Today in the Mission Yearbook

Hillsborough Presbyterian Church works to take care of the Earth


Congregation recognizes that all of their work requires a strong planet

September 5, 2019

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 4, Christians around the world celebrate the Season of Creation. Some of us pray, some of us do hands-on projects, some of us advocate. We all protect creation. It’s powerfully good work that’s urgently needed.

Robin Bedingfield liked the eco-friendly lawn care equipment that Hillsborough Presbyterian Church purchased so much that her husband gave her a leaf blower for Christmas. (Photo Credit: Scott Schlesinger)

As a downtown church, Hillsborough Presbyterian Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina, 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 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.

The individuals that make up the Hillsborough Presbyterian 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 Presbyterian 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, the church decided to even communicate their values of Earth Care through its groundskeeping. The moderator of Hillsborough Presbyterian’s Building and Grounds Commission was given the task of purchasing the lawn care equipment — as the church had never had any and had relied on church members to sign up and bring their own tools to maintain the church grounds. Robin Bedingfield of Hillsborough Presbyterian’s Earth Team suggested that the equipment needed to be environmentally friendly and lightweight enough for any adult to use easily. They chose an eco-friendly 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 Presbyterian’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, every day, toward really hearing God’s call.”

Jessica Maudlin; Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns; Presbyterian Hunger Program; Compassion, Peace & Justice

Today’s Focus:  Earth Care Concerns

Let us join in prayer for: 

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Anna Edlin, Presbyterian Foundation
Laura Edwards, Presbyterian Foundation

Let us pray:

Great and Compassionate Creator God, we stand in awe of the heavens and the earth that you have made. May you continue to make us consistent in our desire to increase our attention to caring for God’s earth and actively creating solutions for improving the world around us. Amen.