UMTV: Earth Day Green Churches
United Methodist congregations across the U.S. are finding creative ways to care for creation.
(San Francisco, California)
At Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, city children are putting their green thumbs to God's use by planting a garden on the church's rooftop.
Child: "It tastes good."
Child: "It tastes like it's sweet and it's like um, fruit."
Glide's founder knows the kids are sowing seeds that will reap big rewards.
The Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide Memorial United Methodist Church: "They have done something that counts."
Churches across the United Methodist connection are finding creative ways to show a commitment to conservation.
In Detroit, Michigan, Cass Community United Methodist Church is turning old tires into jobs-- and volunteers into power producers.
(Sound of bikes)
This gym provides energy for the enterprises in the next room...where Cass employs 50 developmentally-disabled adults who shred paper and X-rays. The church also runs a vocational training program.
Marcellus Sabra, Cass Vocational Training Program: "We actually take tires, used tires out of the community, and we bring them back here and we make mud mats out of them, like door mats."
Stacy Leigh: "Most of my guys, two years ago they were on the streets, they were probably using. They were probably suffering from untreated mental illness. And today these guys are on the front lines of the green revolution, and they're also learning skills that make them employable."
In Wilmore, Kentucky, Centenary United Methodist Church invited Dr. Matthew Sleeth to share ideas on being better stewards by living more simply.
Dr. Matthew Sleeth, Author, "Serve God, Save the Planet": "Recycling is where a lot of people start. Then you just start not buying as much stuff. You change the light bulbs in the house to energy-efficient ones. You change the temperature that the house is at. You might even get a smaller house. Choosing to live close to work is great."
(Durham, North Carolina)
Duke University students live--and work--in a 6,000 square foot smart home. It's a laboratory of sorts, equipped with rainwater flush toilets and solar power, which allows residents to conduct research on green home technology.
Kelvin Gu, Duke University: "I think people will be installing solar panels on their houses as a matter of habit. I think the same way television sets got introduced into people's homes, there will be new utilities that will be introduced into people's homes."
(New York, NY)
Members of New York City's Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist say the youth started an eco-friendly movement that turned their whole congregation green.
Charlene Floyd, Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew: "The kids put recycle boxes everywhere for bulletins. They made signs about turning off the lights. They also got rid of paper and ...no Styrofoam at all."
And each Christmas, church youth turn trash into unique works of art to remind neighbors to recycle.
And finally, a favorite United Methodist summer haven is now a permanent retreat. At Camp High Road, in Middleburg, Virginia, the Eco-Eternity forest offers a burial plot for cremated remains in the drip line of a tree. Brad Doan chose green burial for a close friend.
Brad Doan, Eco-Eternity Visitor: "She would like this. Most cemeteries are kind of depressing. Here you can still reflect on someone's memory and not be sad."
The idea appeals to environmentalists and the cost conscious. A traditional funeral can cost up to $30,000. Burial at Eco-Eternity runs $2,000.
Rick Dawson, Eco-Eternity: "The tree, as it continues to grow, stands as a living memorial to the people, but also to God's creation."
Maria Porto, Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist:
"We are all responsible for taking care of the Earth. God gave us a great gift. We should do our best to take care of it."
For more information about ways United Methodists are caring for the environment, visit umc.org/green.
Posted: April 12, 2013