Building and Grounds: “The church as an alternative community”
Be an Energy Steward. Revere the resources God so graciously gives, by monitoring and adjusting your habits. First: know what have to work with. Contact your local utility for an energy audit or use an online tool like the Energy Star’s Treasure Hunt to understand easy ways to better conserve energy and reduce spending. For more comprehensive ways to measure your current consumption habits and make a path to radically reduce them, choose a tool which makes the most sense in your context:
Choose a specific project: What project can you get the most help getting done right away? Find collaborators, make your work fun, and share your story with friends and the larger community. Replace all incandescent bulbs; retrofit fluorescent lighting; develop a rethink + recycling program; reduce paper use; purchase green cleaning products; make Earth-friendly food choices; eliminate Styrofoam; develop Earth-friendly lawn care, among others (find facilities tips and shared stories here).
Use of land & water: Community garden; restore to prairie; preserve natural habitats; plant trees; create a sanctuary or peace garden; nurture animal life. Phase out fertilizers and pesticides use for lawns. Many free resources, stories, samples and readings to share can be found on our site, but local experts are best to build on existing relationships. Consider sharing a broader understanding of our relationship with soil by utilizing the “Kiss the Ground” program. This educational movement has the potential to involve those interested in agriculture, science, history, gardening and/or climate change. Watershed discipleship resources are plentiful and offer a faithful entry point as water offers a central theme throughout many of our shared stories.
Know your facility as an “Earth community.” Get to know the trees, plants, animals, insects, birds, and other creatures who live with you on this space. Live in such a way that all of you may thrive together. Pray for them. Worship with them. Include some in your church directory as your creation family. For more on this practice read this article by theologian, David Rhoads.
For more information about Becoming a Caring-for-Creation Congregation, visit this page.