Environmental stewardship at The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, located in Columbus, first got started when global warming was just beginning to be taken seriously. “On April 17, 2007, at the monthly meeting of the Missions Commission, a sub-committee of eight members was formed to engage the congregation in environmental stewardship of the earth,” says Dawn George, the lead committee member. The committee decided to name itself Sacred Earth. The first project of the committee was to raise awareness about ways each person can conserve the earth’s resources. The next action was to begin selling Fair Trade Products through the United Church of Christ Coffee Project.
Sacred Earth has had a big impact on the congregation by raising money for improvements to the 75-year old building, such as replacing electrical ballasts. The work of this committee has been received well from the people in this faith community. Sacred Earth members continue to educate about ways to be involved in environmental issues.
A significant success of Sacred Earth, with the help of the minister, is ensuring that the environmental message is spoken about more publicly. Also, the improvements in the building have helped to reduce their carbon footprint. Recently, Sacred Earth was “…offered trees through the Arbor Day Foundation; worked with our minister in offering Pet Blessings; provided gift baskets during the holidays with coffees, teas, chocolates; and more.” Sacred Earth has held dinners and movie nights around an environmental issue, encouraging discussion and building awareness. Also, recycling is increasing throughout the church.
Beginning on April 1st and lasting through Pentecost, The First Congregational UCC will be a part of the United Church of Christ event called Mission 4:1 Earth. There will be multiple educational workshops about different environmental issues, as well as other information about animal rights, gardening, food shortage/hunger and an over-all summary with lots of handouts. Sacred Earth will be involved in encouraging members to clean a neighborhood, to plant trees, and to write legislators regarding environmental issues.
See here for more information about Mission 4:1 Earth.
Sacred Earth at The First Congregational UCC has led the way in environmental stewardship. As a member of Sacred Earth, Patricia Patterson, says, “Members of Sacred Earth know that every little bit helps.”
The First Congregational Church
United Church of Christ
444 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3885
Patricia Paterson: First Congregational Church planning team and member of Sacred Earth
Dawn George: Lead Sacred Earth member
This Congregational Highlight is contributed by Jessica Signoracci, OSU student