Care for Creation minutes
Organizing our effort: After self-introductions, Paul explained that he, Sally and Larry had met several times in recent months to plan this new venture – e.g., determining the initial list of church members to invite as Team members; asking him to chair the group; developing its name, purpose statement and initial agenda. The group endorsed these steps and asked that Paul-Larry-Sally continue as a coordinating group dealing especially with issues that arise between the Team’s monthly meetings; asked Emily Whittemore to serve as the Team’s note-taking secretary; agreed for the sake of clarity to refer to her as “Em” and Emily Boyle as “Emily”; agreed to ask Team members to work in small groups to investigate and formulate recommendations regarding particular issues on our agenda.
Our statement of purpose: Paul explained that in writing this statement, he, Sally and Larry had wanted to stress certain points.
“Recognizing that we worship the God who created the universe, our planet Earth, and all living creatures; honoring God’s command to cherish and care for the Earth; and affirming the beautiful but fragile gift God has given us in the land and seas of Cape Cod, we are gathering a Care for Creation Team” – In this preamble (as well as in the group’s name) we are seeking to ground our effort in the depths of the Christian faith, and we are affirming its special relevance to the particular part of the Earth that is our home.
“We envision the purpose of the Team to be a) sensitizing the Federated Church community to the ways that Christian faith generates and sustains active engagement with care for our planet Earth, climate change, and other environmental challenges” – Here we are stressing that the Team’s aim is to involve the whole FCO population in care for Creation, and that this effort will extend to a wide variety of fronts.
“Helping Federated Church members recognize and implement practical steps that the congregation collectively and members individually can take to be effective environmental stewards here on Cape Cod” – Here we are recognizing that our scope of interest is both in what will go on within our church building/land and in what we as individuals will do in each place we inhabit – our home, our school, our workplace, our community, our nation.
“Collaborating with other groups in Orleans and beyond that are engaged in environmental work and advocacy” – Here we acknowledge the importance of linking arms with other like-intentioned groups, religious and secular, so as to increase the impact of our respective efforts.
Specific initial tasks:
Interacting with Trustees about solar panels for church. Paul explained that when he met recently with the Trustees who are now pursuing solar panels for the church, he affirmed the importance of this step as a cost-saving measure but also as an environment-saving measure.. He suggested that if solar-installation were preceded by a Cape Light Compact-arranged energy audit and possibly by energy retrofit measures, the subsequently installed solar panels could prove to be an even more effective step for the church (possibly requiring fewer panels and less money, and consuming less natural habitat). The Trustees with whom he met asked that our Care for Creation team make contact with Cape Light Compact to arrange for an energy audit – and this is now being pursued by Kimberly and Paul. After the Team’s discussion of Paul’s report, it was moved that the Team ask Federated Church Trustees a) to withhold a final contractual commitment with My Generation Energy regarding solar panel installation until the energy audit now being arranged through Cape Light Compact has been completed; and b) when that time comes, to negotiate with My Generation Energy for installation of as few solar panels as necessary, to meet the church’s need for power and MGE’s need for a reasonable financial return. The motion passed unanimously. [Mary Lee, Paul and Sally will work on follow up.]
Finding our place in Federated Church structures and consciousness. The Team agreed with the recommendation that our appropriate place in church structures would be as part of the Board of Living Mission in Action. Paul or Larry will meet with that group at their September meeting, as well as with the Cabinet and other pertinent church bodies, to discuss our purpose and anticipated scope of activity. We also agreed that it will be important to explain our mission in The Parish Visitor, in Sunday worship services, and other settings. [Rod and Paul will begin to implement this.]
Considering Fall involvement with youth. The Team endorsed Sally’s suggestion that the Fall theme for youth meetings be Care for Creation, with the possibility that this might include dove-tailing with some of the tasks being undertaken by the Team. [Emily B and Sally will pursue.]
Connecting with MassConf/UCC ‘green congregations’ initiative and the newly formed Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative. The Team agreed to explore association with each of these efforts – the first focused on helping congregations enact a wide range of environmental activities, the second seeking to identify Cape-based organizations that will work vigorously and collaboratively to reduce their respective carbon footprints. [Em W will explore the first, Paul the second.]
Our next Team meeting: Set for Sunday, September 11, beginning approximately 15 minutes after worship.