Spurred by growing concerns about the ecological impacts of our human activity and the inequity in how the resulting penalties are distributed across society, Bower Hill Community Church formed an Eco-Justice Team in August 2018. Working within the Mission Committee, Eco-Justice drafted guiding principles and established a plan for progress. Step one in the plan called for evaluation and action focused on the church’s activities and infrastructure. In our first year, we picked the low-hanging fruit.
Year 1 Actions:
Analyzed our energy consumption and costs over the past five years to establish a baseline metric for future improvements.
Compared our building to other houses of worship and associated the 21% reduction achieved over the five-year period to boiler and window replacements.
Minimized use of disposable cups and tableware at events by organizing a rotating band of dish-washing volunteers – volunteers cleaned over 1,000 cups in the first 20 weeks.
Composted food scraps from the kitchen and church events.
Worked with Building and Grounds toward a 25 % reduction in chemical fertilizer application on our lawn.
Replaced plastic communion cups with degradable corn-based cups.
Published newsletter articles on how to reduce waste and chemical use at home.
Met with Sunnyhill and St. Paul’s representatives to share sustainability ideas and offer collaboration for community efforts.
The actions above produced tangible results – thousands of disposable cups not trashed, pounds of compost added to a farmer’s field. But we started small. Focused on the congregation’s in-house activities, we took on the easy stuff. There is some low-hanging fruit left to pick, but we are excited to take on bigger challenges in our second year. Think Community. Think Watershed. Will you join us? Be a go-getter, occasional listener, or someone in between. We welcome your ideas, helping-hands and ears. The Eco-Justice team typically meets on the second Thursday of each month at 8:05 p.m., just after choir practice. Phone-in participation is available.
If our guiding principles stated below speak to you, please join us!
Bower Hill Community Church: Eco-Justice Team Guiding Principles
We are called to be stewards of God’s created order.
The irresponsible use of the world’s resources is a form of injustice against life and future generations.
We all participate in forms of ecological injustice that must be named and resisted, particularly as the worst impacts fall on the vulnerable and poor.
~Rob Mackey, Eco-Justice Team