Royal blue skies, forest-green trees, and rich, dark soil. The Earth’s bare beauty can be at times breathtaking. While the preserving of the world’s magnificence presents a significant challenge to it peoples, the Christian Church In Kentucky’s Green Chalice ministry seems up to the task of leading the way among Disciples.
The Kentucky Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes that Disciples should be good stewards of creation. In 2007, Kentucky General Minister J. Gregory Alexander invited members of various Disciples’ churches in the region to discuss how our congregations might better care for God’s creation. A Kentucky “green team” was formed as a result of that meeting.
“Our first mission was to educate the region’s congregations that caring for creation is part of how we are called to respond to God’s saving grace,” said Rev. Carol Devine, pastor of Republican Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cynthiana, Ky. Devine is the coordinator of the Christian Church In Kentucky’s Green Chalice ministry. Its mission statement is “Disciples connecting Christian faith, spiritual practice and environmental consciousness in order to demonstrate the fullness of God’s shalom,” which the ministry believes is based on scripture. “You shall not pollute the land in which you live… You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)
The Green Chalice ministry captured the attention of Disciples Home Missions President Rev. Ronald J. Degges. As a result, Disciples Home Missions (DHM) and the Christian Church in Kentucky (CCK) have a formed a new partnership. CCK’s Green Chalice will now become the official ministry for the Disciples’ stewardship of creation movement through DHM. Rev. Devine will serve both the DHM and CCK staffs as the new minister for Green Chalice.
Devine explained that the Green Chalice coincides with the Disciples’ logo, the chalice “which represents first and foremost that we are communion-centered people. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper in communion each week as the central part of our worship. Green Chalice extends the centrality of communion to all of our interactions with all creation.”
Devine continued: “We have led workshops and taught church school classes; we have put up a webpage with resources and links on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Chalice-Christian-Church-Disciples-of-Christ/210641885634361; we have spread the word through mailings and booths at large gatherings.” She also plans to have an information booth at the General Assembly next month. “And Disciples churches all over this state have responded with vigor,” she said. “We have many community gardens that range from providing plots for refugee families in Owensboro to cultivating several acres and taking the harvest to shut-in’s in Harrison County. Central Christian in Lexington put in geothermal heat when they added on to their building. A women’s group at Woodland Christian in Lexington recently had a gathering where they made their own environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Our churches have stopped using Styrofoam (for the most part) and have pulled out the tableware that has been in storage for years. They have replaced thermostats with programmable ones; they have begun using fair trade coffee, supporting local business and eating local foods. They have begun praying for the care of creation and creation is showing up more and more in the liturgy and sermons.”
Devine’s primary duty as Green Chalice minister, a part-time position, will be to produce a monthly e-newsletter along with answering e-mails and phone calls that pertain to creation care. The first e-newsletter, which can be read at (INSERT LINK TO GREEN CHALICE E-NEWSLETTER) was published this week. In addition to the Green Chalice booth at the General Assembly, its new partnership with Disciples Home Missions will be recognized at DHM’s Assembly dinner, and Devine will lead a breakout session at the Stewardship Pre-Event as well as a Resource Group session during the Assembly.
“Creation care is my passion and where I feel that I have the largest impact,” said Devine, who lives with her husband, John-Mark Hack and their three children on a five-acre parcel of land in Kentucky. “I love to garden and we have chickens. I have found that people want to live out their faith in a way that walks gently on Earth and they just need the support through education and resources to do that. The stewardship of God’s magnificent creation is a vital ministry that calls upon all of us to join in and do our part.”
By: James Patterson