Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Current Ideas in Eco-Stewardship

In the previous article, I discussed how the ministry of eco-stewardship is an important mission to churches because of our interconnections to God and the world around us. In this final article, I would like to share three ways in which faith communities can promote a strong eco-stewardship ministry. The ideas am sharing are also presented in “Greening Our Churches,” an article by David Rhoads and Andrea Orcutt in the July issue of Sojourners magazine.

The first is seeking ways to integrate nature into our worship services. Our church’s tradition already practices a “Rural Life” Sunday which reminds us of the gifts and responsibilities that God has given to us on Earth. Also, our hymnals contain many new and familiar tunes that reflect on the wonders of God’s Creation. There are also many good worship resources available from Christian organizations (The Sojourner’s article gives two good websites, www.webofcreation.org and www.earthministry.org). Overall, an inclusion of nature in worship helps us to remember the earthly blessings our Father gives and increases our value in taking care of it.

A second way promotes the education of current environmental concerns and looks into the ethical use of nature. Learn what you can about being ‘green’ from articles, books, TV, or even your own experience. I would also encourage you to read the 1991 Annual Conference Statement “Creation: Called to Care” for our denomination’s view on eco-stewardship. Be open to share these ideas and concerns with each other as it helps everyone in increasing their range of knowledge.

Finally, be active in the congregation and community to reduce our environmental impact. Find ways to reduce energy use in your home and the church. For example, our church is already active in highway cleanup. Also, the York Center Church of the Brethren is currently discussing ways to reduce their building’s energy consumption through efficient lighting and heating methods. Urge the government, at all levels, to support funding toward conservation and sustainable policies.

The eco-stewardship movement is growing among churches, and I see a capability that the Church of the Brethren can perform within it. Our rural heritage along with values of simplicity, compassion, and justice gives us a strong role to share with other denominations. God be with us as we seek ways to be part of His plan for restoration.

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