Many of our SOC congregations have undertaken all sorts of successful Creation care initiatives, from offering space for community gardens to establishing solar arrays to implementing robust composting and recycling programs. Congregational Church of Pinehurst has taken a different approach -- what they refer to as their "Back 7 Project" -- which has allowed their congregation and the community to engage directly with Creation as sacred ground -- a holy gift from the Creator.
Pinehurst UCC launched the Back 7 Project around Earth Day 2010, The church has about 11.5 acres -- 3 to 4 of those compromising the church lawn and parking lots. The rest was dense woodland, and the church wanted to preserve and enhance the woodland acreage. Partnering up with the Pinehurst Conservation Department and Sandhills Weed Management, with some input from the Walthour Moss Foundation, the project was launched! Folks began by tackling a large section of invasive vines and plants, including a large stand of bamboo, that was ensnaring the woodland. After eliminating the "invaders," they established a long walking path around the perimeter of the back seven acres, marking it with eye-level colored reflectors and hanging bluebird houses along the front of the woodland. Then they created two bench areas along the path -- for people to rest, to read, to watch some of the resident deer -- or simply to enjoy God's Creation.
As Roger Nekton, the architect of the Back 7 Project, says: "it takes a dream -- and care to maintain it." The church will continue to maintain the walking trail and hope that, as they increase the number of children at Pinehurst UCC, to offer numerous opportunities for conservation projects that the trail provides.
What dreams do you have for your own church property, and how might you enhance your own understanding of it as sacred ground?
The CJN/SOC Featured in the National UCC's Three Great Loves
(Love of Creation video campaign)
Please take a look at this three-minute video produced by Blessed Tomorrow/EcoAmerica in support of the UCC's Love of Creation campaign -- you'll not only hear a powerful and uplifting message, you'll also see a number of very familiar faces from the CJN/SOC team!
CJN NEWSLETTER HIGHLIGHTS
On March 14-16, over 2,000 folks from 40 countries gathered in Atlanta, GA, for the Climate Reality conference. Led by former vice president Al Gore and the Rev. William Barber -- who spoke of the need to fuse advocacy for climate action with social justice initiatives focusing upon racism and poverty -- we explored effective means to interpret and do something about the climate crisis. One of the highlights was a rousing interfaith gathering on Thursday evening at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home church of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- to celebrate God's Creation and God's people as we work together on this crucial issue. Along with the Creation Justice Network, the national UCC was represented by Rev. Michael Malcolm of the UCC's Council for Climate Justice. I look forward to incorporating all the "good stuff" from the time in Atlanta in our CJN planning for the upcoming year and beyond. Stay tuned!
Partner Churches exchange perspectives of urgency over climate change
Written by Rev. Craig Schaub
Minister, Parkway UCC, Winston-Salem
Lay and clergy of the delegation from Germany shared inspiration in the strong movement of youth this past March in Germany who participated in the "climate strikes". More than 300,000 students did not show up for school on designated Fridays in an action called "Fridays for the Future". When many in their communities responded, "It is illegal not to show up for class" some of the young people responded, according to our German guests, "What will it matter what you teach us on one single day if there is no human society to even use that knowledge once we grow up. That is the urgency of this crisis."
Watch the latest video in a series with Bill McKibben, How We Talk About Climate Change. http://www.sandersinstitute.com/blog/how-we-talk-about-climate-change Climate change and global warming don’t convey the true danger of our situation. We are in a climate crisis!
LENTEN WATERSHED DISCIPLESHIP STUDY GUIDE: The CJN's wonderful new intern, Wake Forest Divinity School Student Sarah Ogletree, has developed an excellent Lenten study guide focused on Ched Myer's book, WATERSHED DISCIPLESHIP: REINHABITING BIOREGIONAL FAITH AND PRACTICE, which she is using to lead study at Parkway UCC. Please click below to find the guide.
Watch The Introduction to Sustaining Creation Series
Calendar of Events
Do you have good news to share in the ministry of Creation Justice? Please pass it on -- contact Rev. Karen Richardson Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.