Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I wrote some time ago about the beginnings of a green ministry at my church and promised that I’d address this again in the future. On Saturday, this green ministry quietly began, as I led a group of 17 volunteers on a seed collection in suburban Maryland. The ministry will officially kick-off in the spring, with a four-week Sunday school class on stewardship beginning Earth Day Sunday and with more events. We’ll focus on learning about and showing appreciation for our gifts and we’ll work to serve others.
For now, I’m finding kindred spirits in the congregation and building interest and buzz. I’m connecting the dots that working for a healthy environment is among Christians’ responsibilities: The Father gave His people this duty in Genesis. Beyond this, we should take care of a gift for which we are grateful, especially a gift in which the Maker has expressed such pride. Moving ahead to the teachings of Christ, we see a charge to care for the physical needs of others.
This weekend, we put this theology into practice. In two hours, we learned about watersheds and native trees, and served our community by collecting seeds that will soon become seedlings. These seedlings will grow to become trees, perhaps part of a new forest. They will make for cleaner streams and rivers, improve drinking-water quality, feed and shelter local wildlife, and support the men and women who earn a living harvesting crabs and oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. Not bad for two hours spent with friends on a beautiful fall day.


Stacey D said...

Hey there! Don't know if you saw my response to your comment on my blog but I wanted to stop by and say hello and let you know that I linked the granola recipe there (on my blog that is).

So I'd love to hear more about your environmental ministry - ours has fallen a bit flat and I'd love to hear about what works (or doesn't work) for your ministry.

Looks like you all had a lot of fun, I LOVE the idea of including teaching for the kiddos.

E. R. Dunhill said...

Thanks for stopping by. Indeed I did see your response. Thank you for the recipe. I may give it a whirl with some local apples this fall. It sounds great.
As for the environmental ministry, I'll be blogging about it more as it evolves. The program is at an early stage, but I do envision more service projects akin to what I've written about here, study of scripture, recreational activities, personal and community stewardship education, and possibly a book group. I have activities in mind for all age groups. I'll put some links to general EM resources in the Comments in the next few days for you. I'm also happy to share ideas for any groups you may have in mind.
How large is your congregation, and how many people have you typically seen in EM activities?

Pat Jenkins said...

bout time you got out there and did some yard work erd.. "being couped" up in the city you don't get that chance much i bet!!

E. R. Dunhill said...

The city where I live contains a great deal of green space. As it happens, I do a good bit of work in my own yard. Aside from mowing and keeping a vegetable garden (on hiatus until next spring), I have two roughly 50-year-old maple trees, another I'd estimate to be about 30, a dogwood, a mulberry, and a crepe myrtle to tend.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

ERD: If you get bored with that handful of trees come see me. I've got about 100 hybrid poplars, 25 Russian olives, 1 flowering crabapple, 2 honey locust, 2 burr oak, 2 groupings of red oak, 3 Austrian pines, 40 Mondale pines, 4 wild plum, 2 peach, grape vines, 2 pecan, 15 crepe myrtles and about 25 new climbing roses that I started from cuttings off of one of my daughter's rose bushes. Oh, about 3/4 acre of lawn and some pasture to attend. It is a full-time job just keeping it in shape.

I love trees. We have planted trees at every place we have lived -- and that's quite a number of places. It is interesting to pass by a previous home and see how our successors have handled the babies we left for them to tend. Many of the trees through the years were started from seeds harvested from attractive specimens we spied. One year we collected lots of different wildflower seeds. They make an attractive addition to the pasture.

So, if you have a little spare time, drop by and I'll put you to work!

E. R. Dunhill said...

As promised, I'm posting a handful of web-based resources. This is the tip of the iceberg:
Marcus Borg's insights on Christianity and the environment at Newsweek

Presbyterians for Restoring Creation (PRC) This site has some resources for "big picture" and policy issues.

Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light This site has some policy issues, but I think its real strength is in sharing resources to educate congregants about why conservation falls under the purview of churches. It also has good resources for doing green worship services.

A recent Reuters blog post about a recently published green Bible The author attempts to create controversy and misses an important point, but it's worth looking at.