By Robert Downs

A training workshop on practical solutions to greening your facilities and promoting Creation Care within your local church will be offered on-line this winter on Feb 20, 24 & 27; and Mar 3 & 10; 2022.  Each session will run for two hours and start at 7 pm ET.  The course is open to both laypersons and clergy, and it will provide an excellent opportunity to build and train your Green Team.  Look for registration details in upcoming Newsletters.

As Christians committed to Climate Justice and Caring for God’s Creation, we must witness to our beliefs through actions, both individual and communal.  To that end, we must educate ourselves on the problems of environmental degradation and its differential impact on society, practice positive environmental stewardship in our daily lives, motivate our congregations to promote environmental justice, and operate our facilities (church buildings, grounds, camps, etc.) in sustainable ways.  This action will require the participation and commitment of clergy, staff, and laypersons trained and focused on these issues.   Clergy education is provided by Green Seminary programs throughout the denomination.  Lay training is being developed under the auspices of the UMC Discipleship Ministries Lay Servant Ministries.  An Advanced Course entitled Loving People and Planet in the Name of God: Engaging the Local Church is being tested virtually.

The overarching goal of this course is the development of a cadre of UMC laypersons motivated and equipped to lead local church efforts to steward the environment and care for God’s Creation.  Participants will learn to discern environmental stewardship and ecojustice in the Wesleyan Tradition; to recognize environmental challenges and their solutions; to appreciate the gifts of God’s Creation in formal worship; and to promote environmental stewardship in the lives of congregations and communities.  The course will elaborate effective approaches to greening buildings, grounds, ministry, and witness.  Reference for the course is Climate Justice: A Call to Hope and Action edited by Rev Pat Watkins.  Lay Servant Ministries Advanced Course certification will be available. Robert Downs is an EarthKeeper [Ohio Cohort Lead], a team member of the UM Creation Justice Movement, and one of the developers of Loving People and Planet in the Name of God: Engaging the Local Church.