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The Green Team

ABOUT US

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 or Stan Wisseman for more information

Mission and Groups

Earth Care Congregation

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.  

Intentions for 2021

The Worship Ministry is committed to continuing to use the power of the pulpit and sacred music to promote a congregation-wide appreciation for earth care and environmental justice.We intend to hold at least three worship services outdoors in various locations on our beautiful church grounds: to include Easter sunrise service, Glebe service in mid-summer, and a celebration of Earth Day on April 25 (since the actual Earth Day occurs on a Thursday).Our pastors are committed to preaching about earth care and/or environmental justice at least two times in the coming year.We will research the possibility of using florists that use locally grown and pesticide-free flowers for services.We will continue to use our labyrinth and to promote communion by intinction.We intend to have at least one Minute for Mission each for earth care and environmental justice during the coming church year.

WORSHIP

Education

The Christian Formation Ministry (CFM) remains committed to instilling in our congregation the Biblical foundation for earth care and environmental justice.CFM intends to continue incorporating earth care and environmental education in curricula for all levels of education.Further, CFM will solicit donations of pertinent printed material from the congregation, to expand the FPC library.If possible, we will hold an earth care art contest and encourage submission of paintings, drawings, poetry and stories about earth care, to be displayed in our church buildings.We will also add a section within the new member class for a member of the Green Team to discuss initiatives and present material to new members.Lastly, we will continue to seek an earth care tip for inclusion in our weekly church bulletin.Contingent upon medically-advisable options in a post-pandemic environment, CFM may incorporate more in-person options.

Facilities

The Property Management Ministry is committed to continuing the transformation of our church property by taking steps to lower our carbon footprint.Fairfax Presbyterian Church just completed an upgrade to an energy efficient HVAC system and we upgraded all of our lights to LED energy efficient lighting.In the upcoming year, we are planning to renovate our kitchen including 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, and installing a bike rack to promote biking to church as well as investigate the feasibility of installing solar panels for additional benefit.

Outreach

The Mission Outreach Ministry of FPC is committed 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.We are proud that in 2020, even with the global pandemic caused by COVID 19, FPC was able to transition many of its missions to virtual or hybrid settings. For example, the Green Team, along with most other ministries, held their meetings virtually, leading to a net reduction of 12,327,252 grams of carbon since the start of COVID. This is equivalent to removing three cars per year from the road. While we miss the fellowship that comes with meeting in person, the Mission Outreach Ministry intends to continue to promote eco-conscious meetings when we are able to meet again in person.MOM looks forward to promoting other earth care initiatives in 2021 including:a youth group stream pick-up;a 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; andthe promotion of congregational participation in environmental groups.