Happy Easter! This beautiful morning brings the promise of spring and rebirth after a long winter. Daffodils and crocuses are peeking up in the garden, and the air is filled with birdsong. It’s hard to believe there are just 7 weeks between Easter and Pentecost or Carnival Sunday, May 19th. Since this period called Eastertide falls during the spring for us in Maine, it is a natural time to think about the Earth’s regeneration.
The Green Team invites you to join an exciting UCC initiative during Eastertide. Mission 4/1 Earth is a UCC project that gives its churches and partners an opportunity to take action –– in unity–– for the sake of our fragile planet. While it’s only 50 days, this all-church mission will be a concerted effort, through thousands of small and big steps, toward ensuring a greener future and a greener faith.
There are big goals for this UCC project:
One: Collectively offer more than ONE MILLION HOURS of engaged earth care, including clean up, advocacy, education, and behavioral changes that will help the environment.
How do you count earth care hours? Raise your hand if you turned off your lights and electronics during Earth Hour last weekend. Now multiply that hour by the number of people who participated in your household. For my family of 4, that one hour adds up to 4 earth hours.
If 100 people come to the potluck supper and documentary screening of “Chasing Ice” on April 20th for those 2-1/2 hours, that’s 250 hours!
Two: Collectively plant more than 100,000 TREES locally and globally in partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation and the UCC’s denominational partners around the world.
You could plant a tree in your backyard or sponsor a tree planting in Haiti through the UCC website, an action that counts toward the 100,000 trees and the one million hours.
Three: Collectively write more than 100,000 ADVOCACY LETTERS on environmental concerns to elected officials and local and national newspapers.
We’ll have this opportunity after the green worship service on April 21st, or you may be inspired to write a letter to the editor about an environmental issue you care about. These actions count toward both the letters and earth hours.
There are lots of ways – large and small – to participate. The Green Team will post a schedule of weekly events (online and on the bulletin board in the connector), or you can do something on your own. We’ll be partnering with the Foreside Community Church so will include events over there. If you have ideas for an activity, let us know. This is for everyone!
Please record your earth care hours and place your total in the collection plate so we can share the total with the UCC. Marshall Baxter has created a way for us to track our action(s) and time on the Cumberland Green Team website so we can all see the ongoing tally. You can find the site through our church’s website, and there will also be a link in the all-church email. If you’d prefer to keep track the old fashioned way, jot down your time on a piece of (recycled scrap) paper and drop it in the collection plate each Sunday. Check out the bulletin board in the connector for updates and ideas.
We hope each of us here will take at least one action and some of us more than one. We’re all in this together in this sacred place.
To read more about this project, check out http://www.ucc.org/earth/