Green Team

Please click the link below to learn what we can recycle at BUMC

Recycling flier

Bethlehem is an official Green Church. Our church leaders signed a covenant in 2018 that we as a church affirm the importance of healing and defending God’s creation through our Worship, Learning and Teaching, Lifestyle, and Involvement.

                                      Our Mission as a Green Team 

With God’s help, to be God’s messengers to the congregation through ongoing conversation of how our lives come from, flow through, and are interconnected with creation; and to implement change for the betterment of our church, our community, and our world.

The team meets the first Friday of each month at 2:00 to evaluate their goals and activities, and plan opportunities for the congregation and others to participate in caring for God‘s creation. If you are interested in attending, please contact Ann Marie Smith.

                                     Our Goals as a Green Team

1.  To educate, encourage, inspire, and commit to being Christian Caretakers of Creation.

2. Guide the Ministries of the Church and congregation through education to embrace an earth-friendly focus in church-planned programs/activities and at home.

3. Reduce the carbon footprint of the Church by assessing its use of energy, lighting, water, and other resources, and by reducing usage and improving efficiency.

4. Encourage recycling in all areas of the church and at home by providing recycling containers throughout the church for paper, glass, plastics, cans, and for other items as arranged, and by educating members about all aspects of recycling.

5. Offer special events during the year highlighting the beauty of God’s creation and ways to be better caretakers of it.

6. Educate the congregation by contributing ideas and information regularly to the Church newsletter, and by leading classes and other educational events.



Kroger Flexible Plastics Recycling Program:

We are collecting all Flexible Plastic Packaging with the Koger, Simple Truth, Private Selection, Pet Pride, and Comfort brands. There is a box for these clean recyclables in the hall by the Ladies Room. We earn points for recycling these plastics through TerraCycle and redeem our points for environmental efforts such as saving tropical rainforest, reducing carbon emissions, planting trees in the US, and holding consumer product companies responsible for their environmental impact. So far we have recycled about 14 lbs and have redeemed 1314 points.

The Letter:

A Message for Our Earth, Laudato Si Film, by Pope Francis

2023 Events:

The Bethlehem’s Green Team was honored at the 241st Virginia UMC Annual Conference. Award for their accomplishments in 2022 was presented at the 2023 conference. This is the third time that the Bethlehem was honored at Annual Conference and this year with the Sustaining Green Church Award. Congratulations for the team’s dedication and hard work on behalf of Bethlehem in caring for God’s creation. Well done!


Recent Events

In 2021 and 2022, the Green Team installed LED lights throughout the church.

In 2022 and 2023, we installed occupancy-sensing thermostats.

Both of these projects reduced our electrical costs and resulted in a more energy efficient church campus.

2023 Green Team Accomplishments:

Once again, Bethlehem has earned the “Sustaining Green Church Award” from the VA Conference of the UMC. Some of the highlights of our activities in 2023 include:

  • having Pat Watkins visit for Earth Day Sunday,
  • installing the final three smart thermostats, which save the church electricity,
  • receiving the 2022 Sustaining Green Church Ward at Annual Conference,
  • having the Crazy Crayon Recycling Drive,
  • recycling Kroger Flexible Plastics,
  • leading a WW class and showing the Pope’s movie, “The Letter, A Message for Our Earth”,
  • maintaining the Harvest Table,
  • sponsoring the Blessing of the Animals,
  • offering Earth Baskets as a Glorious Gifts mission selection.

Honeybee Seminar – May 14, 2022

Five members of the Green Team plus a few neighbors enjoyed a very informative presentation on honeybees at the home of beekeeper and church member, Bill Pecoraro. Bill’s love of nature and learning is contagious. We learned everything about the honeybees, from life cycle to brood chambers to honeycomb full of honey to the honey extraction process. We even got to taste several types of honey, and agreed Bill’s was the best. Consider yourself entertained, educated, and blessed if you ever get to attend one of Bill’s seminars.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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,


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.