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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: Earth Day


 April 22, 2019

All of the waste produced at a recent fellowship meal at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina, fits on a single plate.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Boyd K. Packer

One of the original 15 pilot churches certified as a PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation (ECC), First Presbyterian Church (FPC) in Asheville, North Carolina, is a congregation that seeks to put their faith into action not only with deeds of compassion but also through acts of social witness. Finding ways to advocate for justice for all of God’s children, including God’s creation, is essential to being faithful disciples of Christ.

All certified ECCs 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.

FPC takes this pledge seriously.

In 2018, FPC communicated their values around caring for creation by emphasizing the importance of decreasing consumption and waste in a variety of ways. Just after Earth Day Sunday, they hosted a Creation Care Fair, an event designed to educate and entertain people of all ages about reducing waste and moving toward zero waste.

FPC also reflects their earth care values through an impressive composting program. Creation Care Team member Jane Laping said that in 2018, they were able to expand their program to add several new compostable items. “We contract with a commercial composter that provides us with two outside wheeled containers and picks them up and replaces them twice a week. This cost is part of our church budget,” she said. “We were also able to create signage showing the new compostable items to educate members about what should be added to our compost after fellowship meals.”

The children of First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina, work on recycling and composting instructions at their Creation Care Fair.
Photo credit: Jane Laping

FPC has also moved from using traditional plastic coffee stirrers to fettucine noodles. “Believe it or not,” Laping said, “I have only heard positive comments about the switch. And, of course, they are compostable.”

FPC recently hosted a meal for 50 people. After composting plates, cups, napkins and flatware and collecting the table scraps, the waste for the meal was contained on a single paper plate.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to take care of the earth that God has entrusted to us. Too often, that charge isn’t reflected in the ways we gather around the table at church events. Imagine how much waste could be prevented if every fellowship meal only produced a single plate’s worth of waste.

Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Earth Day

Let us join in prayer for: 

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Katie Rhodes, PMA
Monique Rhodes, PMA

Let us pray:

Compassionate Creator God, we stand in awe of the heavens and the earth that you have made. We repent for the ways in which we have treated your good gift as disposable. May you continue to make us consistent in our desire to live lighter upon your earth and actively create solutions for improving the world around us. Amen.

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