Green Team at The Congregational Church in Cumberland UCC Earth Day 2012

1. History:  How did I/we start?  What motivated me?

• Trash picking every Sunday – New bins, signs, and reminders in church and newsletter.  Now other people are trash pickers!

• Diane’s support – In 2007, our church Council voted for a green focus.

• Worship – 3 services the first year (2008)

• Stewardship – underway (more on that later)

• Education/outreach – food and films, sometimes in conjunction with worship the next day

• In 2010, we joined GreenFaith, extending EJ and communications component

2. Tips for First Steps

• Seek support from your minister and council

• Create team with green, worship, stewardship, missions, youth leaders.  Assign roles to each person (press releases, website, events, etc)

• Plan an easy project – potluck and film, go for a hike, invite a speaker

• Share/spread the word/communicate/invite people to participate

• Develop website/use social networking sites/media contacts

• Find Partners/Collaborate: Osprey, MEIPL, MCC, environmental non-profits

3. Action (slides and narration)


Working with Diane and using ideas from Earth Ministry, we organized and presented several green worship services with a variety of themes:

• In the Home (Jan 2008) Raise awareness about energy and water use in the home, celebrate green action, take Personal Action Pledge to reduce consumption and increase reusing/recycling.

• On the Road – Youth/Renewal Sunday (Mar 2008) Encourage carpooling/using alternative transportation that day, reduce/combine car trips, educate about the “real cost” of food, encourage buying locally grown food.  Sallie and Andrew Hunter did a wonderful sermon about their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

• At the Table (January – day after “Fresh” screening) – We wove poetry and prose writings with scripture passages celebrating the earth’s gifts and highlighting our responsibility to the food we grow and the animals we raise.  We invited congregants to take the “Food and Faith Pledge.”

• “National Preach-In” (Valentine’s Day weekend) – Tara Olsen led our congregation in an event organized by Interfaith Power and Light, when faith leaders in churches, synagogues, temples and other faith communities across Maine and the U.S. preached for swift action on climate change and a clean energy future for America.  In the weeks following the service, we collected 30 signatures on letters asking Senators Snowe and Collins to pass legislation to reduce carbon emissions.

• By the Waters – (May – day after “A Chemical Reaction”) – We again chose poetry and prose with scripture readings focusing on celebrating water and keeping it clean.


Films and potlucks

• “Fresh” January 2010  Film about the food industry and the importance of local foods for our health and our planet. To publicize the screening, we hung posters, sent emails, and put announcements in The Forecaster and Press Herald.  Several farmers shared their locally grown produce featuring the MOFGA “Maine Local 20” at a locavore potluck before the film, and we led an informal discussion afterward.

• “A Chemical Reaction” May 2010 Paul Tukey’s film about the dangers of lawn pesticides and a small Canadian town that banned them.  We again offered a locavore potluck, followed the film with a panel of experts including Paul Tukey and Brett Plymale, the filmmaker, and gave away door prizes.  Out of that evening grew a group called Citizens for a Green Cumberland/North Yarmouth.  We hope to set up collaborations with the Cumberland Shellfish Commission and other Citizens for Green groups in the area.  In December, Lalla attended a Pesticide Summit in Brunswick.

• “Nourish your Body, Nourish the Earth, Nourish Community” service Sept 2011 (in conjunction with the film “Nourish” the night before)

• Be My Green Valentine Fair and potluck/“After the Harvest” film (poverty of farmers in Central America) with discussion; sale of fairly traded coffee, chocolate, and gifts from other countries. Children make valentines from upcycled materials.  Online UCC petition signing for fair wage chocolate – Feb 2012

• “Meet Your Farmer” film featuring 8 Maine farmers; potluck supper, panel of Cumberland and North Yarmouth farmers and Anna Abaldo of Maine Farmland Trust


Yardscaping presentation by Pat Ianni, board member of Friends of Casco Bay.  Pat did a Powerpoint presentation about the dangers of pesticides and greener alternatives to try.  June 2010

Hungry for Change – 6 week course from Northwest Earth Institute exploring where our food comes from and how we can bring about change through our food choices.  Final celebration featuring a chef preparing shrimp 3 ways; Presentation by Monique Coombs, Lobsters on the Fly, about making a living fishing in Maine. (Jan 2012)

Story of Stuff – GreenFaith curriculum for youth based on the online documentary exploring the use of natural resources in creating our electronics and how they contribute to our waste and pollution. (Feb 2011)

Green theme for Summerfest (Vacation Bible School) 2010

Green Table at Church Fair featuring gifts from recycled materials, reusable water bottles, sandwich bags, aprons, and fairly traded coffee, chocolate, and goods.

Communication: Green Candle/Lamp, monthly church newsletter, flyers, press releases

EJ/Advocacy – Lalla and Kerry

Collected signatures to advocate for the earth

• Carbon emissions reduction (letters to Senators, 2010)

• Clean air (mercury petition, 2011)

• Safe chemicals (postcards to Senators, 2011 petition, 2012)

• Green/Clean energy in Maine (petition, 2012)

UCC EJ programs:

• Mission 1 – collected food for food pantry

Looking forward:

• Collaboration with Cumberland Shellfish Commission to do some storm drain stenciling as part of a beach cleanup in September.

• Yardscaping workshop at different homes in area for the fall as folks put yards to bed.



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