Mission 4/1 Earth, which begins Easter Monday, April 1, and continues for 50 days, invites us to green up, power down, and shout out for the environment. The UCC partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is aimed at reaching two of the project's three goals – more than 1 million hours of engaged earth care, and 100,000 tree plantings across the globe.
Through the Arbor Day Foundation, participants in Mission 4/1 Earth can buy trees that will be sent to them for planting and purchase Give-A-Tree cards, noting that trees will be planted on their behalf by the U.S. Forest service in a national forest.
The Mission 4/1 Earth link on the Arbor Day Foundation website will give the participant in the Gift Tree program the option of selecting the species of tree they want to receive. The Arbor Day order page maps out the type of trees recommended for planting in a particular area of the country. Each tree will cost $3, with a minimum order of 25 trees. Shipping is $9.90 for orders of 25-49 trees, with free shipping on orders of 50 or more.
Buyers of Give-A-Tree cards won't be able to select the species of tree that will be planted on their behalf. That decision will be made, along with where the tree will be planted, by the U.S. Forest Service. The cost of the Give-A-Tree cards is $4.95 each for 1-49, $3.50 each for 50-99, and $2 each for 100+; shipping is free.
All the trees purchased through the Arbor Day partnership will be planted in the United States. Colleagues in the UCC's Wider Church Ministries are working to secure a similar organization for planting trees globally.
"People across all theological perspectives, from conservative to liberal, are being awakened to the urgent reality that environmental stewardship, especially its corollary impact on global climate change, must become completely central and inseparable to what it means to call oneself Christian or a person of faith," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the UCC's Local Church Ministries. "That's why the UCC is committing itself to making sure that earth care and environmental justice are among the great signature issues with whom people instantly identify with the core mission of the United Church of Christ."
The United Church of Christ has been working for environmental justice for almost 30 years, and recognizes the opportunity for a shared mission campaign to live out our faith — in unity, as one church — for the sake of our fragile planet Earth.
With the help of UCC congregations everywhere, Mission 4/1 Earth hopes to accomplish 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 between April 1 and May 19.
The Arbor Day Foundation was founded in 1972, 100 years after the first Arbor Day observance in Nebraska in the 19th century. It is one of the largest nonprofit membership organizations dedicated to planting trees and involved in conservation and education, with over one million members, supporters and partners.
Here's a preview of Mission 4/1 Earth: 50 Great Days.
Visit ucc.org/earth for more information or join the movement on Facebook.