'Green Ministries' reclaim creation calling

4/1/2008

By the Rev. Trey Harper
Guest Columnist

"Then the Lord God planted a garden in the east, in a place called Eden, and put the man he had formed into it ... The Lord God put the man in the garden of Eden to care for it and work it." -- Genesis 2:8,15

I am not a gardener. I don't grow things. I can kill things with the best of them, so do not give me any kind of plant and expect it to live. I envy those who have that "growing gene," those people who seemingly effortlessly and joyfully reach into the earth and draw forth its bounty year after year.

But whether we garden or appreciate those who do, we all share in the responsibility for caring for God's creation. You might say it is our original calling. God created us to care for creation. And sadly, for the most part, humanity has done a horrible job.

During the next year, our church is seeking to reclaim our "creation calling." Our new "Green Ministries" will allow us to focus on ways we as a congregation can care for the earth. Some of these are already in place. Our church office already works to recycle paper, and we are increasing that goal to include paper recycling bins throughout the church. We are also working to conserve energy with florescent lights. We are conserving forests and controlling waste by using silverware and glasses at our fellowships (not to mention the coffee cups on Sundays) and recycled products.

We are also hoping to create an outdoor garden to inspire meditation, an appreciation of nature and to teach our children about planting fruits and vegetables. We want our children and youth to help plant the flowers and plants, but are we want adult gardeners to help us design our space and teach the children about planting, tending and harvesting. There are needs for all sorts of abilities.

This column is adapted from one that appeared in "The Bell Tower," the newsletter of Eupora First United Methodist Church where Harper is pastor.