Five Potential First Steps: Starting on the Path to Green Vitality
If your church is looking to gain a renewed sense of mission and purpose through an environmental ministry, try one of these first steps:
- Conduct an energy audit. One of the easiest ways we can care for creation is to reduce our carbon footprint with the knowledge gained from an energy audit.
- Host a speaker. Check to see who might be able to speak on a topic of interest such as the local impacts of climate change in your community and region. Speakers can be found through local universities and colleges as well as organizations like the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and Interfaith Power and Light.
- Organize a book group. The pope’s encyclical letter Laudato Si’ is a wonderful introduction to many crucial ideas about environmental justice from a theological perspective. Interfaith Power and Light along with the Catholic Climate Covenant put together a helpful encyclical action kit with lots of good resources.
- Bless a newly planted tree, rose bush, or garden vegetable. What is important is not simply that something is planted but that ritual and reflection are added to help people focus on becoming intimately connected with the natural world around them through their faith.
- Go for a short hike. Head out on an easy trail so that the outing will appeal to a range of ages. Encourage participants to think of the hike as an experience of worship. You are spending time in God’s glorious cathedral. Who wouldn’t want to care for such a sacred, breathtaking world?
After you do one of these steps, start planning for the next. Consider starting a green team or seek to have your church designated as a Creation Justice Church.