In scripture, the first call of humanity is to be stewards of God’s creation. Even today, the call to care for the earth and all that lives on it is an important part of our Christian witness.
Over the past year, we have ramped up and recommitted ourselves to this original call, and our efforts have officially been recognized. If you haven’t heard the news yet, First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro is now an Earth Care Congregation. This is very much something worth celebrating.
In late 2019, the Green Team looked at the prospect of becoming an Earth Care Congregation. If you aren’t familiar with the designation, the Earth Care Congregation program is part of the Presbyterian Hunger Project. It recognizes congregations that have committed to the Earth Care Pledge and have made significant efforts in caring for God’s earth.
The Earth Care Pledge promises to promote stewardship of creation in the four areas of worship, education, facilities, and outreach. The
designation of Earth Care Congregation is given to congregations that have achieved a specific number of actions in each of those four areas. In 2019, we fell short of the number of actions required to become an ECC, but we were close enough that we were encouraged to try again in 2020.
Throughout last year, the Green Team, the staff, and the committees of the Session all worked together to meet the goal of becoming an ECC. We became intentional about incorporating creation care into our regular church life. From sermons to recycling to church school classes to our Giving Back Garden to planting a new tree outside the sanctuary, earth care touched almost every part of what we did at FPC last year.
When it came time to look at the application again for the year of 2020, we had more than enough points in each of the four areas of the Earth Care Pledge. To highlight how much we improved from 2019 to 2020, we had about five times more points in 2020 and more than three times the minimum amount needed to become an ECC.
Becoming an Earth Care Congregation is a great honor. We are joining a network of just a few hundred other congregations across the country. However, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. It is not a certification that we get to keep forever. Every year we will apply for recertification, always improving and growing deeper into our commitment.
We can and should celebrate all the good work we did last year, but we still have plenty of work ahead of us. Our task is not complete; it is merely beginning.
Learn more about Earth Care Congregations.
Maddy Chandler, one of our youth, was inspired by the church’s Styrofoam recycling project and started one at her school! Watch here.