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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » St. Stephen, Longview, participates in two-year GreenFaith certification program

St. Stephen, Longview, participates in two-year GreenFaith certification program

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia

An article describing St. Stephen's Episcopal church in Longview, Washington's Certification efforts

St. Stephen, Longview, participates in two-year GreenFaith certification program

Members of St. Stephen's grow vegetables for those in need

 

The mission statement for GREENFAITH at St. Stephen’s Longview is: “All creation is God’s gift.  Because God works through us, we affirm our responsibility to be just and faithful stewards of our fragile island home.  Caring for creation will be woven into all our ministries.”

St. Stephen’s was accepted into the 2-year GreenFaith certification program in late December of 2011.  An 11-member parishioner team was formed, wrote their mission statement with parish input, and drafted a preliminary action plan.  Certification in this national program has multiple requirements for stewardship, spirit, and environmental justice.  St. Stephen’s has worked continually since then planning and implementing projects to affirm our responsibility and commitment.

Many parishioners are actively engaged in caring for the environment in multiple ways in their own lives.  “These past months have been transformational,” says Margaret Lapic, co-chair of the St. Stephen’s GreenTeam.   We have done some really interesting things – like creating a wildlife habitat near our front door, holding a fall harvest feast with prizes for the largest zucchini, and hosting a community bike ride to raise money for native plants.

Here are 25 ways the people of St. Stephen’s are making and keeping their commitment to be better ministers of caring for creation. We call this our “green list.”

  • Reducing our energy consumption by replacing all bulbs with CFLs and T8s, insulating drafts and walls, adjusting thermostats, replacing appliances with Energy Star rated appliances, using LEDs, and monitoring our progress using the Energy Star management portfolio.
  • Promoting and publicizing the use of vegetarian food by publishing vegetarian recipes, serving vegetarian options at all meals, and educating ourselves about the value of serving and consuming vegetarian food.
  • Ensuring the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables whenever we gather in the parish hall, in meetings where refreshments are served, and at parish sponsored meals.
  • Purchasing local fruits and vegetables through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
  • Promoting options to encourage all parishioners to identify ways to reduce their own personal carbon footprint.
  • Not using disposable water bottles.
  • Reducing our use of paper and plastic products by purchasing 100% post-consumer recycled paper, reducing the size of the Sunday program, and eliminating catalog mailings.
  • Enhancing our parish recycling program by education, improved signage, and arrangements for additional product recycling (electronics, batteries, etc.)
  • Installing a compost bin (with worms), providing education about how to and why to compost biodegradable waste, giving away pairs of worms for home bins.
  • Eliminating the use of toxic chemicals for cleaning.
  • Educating ourselves about using green cleaning products in our parish life as well as our home life.
  • Promoting use of native plants and the value of wildlife habitats.
  • Using re-usable dinnerware at all parish sponsored events.
  • Encouraging walking, biking, and carpooling to church and elsewhere.
  • Communicating our commitment to care for creation to the community.
  • Regularly praying for the environment (at least monthly during church services and periodically during the year to celebrate and bless farmers, gardens, growers, and gardeners.
  • Celebrating the Eucharist outdoors.
  • Growing potatoes for people in the low income community.
  • Conducting classes outdoors that focus on the environment.
  • Planning and enjoying intergenerational outdoor activities such as hikes, bike rides, field trips.
  • Advocating for safe chemical legislation.
  • Meeting with Environmental Justice leaders.
  • Educating ourselves and our neighbors about environmental issues, especially those that unfairly impact people of lower income levels.
  • Joining with others on an Interfaith Earth Walk to demonstrate that people of many faiths care about the planet.
  • Working with city officials and other environmental activists to install edible gardens in public areas near low income neighbors.


“I appreciate the (GreenFaith) vision,” says one parishioner. “It shines a light on the need for this generation to take action.  It makes it more personal: just reading about it wasn’t enough.”

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