A Brief History of the Green Team
2015– Sunday School class based on book “Serve God, Save the Planet” was offered April 5-June 28. Subsequently, several members were inspired to begin a ministry at Bethlehem to be good stewards and caretakers of God’s great earth.
January 2016 – The Green Team becomes the newest ministry at Bethlehem; reports to the Council on Ministries. Special projects included:
- Large recycle cans in church kitchen
- Recycle baskets for Sunday bulletins
- Recycling containers/signs in each of the classrooms
- Trash the Earth/Recycle Game, 3rd Sunday coffee hour February
- Monthly STAR Newsletter feature
- Promotion of earth friendly activities throughout the month of April, weekly in church bulletin
- Development of Prayer Walk around church property (1/3 mile with a map, scripture and prayer ideas)
- Hosted a Stargazing Night (Hickory Hill Vineyard)
- Proposal for BUMC Long Range Plan, Goal #10
To educate, encourage, inspire and commit to being Christian Caretakers of Creation.
- Guide the Ministries of the Church to embrace an earth-friendly focus in their planned programs/activities.N
- Reduce the carbon footprint of the Church by assessing its use of energy, lighting, water and other resources.M
- Encourage recycling in all areas of the church and at home.N
- Provide recycle containers throughout the church for paper, glass, plastics, cans.
- Educate members to recognize what is or what isn’t recyclable.
- Offer special events during the year highlighting the beauty of God’s creation and ways to be better caretakers of it.N
- Contribute ideas and information regularly to the Church newsletter.N
- Initiated a summer Harvest Table to share excess garden bounties
- Continual monitoring of county recycle facilities, updating info for congregation
- Encourage energy audit of church facilities
- Green Team Award to Hospitality for recycling efforts, replacement of Styrofoam cups, and coffee stir sticks, etc.
- Identified local watershed; impact of Church
- Organized solar homes tour
- Hosted Shred it Event for community
- Earth Day theme in morning worship: anthem, hymns, sermon, prayers.
- Distributed reusable shopping bags “B kind 2 Others/The Earth/Yourself”
- Hung bulletin board for Green Information
- Posted environmentally friendly cleaning tips, bug solutions, etc.
- Continue to promote Harvest Table
- Encouraged participation is SML Clean Up
- Encouraged children/youth to pursue Wildlife Habitat certificate for Memorial Garden
- Hosted Stargazing Night (Hicks Home)
- Contracted with Four Corners Recycling for bi-weekly pick up.
- Suggestions for a greener Christmas were circulated
- Placement of a large recycling container outside for bi-weekly pickup of church’s recycling
- Improvement of recycling at church as more people are educated on the topic
- Second annual Green Team award to the UMM Peanut Ministry for their efforts to recycle materials used in the peanut sales
- We promoted local farmers’ markets and buying locally
- Published status of new/revamped trash collection and recycling
- How to dispose of hazardous substances and electronics
- Hosted Shred-it Event for the community at no charge
- Supported the church grounds cleanup by providing snacks for workers
- Participated in UMW plant sale
- Earth month activities: Showing Inconvenient Sequel at Bethlehem and making bird feeders with the children
- Tree planting
- Began emphasizing the harm being done to oceans and sea life with the excess plastic waste being improperly disposed
- Harvest Table (leftovers to LCM)
- A second solar homes tour with information
- We entered a Green Church Initiative Covenant with the Virginia Conference
- Re-educated the congregation on recycling plastics due to the constant changes in our local jurisdictions
- Decided we would go “strawless” to set an example to others
- Sold reusable bags to encourage people to use them for gift giving rather than using paper, etc.
- We have undertaken an Energy Efficiency Program (EEP) study to determine how we can reduce our carbon footprint. This will take some time to complete; we are also talking to churches who have made these changes in our area
- Stewardship talk included mention of care of the environment
- Update list of What to Recycle and Where
- List of green stocking stuffers
- Letter to Trustees requesting that we get started on small energy efficiency projects such as automatic on/off lights in the restrooms and closets
- Trustees approved that and have begun
- Community shredding event at no charge (donations accepted)
- Lesson plans for children’s classes and an art project to include on our Earth Day bulletin board
- Showing of The Lorax during Earth month and a wonderful Children’s Chat about earth care
- Presentation of Green Team award to one of the pre-school teachers for her work with the pre-K students on caring for the earth and respecting God’s garden
- Responsible for recycling tab tops, printer cartridges and stamps, a project of UMW
- Continued emphasis on the problems of plastics in our oceans and waterways
- Sent a speaker to the 5th grade class who were studying recycling and earth care in our Wonderful Wednesday class
- Participated in the Potato Drop sponsored by SOSA
- Again supported the church grounds clean up day with snacks and drinks
- Planting of perennials (butterfly bushes)
- Encouraged everyone to participate in the Worldwide Climate Change Initiative on March 30 by turning off the lights from 8:30-9:30
- Encouraged participation in Plastics-Free July challenge
- Accepted the Green Church Award given by Caretakers of Creation at the June 2019, meeting of the Virginia Conference. This was presented to the church in recognition of the environmental accomplishments of various ministry areas
- Another Harvest Table this year produced generous donations of vegetables to share
- From the Harvest Table, we plan to go right into an Adopt-a-Bushel to benefit Society of St. Andrews (SOSA)
- The pre-school has been using the prayer walk developed by the Green Team and including parents and families of the congregation
Bethlehem’s Green Team received the Green Church Award from the Caretakers of Creation of the Virginia Conference at the Conference Meeting on Saturday, June 22, in Roanoke.
Shortly after formation, the Green Team was designated a ministry area, entered a Green Church Initiative Covenant and has been seeking to make positive changes in our world.
Our goals are:
*To guide the ministries of the Church to embrace an earth-friendly focus in their planned programs/activities.
*Reduce the carbon footprint of the Church by assessing its use of energy, lighting, water and other resources.
*Encourage recycling in all areas of the Church and at home (recycling containers are placed throughout the church for paper, glass and plastics; and we seek to educate members on what is and isn’t recyclable)
*Offer special events during the year highlighting the beauty of God’s creation and ways to be better caretakers of it. As an example for the past three years, The Green Team has held a shredding event in March for the community.
*Contribute ideas and information regularly to the Church newsletter, the STAR.