Need inspiration to take your church to a new, greener, level? Look no farther than Seattle. At Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Mercer Island Washington, we spent the first part of the day on greening congregations, a tangible/relevant subject near to many attendees’ hearts. We heard from participants in Emmanuel’s own greening process – spanning from an expansive memorial garden built in the 1980s, to a spiritually-centering labyrinth dating to just a few years old – as well from the Bishop’s Committee for the Environment and a representative from Earth Ministry, a Seattle-based national non-profit focused on Faith & the environment.
Do you know about the Genesis Covenant? In 2008, Bishop Steven Charleston challenged all faiths, including Episcopal Churches, to halve their carbon footprint within 10 years. From caulking windows and replacing lightbulbs to farming 2,000 pounds of produce to donate to a food bank, this is a challenge the Diocese of Olympia took seriously, with the support of the Bishop’s Committee for the Environment. They’ve helped 15 of their 95-ish congregations make significant progress, an inspiration to all of us conference attendees.
Beyond a handful (rather, a notebook-ful) of things to Google, and a list of potential ideas for how Camp Stevens can forge better connections with the parishes in its dioceses, I’m coming home with a 7-page packet of Environmental Best Practices for Congregations, which is already “burning a hole in my pocket,” I’m so eager to find the appropriate venues and ways to share.
Tomorrow, we do site visits:
Pictures to follow of these sights and inspirations, as soon as I find a co-attendee with a camera connector to borrow. Until then…