by Wendy Davidson, Disciples Peace Fellowship intern
“The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it” (Psalm 24:1)
When I was little, my mom gave me a stuffed animal – a unicorn – that she carried with her from her own childhood. I cared for this unicorn deeply, but it was only as I grew older that I realized that my mother’s love for her childhood friend did not diminish when she entrusted the plush unicorn to me. The unicorn was mine to play with; however she was also mine to care for, just as my mother had cared for her, for as long as the unicorn was under my care.
So, too, it is with the earth. The creation account in Genesis recounts that as God creates each facet of the universe, God affirms over and over that “it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Finally, God entrusts this good and beautiful world that God still loves to our care. How shall we treat the earth knowing how deeply God loves it and everything in it?
Green Chalice began as the grassroots ministry of a handful of folks in Kentucky, dedicated to answering that question: how do we connect our faith to caring for the earth?
Today, Green Chalice is dedicated to empowering Disciples of Christ congregations to, in the words of Green Chalice Minister Carol Devine, “walk more gently on the earth.” Green Chalice offers a certification program that invites congregations to investigate every area of church life (buildings and grounds, outreach, education, worship, office, admin) and ask the question: how can we, in this area, be more sustainable, kinder, and more healing to the earth? (Disciples can also access services through Disciples Church Extension Fund to help manage buildings responsibly.)
Unfortunately, engaging with questions of how we can better care for the earth is becoming more and more urgent. As regions around the world suffer varying effects of changing climate, from droughts in California causing wildfires, to storm systems settling atop the midwest leading to major flooding, to the Rubbertown of Louisville, KY, where factories pollute the air, the soil, and the water, we have begun to see some of the negative effects of our collective disregard for the earth. The clock is ticking, and many climate scientists suggest that we may only have ten years left to make meaningful and necessary changes.
However, there is still cause for hope. We have witnessed over the last few months the resilience of creation, as it takes a deep breath and begins to recover, even as we must sequester ourselves in our homes. We celebrate young people, like Greta Thunberg, who are stepping up around the world to advocate for meaningful change.
There is hope, but we cannot leave this good and important work to our young people alone. We must stand with them and work towards implementing the changes that so many of our youth are already committing to. In 2017, the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) passed a resolution to reduce our carbon output as a denomination with our goal to become carbon neutral by the year 2030.
So what can we do to help?
As a congregation:
Become a Green Chalice congregation or ministry! It involves three simple steps.
- Create a creation care team
- Sign the Green Chalice covenant
- Make at least 3 changes – and they can be ANY three changes! (community gardens, butterfly gardens, water gardens, go solar, use real dishes instead of styrofoam, recycle, celebrate creation in worship/life/food, compost, set up charging stations for electric cars, encourage biking to church)
Reduce your carbon footprint and offset what’s left to help the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) reach our goal of going carbon neutral by 2030! https://www.coolcongregations.org/calculators/
As an individual: