The Green Congregation Action Plan (Short Version)
The goal is to make a difference 1) by transforming attitudes and commitments, and 2) by embracing concrete actions that reduce human ecological impact on the earth and contribute to justice for people affected by environmental degradation. Choose projects likely to succeed, institutionalize them, and then move on to others.
1. Transformation through Worship: “Let all creation praise God”
a. Incorporate Earth-keeping confessions, intercessory prayers, hymns, and sermons into weekly worship throughout the year.
b. For four Sundays in September, observe a four-week Season of Creation as part of the church year, with liturgies, sermons, Scripture lessons focusing on a relationship with nature (www.seasonofcreation.com)
c. Observe Earth Day Sunday in April (www.nccecojustice.org)
d. Have a Blessing of the Animals. (www.webofcreation.org under Worship)
e. Appoint your sanctuary with care for creation greenery, banners, and art.
2. Education: “Know your tradition and your world”
a. Study your denominational Social Statement and the “Earth Charter.” (www.webofcreation.org under Education)
b. A class/forum to study the biblical, theological, and ethical resources in the Christian faith for eco-justice ministry.
c. Forums with local experts on environmental issues and resources.
d. Hold a retreat in a natural setting for a cluster of churches/councils.
3. Building and Grounds: “The church as an alternative community” (www.webofcreation.org under Property)
a. Carry out a comprehensive environmental audit and develop a plan.
b. Retrofit church lighting; develop a recycling program; reduce paper use.
c. Use grounds as community garden, prairie, low maintenance lawn.
4. Discipleship at home and work: “Love your neighbor and Care for Creation”
a. Recruit members to do an audit of their homes and/or work places.
b. Provide an opportunity for members to make a “Covenant with Creation” listing the eco-justice practices and disciplines. (See www.webofcreation.org under Lifestyle at Home and Work).
c. Offer a study/support group using a guidebook to encourage sustainable living. See resources at www.earthministry.org and www.nwei.org.
5. Public Ministry/ Public Witness: “The church exists to serve the world” (www.webofcreation.org under Public Witness)
a. Notify members with periodic action alerts about local, regional, and national environmental legal and policy issues.
b. Do a hands-on project in the community: restore a habitat, clean up trash, plant trees, or protest pollution-causing ill health.
c. Assist another church in becoming a Green Congregation.
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