The Green Team is delighted to report that we have completed the requirements for GreenFaith certification as of November, 2017. This was a two year process that required a number of accomplishments in the areas of stewardship, education, worship, environmental justice advocacy, and communications. We were also required to have several interfaith and intergenerational events. We would like to give a short summary of the many activities we have engaged in.
In stewardship, we were required to accomplish at least 25 tasks covering both action and awareness in the areas of energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction, toxin reduction, responsible outdoor maintenance, transportation, and food issues. Just a small sampling of our activities are: water conservation signs and water-reducing faucets around the church, two waste audits and new recycling containers, a professional energy audit for both the manse and the church building, an Energy Star purchasing policy (and new high efficiency refrigerators), providing Fair Trade, organic tea and coffee, several vegetarian events as well as attention to having vegetarian options at our fellowship events such as the progressive dinner, publicizing local Community Supported Agriculture options and local farmers’ markets, a “food waste weekend” event, information on electronic recycling and non-toxic cleaning products at our Earth Day service, a garden tour and discussion of butterfly-friendly plants, and a no-idling policy with signage in front and back of the church building. And that’s just in the area of stewardship!
In worship, we had multiple services and themes oriented around environmental issues, including “The Earth is the Lord’s and Everything in it” (fall 2015), Water in the Desert service (January 2016), two Earth Day services, and a Food Waste service (November 2016). Lent 2017 was devoted to honoring the Sabbath, including spending time outdoors. Our biggest project was the design and installation of our beautiful outdoor labyrinth as a way for us to find spiritual connectedness in our outdoor environment.
We had several interfaith engagements, including the Thanksgiving 2016 service focused on thanksgiving prayers for the earth, and our spring 2017 dedication of our labyrinth.
In education, we had a multi-session adult ed series on the GreenFaith book, a women’s series on water, a youth study on Food Justice, youth involved in the waste audit and planting a potato garden, and activities in both the church school and preschool around environmental conservation.
In the area of environmental justice, we had a Lenten tour of the Peekskill area “Healing our Sacred Spaces” and attention to environmental issues for both of our Dominican Republic mission trips (2015 and 2017).
Finally in the area of communications, we published a number of articles in the Disciple on ways to save energy, make personal choices for helping the environment, stories about our waste audit, an article on food justice, and on the “farm to pantry” effort. We wrote eight eco-theological reflections in the Disciple and on the website highlighting theological support for caring for the earth, and provided eight press releases to our local newspapers on our activities.
The GreenTeam thanks the following people for their contributions to this two year project: Robin Corpolongo, Nicole DeCintio, Donna Gresh, Diane Hawlk, Theresa Kennedy, Connie Knapp, David Lee, Andy Mavian, Jean Post-Winget, David Ramage, Tami Seidel, Lynda Spring, Wendy Whetsel. A special shoutout to all the many volunteers and their hard work building the labyrinth. We plan to have a formal celebration marking our GreenFaith certification in the spring.