering goods for a rummage sale, bicycling or carpooling to church, doing a spring cleanup of the property, and watching environmental films.
As chair of the Tree of Life Green Team, Karen Pachyn, said, "The leaves will be added to our tree so we can watch it fill out, just as the trees outside will be doing in the spring."
To count your efforts on the Mission 4/1 Earth tally board, report your earth care hours, trees planting and letters written, report in as often as you like here.
Share the goals of Mission 4/1 Earth with your family and friends and invite them to join the movement.