Thursday, April 22, 2010

Christians celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Congregations across the country are observing Earth Day by celebrating the goodness of God's Creation, recognizing that stewardship begins in the sacred spaces of our church buildings and grounds.

To aid congregations in honoring Creation, the National Council of Churches (NCC) developed an Earth Day Sunday resource titled "Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life: Worship Spaces as Stewardship." The resource includes ideas on energy and water conservation, and toxics reduction.

Across the country, congregations are answering the call to stewardship of their sacred spaces, by taking action to green their congregations.

For example, Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ in Grand Island, N.Y., is in the process of building a sustainable building with straw bale insulation. First Universalist Church in Minneapolis started a comprehensive recycling program that reduced the congregation's trash by 65-75 percent.

Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Md., installed programmable thermostats and weather-stripping, purchased copy paper with recycled content, switched to an energy conservative copier, eliminated the use of Styrofoam serving ware, and ensured that 50 percent of the funds spent on electricity supports wind power. Their motto: "We may be a red brick building, but we are working to be a 'green' church!"

Here are other Earth Day Sunday stories from congregations around the country:

On April 18, St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif., celebrated Earth Day using the NCC Earth Day theme. According to member Mary Roberts, "It worked well with our goals for the year of reexamining the environmental features of our campus." Between worship services they offered family fun activities, green lifestyle displays, and a guided tour of their certified Audubon International Signature Sanctuary and grounds.

Forest Lake Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., is celebrating "ALL GOD'S CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL ...Their Environment Is Our Sacred Space." Their Earth Sunday celebrations will include special Sunday school programs and service projects.

Westminster Church of the Brethren in Westminster, Md., will make a joyful noise on Earth Day Sunday with hymns taken from the NCC's Stewards of the Bay resource for congregations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

St. Mark United Methodist Church in Seneca, S.C., shows the movie "Kilowatt Hours" every year on Earth Day Sunday for the confirmation class. They also have a special class on the environment with tips on being good stewards of God's Creation and encourage members to bring their own dishes and silverware when they have church meetings, rather than use disposable products.

The Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian congregation in Chapel Hill, N.C., has celebrated God's Creation all month long with adult education classes and environmental Sabbath art projects, culminating in an outdoor worship service on April 25.

Read more about the Earth Day celebrations of these and other congregations on the NCC Eco-Justice Programs website at The resources mentioned in this article can be downloaded from

-- This release was provided by Philip E. Jenks of the National Council of Churches.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline

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