I wasn’t sure what to expect from the meeting. Two visiting pastors had come to discuss with us the possibilities of becoming on Earth Care congregation. Honestly, I liked the idea but worried about how much work we might have ahead of us. Try though I might, plastic forks and paper plates still rule at church pot lucks.
When I got to the conference room, I was pleasantly surprised to find 17 people seated around the table. That’s not a lot but it’s something over 1/10th of our congregation. When I worked at the university I learned that any turn out over ten percent is a wild success.
Then I started to flip through the packet. The church has to score so many points to earn the certification and it isn’t a permanent thing. I saw things “holding services outside.” St. Louis’s summer heat, fall rain and winter winds do not lend themselves to outdoor worship. Next I spotted “motion detectors on light switches.” No. We don’t have those either and how much would they cost. That worry was echoed by several other people in the meeting. Could we afford to take this step?
But this was a worry our visitors expected. One of them tapped her finger on the packet. “One of the criteria is an earth-friendly banner.” We stared blankly at her. “The green banner in front of the church. It’s the Tree of Life.”
Wow. How had I missed the connection?
Page by page, we went through the packet. We realized that we earn points because of an appropriate bulletin board, paper recycling, a community garden, re-usable table clothes (no kidding!), and more. In the end, it looks like we can make one change and earn the certification.
How often do we label something “nearly impossible” when, truthfully, it isn’t? How often do we miss our connections to God’s creation, both human and nature? Fortunately, all it takes is a little encouragement to open our eyes.