The first commandment in the Bible is to care for the earth God created. Upon returning from an environmental conference at Laurel Ridge, several members of Home Church working with Pastor Rick Sides conceived the idea of a church team to address environmental issues.
The Board of Elders approved creation of the Earth Stewards Team (EST) in September 2012. Since then, the team has been working on a variety of issues related to caring for our environment. One of our first projects was to sponsor a free energy audit of Home Church. That report was then made available to the Trustees, and several of the report’s recommendations have been completed, with help from Bill Todd and church staff. For example:
- Fluorescent lights in the Club Room were replaced with the more energy efficient T-8 lights (Club Room is the most used room in the church).
- Windows and doors were examined for air leaks; and some outside doors have been repaired to stop air leaks.
- Through donations, the Church purchased several special coffee cup recycle bins, and made signs for the blue recycle containers. As part of the Church’s recycling program, Waste Industries provided a separate container to pick up recycling, thereby reducing our cost of trash collection.
On recommendation of the EST, the Elders also approved the Church’s adoption of the Strollway under a City of Winston-Salem Park System program. The Strollway, a City of Winston-Salem Park, is on the old Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad pathway parallel to Old Salem Road. Four times per year, EST volunteers pick up trash along the Strollway from First Street to Salem Avenue. (All are welcome!)
We also sponsored a Sunday worship service focused on the environment, several Wednesday night suppers with speakers, including the Director of Piedmont Land Conservancy, Fred Bahnson of Wake Forest Divinity School, Doug and Helen Beets, and a special vegetarian meal prepared by members of the EST.
We have also begun a series of events bringing to light major environmental issues, the first of which was a late Sunday afternoon movie, “Chasing Ice,” about the shrinking polar ice cap. More than 50 people attended, and remained for dinner and further discussion.
We are also advertising in Home to Home other environmental events in the community. The Church’s website now includes a blog about environmental issues. In preparation for the Southern Province 2014 synod, EST proposed a Resolution (adopted by Synod) calling on other Southern Province churches to include stewardship of the earth as part of their annual stewardship focus.
Our HMC team participated in and supported the work of the Provincial Environmental Stewardship Task Force with the Board of Cooperative Ministries, and supported the leadership for the 2015 Eco Mission Weekend at Laurel Ridge for the youth of congregations in the Southern Province.