What Can We As Churches Do to Care for God’s Creation?
As Christians, we are called to care for all of creation: land, water, air, animals, plants, people – all of it. We, at the Federated Church, UCC, in the small village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio have been dedicated to a theology and practice of creation care for many years. Over time, we have shifted and expanded our scope of concern and action. In the past six years, our focus has transitioned from recycling and energy conservation to include social and environmental justice advocacy. We share here a list of activity and program ideas we have implemented over the years in the hopes that it might stimulate and inspire other churches in answering the call to care for God’s creation.
Worship—Setting a Theological and Spiritual Foundation
- Have creation care worship service themes around Earth Day (April 22 each year) but be sure to also extend them throughout the year. Songs, hymns, prayers, sermons, scripture – all take on new life when we express the love and care we as Christians should extend to God’s Creation.
- Include care of the earth and creation justice themes every Sunday in your Prayers of the People. Creation care and justice are everyday concerns that need attention all year long.
Awareness Building—Learning How Environmental Issues Impact Some More Than Others
- Host movie nights with discussion.
- Host book studies or, in our case, we held a “Book Journey.”
- Host speaker nights – Invite local experts in environmental justice to come talk to your church. It is engaging, informative and often leads to action and partnerships.
- Invite your church council and all of your church’s committees to engage in conversations and decisions about our environmental impact.
Action—Putting Our Faith into Practice
- If your church does not already have a recycling program, start one. It is easy and everyone can participate.
- Host an electronic recycling drive a few times a year. Keep electronics out of the landfills.
- Use environmentally friendly products in cleaning, gardening, and hosting events at your church.
- Include a list of environmental actions or tips each month in your newsletter.
- Do an energy audit to see if your church can improve its energy usage.
- Explore alternative, renewable energy for your church.
- Plant trees.
- Collaborate with other churches and community organizations already working in the environmental justice field.
- Participate in the UCC’s Creation Justice Ministries, and join your local UCC association or conference Environmental Justice Network.
The main thing is to do something. Start the conversation. Explore the issues. Invite experts in. Form action groups. Inform and engage your congregation. Start small or big, but just start. You can do it.
April is Earth Month, and for congregations, it can be a great time to further discern how...Read More
Sue Mueller is an accomplished leader and advocate with a passion for driving positive...Read More