We are excited to announce that our church has been designated an Earth Care Congregation! As such, we are one of only 11 Presbyterian Churches in New Jersey and one of only 200 in the country!
In the spring of 2017, Pastor Paul put out an all-call for anyone interested in learning about getting that designation for our church. Renee Sheridan, Pete Staman and Bev Donofrio answered that call and met with Pastor Paul to learn what the project entailed. To be designated an Earth Care Congregation there is a 4-prong survey that needs to be completed. There are 4 categories including Worship, Education, Facilities, & Outreach. To qualify, we needed to tally at least 25 points in each category, for a total of 100 points. Once designated, we would need to reapply each year, adding new activities along with some we do already for a total of 50 points. Because of all the wonderful things we are already doing here at First Church, our initial application totaled 228 points!
Some of the things we already do include having turn-out-the-light reminder signs by light switches, motion sensor lights in the new bathrooms, high-efficiency heating/air conditioning systems, the Peace Garden, Communion by intinction, student-led garden, donate produce to local food pantry, earth care focus materials in our church library, copying on both sides of paper, recycling paper, aluminum, glass, reusable plates, cups, mugs, silverware, fair trade coffee, and use of a rain barrel. Future activities may include a play by the clowns, a youth group clean-up, and the earth care theme incorporated into the new-member classes. We have already used Eco-Palms!
In addition to the beautiful framed certificate we were given, a booklet called “And the Leaves of the Tree are for the Healing of the Nations”, will be placed in the Church Library.
Special thanks need to be extended to Karen Daly and Mike Jurkiewicz, without whom we would not have been able to complete our survey. Extra special thanks go to Rev. Paul Grenier, who brought this program to our attention and gave us our initial guidance. Thanks, also, to all the members of our congregation who do things every day to make us be an Earth Care Congregation!