Thursday, January 11, 2018

Canton Church Forms Environment Team, Makes Rain Barrels

Story submitted by Kevin Kessler.

About 2 years ago, the Canton CoB Leadership Team began to grapple with the questions of congregational purpose and vitality. Carol Davis, a member of the congregation, enthusiastically led the process by calling together a visioning team of committed persons from within the congregation. They first developed questions and then invited the entire congregation to respond. Responses were then gleaned through a few focus group settings.  After compiling the responses, the visioning team spent time discerning key areas of interest, or passions, which emerged.

It became evident that the congregation was passionate about 5 areas: Ministry and Education, Relationships, Environment, Community, and Traditions/History. These passions, along with an umbrella statement claiming dignity for all of God's creation, were confirmed by the congregation. The entire congregation was then invited, by one-on-one conversations, to engage in one of the areas of passion. Subsequent gatherings provided opportunity for congregants to share ideas, set goals, and develop strategies to move forward in their respective passions. The process has generated enthusiasm and excitement around a variety of projects and ministry opportunities, one of which is the rain barrel project.

Jessica Brewer and David Ludlum, participants in the Environment Passion Group, have been instrumental in moving the rain barrel project along. A completed barrel system was installed at the house of David's parents.

The Environment Passion Group, through a brainstorming session, decided to embark on a project to create rain barrels as a creation care ministry. Three benefits motivated the group to forge ahead with the rain barrel project:
  • Collection of rainwater alleviates excess runoff into city drainage systems. A practical benefit is that captured water helps reduce flooding and erosion issues.
  • Water running off parking lots and city streets often mixes with petroleum-based products from motor vehicles. When these products enter our waterways wildlife and human life is adversely affected. Thus, collecting rainwater from the roof, before it flows over the ground, reduces pollution and provides an environmental benefit for our area.
  • Collecting rainwater also reduces the need to divert clean drinking water for watering gardens and indoor plants. The financial benefit is a reduction in the cost of household water usage and saves more clean, potable water for human consumption.
A first step for this project was finding barrels that could be converted to collection units. Following some research and phone calls, a company that produces dairy-based products offered to donate nine barrels to our project with the caveat that the containers would be given a thorough cleaning before using them.

The next step was finding reasonably priced hardware to convert the drums to rain water collecting units. Conversion kits were found at a major retail hardware store for approximately $30.00 each. However, an online source afforded the opportunity to purchase individual parts at a cost below the full conversion kit price. Because of our low-cost production, we can use church funds to cover the expense and give the barrels to recipients for free.

A “conversion day” is planned for this coming spring whereby a small group will install hardware on the nine barrels. The completed rain barrels will then be distributed to interested persons in the congregation. Any remaining barrels will be distributed to people beyond the congregation. The Environment Passion Group hopes this project will not only increase the vitality of the Canton congregation but also aid people in stewarding God’s good creation.

Canton Church of the Brethren website -

[Stay tuned for updates!]

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