Fairfax Presbyterian Church’s Green Team was formed to learn about issues impacting God’s creation and discuss how our church can be more environmentally friendly. We are currently meeting virtually at 7:30 PM on the third Monday of each month. Please contact Sara Bowden for more information.
In February 2021, FPC was certified as an Earth Care Congregation by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Earth Care Congregation certification recognizes churches that make the commitment to take seriously God’s charge to “till and keep” the garden. “Earth Care Congregations are congregations that have committed to the ‘Earth Care Pledge’ and accomplished a specific number of actions toward caring for God’s earth in four categories: worship, education, facilities, and outreach. Congregations earning 25 points in each of the four categories will be certified as Earth Care Congregations” (PresbyterianMission.org).
FPC is one of 276 Earth Care Congregations who are responding intentionally to God’s call to care for the earth. FPC has affirmed the following Earth Care Pledge: Peace and justice is God’s plan for all creation. The earth and all creation are God’s. God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family. As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.
Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth. In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice and community. Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people.
In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.
The Fairfax Presbyterian Church worship ministry will pursue the following initiatives to further FPC's commitment to being an Earth Care Congregation:
During 2022, the Christian Formation Ministry we will continue to encourage outside classes for youth and children, and will explore and offer opportunities to engage the children in caring for God's creation. We will offer an adult education class focused on Earth care created by our Senior Pastor. The Green Team will work with Christian Formation to invite at least one speaker to facilitate thinking about ways to engage our congregation in Earth care and will continue to notify the congregation of opportunities available through PEC and other venues.
The Property Management Ministry is committed to continuing the transformation of our church property by taking steps to lower our carbon footprint. In the upcoming year, we will be renovating our kitchen, to include installation of energy efficient appliances. Our church kitchen supports a preschool and several ministries of outreach, so the carbon and cost savings will be significant. In addition, we intend to install timers or motion detectors on our light switches in the high use areas of the church. The Green Team will continue to explore other options to lower our carbon footprint, such as composting, eliminating the use of single use utensils or using compostable single-use utensils, and installing a bike rack to promote biking to church, as well as investigating the feasibility of installing solar panels for additional benefit.
The Mission Outreach Ministry (MOM) of FPC reaffirms its commitment to creating an informed and activist environmental community committed to the care of God's creation, stewardship of the Earth entrusted to our care, and environmental justice for all. FPC's Mission Outreach Ministry intends to help celebrate God's creation and Earth care on Earth Day Sunday worship service. Mission Outreach Ministry intends to continue to promote eco-conscious meetings whenever possible. However, recognizing the power of joining together in shared in-person community service, we will focus our efforts on shared environmentally conscious programming and events. In Fall 2021, MOM coordinated a joint mission event with the Youth Group and the Crop Walk organizers, and included a stream clean-up effort simultaneously with the walk, and MOM plans to coordinate efforts to continue this clean-up work on a regular basis in 2022. MOM looks forward to increasing our role in promoting other earth care initiatives in 2022 which may include additional youth group stream clean-up events; a designated walk, bike or car-pool to church day; a Green-team organized letter writing campaign to promote Earth care legislation (depending upon opportunities); promoting earth care issues promoted by PCUSA through articles in the Octagon; and the promotion of congregational participation in environmental groups.