Thursday, June 26, 2008

Congregations Making a Difference

The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs is highlighting churches doing things to protect creation. Read about it below:
In May, the call went out for stories to be submitted of what local congregations were doing across the country to protect God's Creation. The response included more than 50 submissions, covering a wide spectrum of activities including Children's Ministry, Green Building, Food and Faith, Energy Conservation, Alternative Transportation, Recycling, Environmental Justice, and Comprehensive Program, with the winner of each category receiving a $500 grant to continue their work. To view a collection of the stories submitted, click here.
The Manassas Church of the Brethren in Manassas, Virginia, is the winner of the Children's Ministry category, with their Junior BUGS program, imparting the message of Creation Care to the children of their congregation. The Madison Christian Community, an ecumenical partnership between Advent Lutheran Church and the Community of Hope in Madison, Wisconsin, won the Food and Faith category for their restorative justice gardening, reaching out to inmates in local prisons to teach horticulture.
In the Green Building Category, St. Marks Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California, was recognized as the Audubon Society's 'Greenest in the Nation', and built their new building with LEED standards in mind. For the Energy Conservation category, the award goes to First Grace United Methodist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, for their work to conserve energy in their rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. "One of the most at-risk cities for the effects of global warming is New Orleans, and one of the biggest contributors is energy usage," says Sarah Fleming, one of the church volunteers.
Kern Road Mennonite Church, in South Bend, Indiana, has started the tradition of riding bikes to church, earning them the award in the Alternative Transportation category. "When one person starts something like this then the next thing you know you have a whole group of people," said Deanna Waggy, a church member. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, All People's Church has reclaimed a garden in an urban community, earning them the award in the Environmental Justice category.
For the Recycling category, Wesley United Methodist Church in Yakima, Washington, has kept more than 5 million pounds of trash out of the landfill through their community recycling program. And in the Comprehensive Program category, Maryland Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, has, among other activities, reclaimed the wooded area around the church, and named environmental stewardship as a priority in everything the church does. "As our reputation for creation care grows, so has our congregation, which now attracts members from a 20-mile radius," said Bill Breaky, a church member. The church is currently preparing to install beehives at the rear of the woods. According to Breaky, "We look forward to the day when we can give jars of honey to visitors."
Congratulations to all our winners, and thanks so much to all of you who submitted stories for the contest, and keep filling us in on what you are doing in your congregations to better protect God's Creation!

Click here to send an email and tell about what you are doing.
To view a map and see what congregations in your part of the country are already doing, click here.
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Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 26 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at out the National IPL Blog.

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