I have been a member of Good Shepherd since 2007, and the Green Team has been one of our ministries since before that time. Having a concern for the environment, I was attracted to become a part of that ministry under the leadership of Amy Nicolson, Meg Whitley and other members. We meet regularly at the church and look for opportunities to be good stewards of God’s creation through our church community.
At a meeting earlier this year we adopted a mission for the Green Team as follows:
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Green Team’s mission is to follow God’s commandments that we be good stewards of what we have been given and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. We believe that God was pleased when he created this world and that He values nature as well as man. When God gave man dominion, it was so that we could care for and love His creation as much as He does. Further, when Jesus commanded that we love our neighbor as ourselves, he commanded that we go out of our way to do so and that we have a broad vision of who is our neighbor – not just our tribe, our race, our country, or even our time. A major part of our mission is simply to make ourselves and others aware that these are God’s teachings and that by caring for the Earth, we are following His command. Further, we must also make ourselves and others aware that as we have been more and more blessed by “be fruitful and multiply”, we have created the condition that our every action has an impact on God’s creation and on our neighbors who live here now and who will live here in the future. The way we act today is simply not sustainable and if we do not change there will be irreparable damage to His creation and irreparable harm to those who will follow us. We must act and change.
We also recognize that our awareness as individuals is not enough. We must advocate our point of view in our church, in our families, in our businesses, in our communities, and in our state and national politics.
Finally, awareness and advocacy are not enough. Our mission is also to take action as individuals and as a group to make changes that will reduce the risk and heal the damage.
So what are some of the things we have done to fulfill that mission? The following is a partial list:
(1) Organized the Green Team under the stewardship ministry to highlight the broader definition of stewardship.
(2) Conducted numerous classes and seminars on various issues related to the environment and participated in church ministry fairs to publicize our efforts and recruit within the church.
(3) Helped to form Lake Chatuge Greenfaith in 2013 and hosted many of that groups’ interdenominational meeting in our new Parish Hall.
(4) Engaged in an energy audit that identified numerous items for attention throughout the church.
(5) Following the energy audit, changed light bulbs and a number of other energy- using appliances at the church.
(6) Soon after the audit, the church embarked on a major building expansion (new Parish Hall) that provided numerous possibilities for improving the energy efficiency of the church. Green Team members worked with the church project manager to focus on the energy saving options and some very energy efficient choices were made in the final building design.
(7) One item that was identified was the need for additional insulation and tightening the building envelope in the existing part of the church. The Green Team scoped out the changes needed and raised over $2000 designated for energy efficiency to supplement the construction budget. In addition we engaged in a thermal imaging analysis to identify gaps in the “tightness” of the building envelope and got volunteers to weather-strip and caulk where necessary to correct the gaps.
(8) The Green Team has organized church-wide recycling and has ongoing responsibility for taking recyclables from the church to be recycled. Because our county does not recycle glass, Green Team members accumulate glass at home and personally take the glass to counties outside our area so it can also be recycled (of course when traveling there for other reasons).
(9) The Green Team was instrumental in pushing the church to stop using paper and plastic as much as possible when events are taking place in the parish hall. Green team members purchased new coffee cups allowing us to minimize the use of styrofoam. Of course this means that extra dishwashing labor is needed from time to time, and Green Team members often assist other ministries in that.
(10) This year the Green Team assisted the Flower Guild and Landscaping ministries to organize an Earth Day project to significantly expand the cutting garden at the church. The purpose of the cutting garden is to “grow our own” flowers for the church as much as possible, in addition to having a nice flower garden on the church property.
As we all know, there is a long way to go to heal God’s creation, protect it from further degradation, and provide a sustainable environment for His people. The Green Team at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church is committed to this task. We hope to do more in the future, including such things as solar power at the church, electric vehicle charging in the parking lot, much higher efficiency HVAC equipment, and providing a ministry to help those in need in our community reduce their power bills through energy efficiency measures.
Contact Name: Brad Rouse
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone: 404-754-0892 (cell)