Examples of Intentional Acts of Caring and Justice

  • Reduce Waste through Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Reduce (look at these options first)
      • Book/Bible studies to reduce consumerism
      • Scrutinize and rethink all purchases before making them
        • Do you REALLY NEED it?
        • Green alternatives?
        • Can it be borrowed or rented?
        • How much/what type of packaging is on the product?
        • Fair Trade?
        • Made from recycled materials or is it recyclable?
      • Reduce the amount of paper used
        • 2-sided copies
        • Re-use already used paper to copy on second side for informal usage
        • Fewer hard copies, more electronic sharing/copies
        • Each committee set up email or text groups, Google docs, etc
        • Options other than weekly paper bulletins?
      • Reduce food waste as much as possible
        • Leftovers to feed homeless if feasible
        • Compost organic waste and use as fertilizer for gardens
      • Facilitate congregational sharing of goods – like baby clothes, furniture, craft items, things no longer needed by one could be passed on to someone else, etc.
      • Silverware lending program                    
    • Reuse (second)
      • Reusable dishes and serving ware in kitchen to be used for ALL events, not disposable plates, plastic-ware, etc.
      • Encourage reusable (metal) water bottles, coffee mugs, etc.
        • Don’t offer bottled water or soda at church events or in vending machines
      • Obtain decorations for church events with eye to reusability
        • Don’t continually change themes of similar events
        • Borrow from other churches/groups
        • Invest in cloth tablecloths ONCE and quit using plastic
    • Recycle (third, after reduce and reuse) – everything you can, including paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, aluminum cans, ink cartridges – involve youth and children’s programs
    • Aim for Net Zero Waste – many tips available online

 

  • Worship
    • Incorporate more visible presence of creation in worship spaces – live plants, natural lighting, creation-themed banners
    • Incorporate creation in worship services – weekly prayers of thanksgiving, forgiveness, hope; special music; sermons; hymns and anthems; guest speakers; creation-themed service annually
    • Incorporate steps the church is taking into the curriculum of Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and Youth and Children’s Ministry such as mission trips and camps so children/youth are actively engaged in programs to facilitate care of God’s creation and mitigate climate change
      • Eco-Camps for children and youth in the summer
      • Take learning outside whenever possible

 

Photo from https://umcreationjustice.org/growing-good-food-and-good-ministry/

  • Grounds and Gardens
    • Plant an organic church produce and herb garden to replace grass lawn areas – share produce with local food pantry, homeless shelter, or feature at church functions
    • Encourage members to create home gardens for similar purpose
    • Incorporate native plants into church and home landscaping
    • Edible landscaping
    • Plant an organic pollinator garden of native plants

 

  • Food and Faith
    • Buy and prepare local and healthful food for church events
      • Organic 
      • Humanely raised animal products
      • Vegetarian or vegan dishes
      • Include fair trade items to assure worker justice issues addressed
    • Support UMCOR’s coffee project through Equal Exchange which offers access to organic fair trade products (not just coffee) from small farmers around the world at discount prices

 

Photo from https://www.wnccumc.org/newsdetail/rebate-money-available-for-churches-to-go-solar-14967926
First UMC of Stanley, NC (CommonGround) solar project

  • Increase Energy and Water Efficiency or Go Renewable
    • Church-related trips planned with fuel usage in mind
    • Coordinators of any church events ‘encourage’ or organize carpooling
    • Consider feasibility of solar power on existing buildings or if/when building new facilities
      • Also consider ways current building can incorporate renewable energy sources when they need repairs, remodeling, etc.
    • Plant trees, and encourage members to plant trees, whenever possible – at the church, in the community, at home – they cool and clean the surrounding air
    • Keep church vehicles well maintained
    • Promote walking or cycling to/from church
      • Install bike racks, showers at church 
    • Promote water conservation in restrooms and kitchen areas
      • Install rain barrels to capture rain runoff and use to water gardens, landscaping, trees, etc 
    • Evaluate and update facilities’ energy efficiencies – insulation, lighting (change out the light bulbs), turn off lights not in use or install timers, reduce heat in colder months and a/c in warmer months, install energy efficient appliances and IT equipment
      • Encourage use of natural lighting whenever possible  
    • Encourage adult groups to study and discuss the topic and brainstorm ideas – then DO THEM!
    • Get the children/youth involved in calculating the carbon footprint of the church and then suggesting ideas for ways to reduce the carbon footprint so they feel empowered

 

    Include the Community
    • Get local businesses involved and partnering with the church
    • Partner with other environmental or faith-based groups to support community projects related to creation care
    • Contact groups in your community who are suffering the ill effects of climate change, environmental degradation, pollution from waste and corporate facilities, and see what you can do to engage
    • Request grant funding available through non-profit, government, and faith-based organizations
    • Remember community service clubs like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, others

 

  • Advocate with local, state, and federal government representatives to support the environmentally focused programs that will promote creation, climate, and environmental/racial justice

*Remember*

Keep it doable – don’t try to do too much all at once, but get started!!

Once you get started, let us know what you're doing by emailing stories and photos to CreationCareWNCC@gmail.com!

There are many more ideas available online.