As a downtown church Hillsborough Presbyterian Church has very little green space to work with, but their Earth Care Team is dedicated to maximizing the use and natural beauty of every inch!
First certified in 2013 as a PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation (ECC), this nearly 150 member church in North Carolina congregation “responds to Jesus Christ’s call for redemption and service,” and is also concerned about the green pastures in which Jesus wants us to lie down and the quality of the water in the stream he leads us by.
All certified ECC’s commit themselves to a four-part pledge that affirms that the earth and all creation are God’s. The pledge acknowledges that 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. In committing to this pledge the congregation agrees to take specific steps in four areas; worship, outreach, education and facilities.
The individuals that make up the HPC congregation take this pledge seriously.
They are responding to serving God’s creation by recognizing that feeding the homebound, providing food to those in need, nurturing young people, comforting the sick and stressed, giving tithes and offerings for local to international reconciliation, and even maintaining a house of worship require a strong, supportive, resilient Earth.
Hillsborough church partners with other community churches in a local “Food For All” program, providing hot meals to hungry people in the community. Aligning this ministry with their Earth Care values, the 30 hot meals the church prepares and delivers are now packaged in compostable containers, and reusable cloth bags are used for carrying the meals away.
In 2018, HPC decided to even communicate their values of Earth Care through their grounds keeping. The Moderator of HPC’s Building and Grounds Commission, was given the task of purchasing the lawn care equipment – as the church had never had any, and relied on church members to sign up and bring their own tools to maintain the church grounds. Robin Bedingfield of HPC’s Earth Team suggested that it needed to be environmentally friendly and light-weight enough for any adult to use easily. They chose an ECO mower and blower with interchangeable and easily recharged batteries. “Now,” Bedingfield shared, “even women in heels can clear the walkways before services with no problem!”
Seeing how well these environmentally-friendly devices work, some members of the congregation have purchased similar items for their personal use.
Will Lang of Hillsborough’s Earth Care Team says that they are “blessed with a series of environmentally-friendly renovations to our facilities, strong community partnerships, and a creative, dedicated congregation. HPC continues to live out the Earth Care Congregation pledge. We pray we are moving closer, everyday, toward really hearing God’s call.”
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year, and Presbyterian churches are urged to celebrate Earth Day Sunday near this date. You can find 2019 resources here: www.presbyterianmission.org/m…/environment/earth-day-sunday/