Southern New England United Church of Christ recognized the First Congregational Church of Cheshire recently as a Level I Green Church. In less than a year, a group church members was able to achieve the goal.
The team carried out a variety actions to reach Level 1. Anne McNulty (First Church Eco-Justice Chair) said that in addition to regular communications regarding sustainability and environmental issues to the church body, the group established a beehive, began a composting programme, and partnered up with a local nonprofit, The Coalition for a Sustainable Cheshire to host litter pick-ups.
Eco-Justice team members completed yard assessments for church members in an effort to increase native plants, which are beneficial for native pollinators. McNulty explained that this service is for anyone who wants to make their yards more natural-friendly.
He also said that we helped to organize a new interfaith organization, Cheshire Creation Care, with representatives from Temple Beth David, St. Peters, and Cheshire United Methodist Church.
McNulty said that the UCC encourages member churches to be eco-friendly and is committed towards environmental justice. The Southern New England Conference of UCC uses a multi-step, four level process to achieve its goal levels. McNulty explained that the First Congregational Church of Cheshire has completed steps which included organizing, educating and connecting, as well as advocating to become a Level II Green Congregation.
McNulty stated that certification is a sign that the church is making an effort to be more sustainable. It also shows the community that members are willing to share their knowledge on how to care for the earth.
Mark Hall, a member of the church, expressed his gratitude and support. It is important to recognize that the steps we take to minimize the planet’s impact are important, even though Mark Hall isn’t directly involved in this group. Hall stated that it is in line with our mission. While being green didn’t always resonate with me personally, I believe that taking steps to preserve the planet and people are good things. This team is making a difference.
McNulty explained that the Environmental Justice Team is open and accessible to all First Church members. The group has also served as a resource for church Ministry groups and individuals, worked with childrens projects, and was part of last year’s Earth Day worship. The group provides weekly environmental messages to the congregation. It shares tips on recycling and waste reduction, and offers suggestions for helping local bird and pollinator population. They also provide information to foster an appreciation of nature.
McNulty stated that they hope to continue and grow all of these activities as well as provide more education on invasive flora, its eradication and clean energy. McNulty also mentioned that additional talks and meetings will be held. Through suggested readings and discussion, we will continue to explore the spiritual link between humanity and the rest of nature. You can also engage youth and children in advocacy and hands-on projects to preserve the world.