The Green Season
Everyone seems to be talking about “green” issues these days…
We’re becoming more sensitized,
more aware of the ways we use the good creation God provided for us.
We’re mindful of our dependence on the earth
for our food and air and water,
and for the energy that provides light and heat and transportation.
And we realize more and more the impact of the way we use these resources,
and how we return them to the earth.
The United Church of Christ has been raising, and addressing, these concerns for a long time, working for a more just world and a more gently-used earth.
Last year, our church leadership issued a pastoral letter on the environment, "And Indeed It Is Very Good…A Pastoral Letter on Faith and Environment: Living in Community with God's Creation."
Many "Earth Care" resources have been developed, and many projects are underway,
all of them filled with hope
and a strong commitment to caring for God’s beautiful green earth.
Even in the fall, a little green (at least up north)
means a lot.
Most of what we see around us is brown or gray (and white when the snow falls),
but the sleeping earth still holds the promise of new life in the spring.
In the season of Advent, blue a the color we see in church once again,
perhaps as a sign of the heavens, hope, and new life.
What better time than now,
to begin or strengthen our spiritual practices
of gratitude and good stewardship of the earth?
"Going green" is a spiritual practice that praises and thanks God our Creator for God's beautiful and good creation.
Caring for the earth is a year-round spiritual practice that requires prayerful commitment, daily mindfulness, and a change in habits for a greater good. Who knew bringing a mug to coffee hour could be part of a spiritual practice?
How is God calling your local church at this moment to grow your stewardship of the earth, and to deepen your spiritual life in the process?
United Church of Christ congregations can inspire our members and our surrounding communities to take better care of the gifts of creation, and we can make that easier in a variety of ways (providing recycling bins, for example).
The best way to begin is to lead by example, practicing good stewardship of the resources we use in the life of the congregation, from energy and office needs to the way we work in our kitchens!
Additional resources for caring for God's Good Earth:
(Get it Green on UCC)
Vital Churches are Green Churches!
Creating and Sustaining Green Congregations
ISBN/Prod. Code: 978-0-8298-1818-5
(Reg. $ 20.00)
$ 16.00 Sale!
Pre-pub orders will be shipped after 04/16/2009
Special Pre-Pub Offer Until 4/16/09
Get 1 FREE Eco-Friendly, Non-Woven Tote Bag
When You Order Eco-Faith
This book is a user-friendly guide for pastors, church leaders, congregations, and individuals to facilitate understanding of environmental issues as they relate to caring for the whole of God's creation. Each chapter contains an introduction as well as extensive lists of facts, actions, and resources. There are also inspiring stories from worship communities around the country that have made the decision to go green. Additionally, the book integrates current ecological research, religious thought, and a psychological perspective because, as the author asserts, environmentalists, psychologists, and people of faith are natural allies.
CHARLENE HOSENFELD is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She received her Ph.D. in counseling from Ohio University. She is co-author of Counseling Persons with Addictions and Compulsions: A Handbook for Pastors and Other Helping Professionals (The Pilgrim Press, 2007).
Have you seen Kilowatt Ours yet?
Our centerpiece resource is an excellent film, Kilowatt Ours , about the urgency of reducing our energy use, and how we can do it. The film is engaging, informative, and full of hope.
Thanks to the ChurchBuilding and Loan Fund , every resource center of the United Church of Christ has a copy of the DVD, and we urge you to share it with your members and churches in your area. It will inspire them to action! Please let us know if you schedule a showing in your area, and how those present plan to follow up!
As we learn how to save energy at church, let's do the same at home, and the effect will be multiplied many times over. Our children will learn, too, that we care about their future and the home that has been entrusted to us.
For this Green Season, we provide resources and links for worship, stewardship, justice work, church building design and upgrades, and more. Watch these pages for more and more ideas and helpful information.
Lots of churches are already good stewards of the earth. Tell us your story, what worked (and what didn't), and what you learned. Let's celebrate our progress together, and learn from one another. Send your stories to Kate Huey.
And we'll share our stories with you: our UCC national staff is conserving energy, reducing waste, and learning to recycle, recycle, recycle. We've committed to this effort in partnership with our own local congregations and churches across the United Church of Christ.
At the Church House, we're going green:
The Pilgrim Press has already put in place the following green measures:
- Our books are printed on post-consumer recycled paper, varying from 5%
- We have focused our print sources to the region in order to reduce delivery to 30% based on price and availability miles to our warehouse
- We reuse all packing materials--cardboard boxes, air pillows, shredded paper, and packing peanuts
And we have a book slated for publication (Spring 2009) that offers a practical plan for becoming green.
Timothy Staveteig, Publisher, Pilgrim Press
"Green" Worship Ways Resources
Worship Ways invited several writers to look at the lectionary texts for Ordinary Time, 2008, with an eye toward the “Green” prayer possibilities.
The results are “green” prayers from rural and urban contexts of the UCC, and “green” prayers which employ different forms, including “seeds” for pastoral prayers, a litany, a communion liturgy, and invitations to the offering.
A "Green" Communion Service for Ordinary Time
"Green" Prayers for July Sundays, from the Northern Plains
"Green" Prayer from the City, based on texts from 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 24
"Green" Introductions to Offering for Ordinary Time
Susan Blain, Minister for Worship, Liturgy, and Spiritual Formation
Making Church Buildings Green
National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs
United States Green Building Council
Andrew White, Executive Director, Church Building and Loans