How Church Got Started with GreenFaith Ministry
Grace Episcopal Church in Chattanooga, TN
Seeing a medium- or large-sized church with a program in place like GreenFaith, the program might seem daunting to a smaller church or to one that previously had no focus on creation care. While the leaders I met recently at Grace Episcopal Church in Chattanooga are certainly well-organized and talented, they say any faith community can do what they've done. Church efforts include sustainable landscaping, recycling, composting, a community garden and a weekly farmers' market.
GreenFaith Team leader Marion Pound encourages others to start with education and then one small action step at a time. She said something as simple as recycling could help a congregation get started. "Start with one thing and then watch it grow. I think you will be surprised at how people will get excited!"
Master Gardener Lisa Lemza noted that a community garden project needs a manager. She also explained that both budget and the need for low maintenance are important details to consider before getting started.
The Reverend Susan J. Butler said she's amazed at how well the various talents and concerns of church members came together to make GreenFaith projects work. And yes, she credits a higher power. "As a Christian minister, when you asked me why this happened, what I believe is that it was the movement of the Holy Spirit. That people who have a passion for the preservation and restoration of the earth just presented themselves and said 'you know we really think that Grace Church ought to get GreenFaith certified, ought to incorporate the preservation and restoration of the creation into our Sunday school program, not just for kids but for adults as well…that our liturgies ought to reflect creation-centered spiritually and theology.' I think that the Holy Spirit just moved here…to encourage people, to give them voice.”
GreenFaith offers a free start-up kit of ideas for faith communities who want to green their ministries.