Our eco-justice team is a small group with a BIG concern about the fate of all God’s creatures, great and small, in this new era of human domination of our common home, planet Earth. [Hint: We’re referring to the Anthropocene, and you really need to get a handle on it to realize the urgency of this moment in history. Here’s a sweet spot to click on to get you going.]
This we believe; as the species divinely charged with “tilling and keeping” this garden paradise, we haven’t lived up to our lofty title as Homo sapiens (man the wise). Created in the Imago Dei (image of God), we remain a stiff necked work in progress. At first ignorantly, and now willfully, we are misusing and abusing the gifts of creation to the demise of all species. For the first time in recorded history we are so altering the earth’s natural systems that we are placing life as we have known it since the rise of civilization in peril.
In other words, to put it bluntly, based on hard science rather than delusional wishful thinking, if we don’t quickly “sapien up” (wise up) and make an about face (its called repentance) from our “business as usual” modus operandi we may ultimately make our home uninhabitable. And the journey along the road to oblivion will become unbearable, especially for those Jesus identified as “the least of these.” Unjustly, those who contribute the least to the demise will be the first and the hardest hit by our folly, greed and idolatry.
We believe that because of who and whose we are as the Church militant, the earthly embodiment of the Christ, we are called first to repentance. And then as reconciled and renewed creatures freed by the grace of God to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly (reverently) with the Creator we are to lead the way toward restoring creation. In so doing we believe we are giving legs, feet and even wings to the prayer that God’s will may be done on earth as in heaven.
Earth Care Congregation
Drum roll, please! Pittsboro Presbyterian Church (PPC) is as of April 2019 a certified Earth Care Congregation (ECC), one of 233 such congregations throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Since there are over 9,000 congregations in our denomination, we think that’s a BIG DEAL. We’re busting our earth care buttons with joy as a part of this elite crew of creation care connoisseurs.
So, how did a historically small congregation in a historically small town (about to burst its seams) without any history of environmental ministry catch the eco-justice wave and ride it to ECC status? And now what does this status mean for the future ministry of this small historic church?
Our current ECC status is the culmination of five years of study and action of the part of a small group of PPC members seeking to faithfully respond to the biblical call to “till and to keep the earth” as well as to “do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with God” (our Creator). In addition, this group was also responding to the PC(USA) report and recommendations from 1990, Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice, which affirms that God calls the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to care for the earth and work for justice for all of creation, human and non-human.
It was a grass roots movement within the PC(U.S.A.) spearheaded by a group eventually named Presbyterians for Earth Care/An Eco-Justice Network (PEC) that ultimately gave legs to the report. In 2018 upon recommendation and funding from the PPC Eco-Justice group, the congregation became a member of PEC. With this membership in place, the group then researched the feasibility of PPC becoming an Earth Care Congregation, a status promoted by the PEC. In December of 2018 the Session affirmed the Earth Care Pledge and in January the Eco-Justice group submitted their application for certification.
To become certified as Earth Care Congregations churches take the “Earth Care Pledge” and complete activities and projects in the fields of worship, education, facilities and outreach. Activities are given a point value, and to be initially certified a congregation must amass 100 points across the four fields. In subsequent years for recertification, 50 points must be amassed. Because of the work of the Eco-Justice group over the years, when it came to determining if the congregation could reach 100 points it became evident that we would far surpass that goal.
At PPC the Eco-Justice Team now creates annual action plans in the four ministry areas of worship, education, facilities and outreach and works in cooperation with the complimentary church committees and Pastor to accomplish the plans. The Eco-Justice Team meets monthly to track the progress of the plans and assist in their completion. The Team confers with and reports directly to the standing committee on Mission and Service.
Earth Care Congregations: A Guide to Greening Presbyterian Churches provides detailed information for becoming and remaining an Earth Care Congregation. We encourage any and all PC (U.S.A.) congregations to explore the feasibility of pursuing ECC certification as a focused means of faithfully engaging in a ministry of restoring creation for ecology and justice. And for a real live and congenial person to talk with about ECC certification (and all environmental ministry) contact Jessica Maudlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pittsboro Presbyterian Church
95 East Street (physical address)
PO Box 713 (mailing address)
Pittsboro NC 27312
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