In this season of Spring, and on World Water Day -held March 22, 2010 - we want to share our enthusiasm for the earth, the air, and the water around us, and all that sustains us as humans.   Our Red Bank United Methodist Church is the first Methdist church in the country to enter into a two year certification process toward becoming a GreenFaith sanctuary, through the direction of GreenFaith.  The Green Team at Red Bank United Methodist applied for certification and was accepted in September, joining other churches and synagogues in Monmouth County in this environmental effort. Greenfaith is New Jersey's Interfaith coalition for the environment, founded in 1992, to inspire, educate, and mobilize people of diverse spiritual backgrounds to rediscover their relationship with the sacred in nature and to restore the earth for future generations through the following shared beliefs of the world's great religions:

 

*  caring for the earth is a religious value and environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility

*  we grow spiritually through our relationship with the earth

*  everyone has the right to live in a clean, safe environment

*  people of faith have a vital role to play in restoring healthy ecosystems around the world.

 

Why did the church decide to take this journey of faith?   For several years through Outreach and Education programs, we have have been working on projects to reduce energy output at the church and encourage our members to do the same at home.  CFL bulbs and durable water bottles have been available for sale and new members are given "green" water bottles when they join.  Brightly painted recycling bins can be found in nearly every room at the church.  Such films as "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Kilowatt Hours" have been shown to youth and adults; an energy audit was conducted by Green Faith; and most lighting fixtures have been changed to efficient florescent fixtures.  At Sunday fellowship time and in church events, only Fair Trade, organic coffee and tea are served, and a variety of healthy food choices have been added to the usual cookies.  We have also worked with our community Environmental and Shade Tree Committees to mulch and care for new trees in parks around Red Bank, and members participated in the Porch light project, giving away cfl bulbs to homeowners and renters around Red Bank.  Over two years our church will carry out a range of initiatives to integrate environmental themes into worship, religious education, facility maintenance, and social outreach, with the goal of working with other faith communities to better care for the world around us.  A special emphasis will take place the week of April 18th through April 25th, featuring speakers and programs and environmental actions.  Our Mission statement, developed and approved by our church council, and congregation, will guide our work ahead in the coming months, and our congregation is enthusiastically participating in this adventure.  If you would like to have more information on this program of certification, go to www.greenfaith.org, or contact us at the Red Bank United Methodist Church, 247 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ  07701.

 

Janie Schildge
Green Faith Team Chair