Environmental Moment By Eileen Haflich
On Sunday, April 3rd, 2022, the St. Andrew Green Team announced that St. Andrew has been awarded an Earth Care Certificate from the Presbyterian Church USA. This is a distinct and prodigious honor and one that every parishioner at St. Andrew should be proud of. St. Andrew is now in an elite group of Presbyterian congregations (292) out of the almost 9000 Presbyterian congregations in the USA.
I thought I would take a moment to help you understand the rigorous nature of this process. Many hours were spent by staff, session, and Green Team members to make this happen. And we will be spending many more hours in the years to come to retain our certification.
The Earth Care Congregation (ECC) application is separated into 4 sections: ‘Worship’, ‘Education’, ‘Facilities’, and ‘Outreach”. To become an ECC, we had to have at least 25 points in each category.
- Worship includes earth care messages, eco-friendly worship decorations and materials, plus outside service.
- Education includes earth care messages sent to the congregation, children and youth programs, website content
- Facilities includes low energy installations (lights, windows, etc), solar, water conservation, eco friendly products used at the church
- Outreach includes public earth care related events, public policy awareness, outside activities such as hikes or clean up days.
Each point in each category needed to be verified and validated by staff and Nicole. By the end of last year, we were clearly able to see the fruit of our efforts in the number of points we were able to accumulate through the diligence of staff, pastor, and members. In the end, we well exceeded the 100 needed points and submitted our application with 193!
Also, as part of our application, Session had to approve the following Earth Care Pledge:
Peace and justice is God’s plan for all creation. The earth and all creation are God’s. God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family. As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.
1. Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth.
2. In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice and community.
3. Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.
4. Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.
Now our new ECC banner is proudly displayed for all to see on Arnold Drive. And St Andrew will be in a special directory of ECC’s on the PCUSA website.
If you have any questions about the certification process, please do not hesitate to contact Eileen via the church office at email@example.com.