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Making the Earth Part of Your Church's Mission

When the Coral Gables, Florida, United Church of Christ (UCC) youth group visited Virginia to talk with local people affected by the coal strip mining practice, and saw the toxic results on land and in waterways, they embraced care of the Earth and concern for those affected by poor environmental stewardship practices as Christian stewardship issues.

"Their experience...spurred them to think about the people connected to the electricity, gas, food and plastic bags they use," wrote Joan Huyser-Honig in an article for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, which is devoted to worship renewal.

For Mitch Hescox,  a former coal industry executive who is now the director of the Evangelical Environmental Network, the turning point came when he realized that his anti-abortion conviction had to extend to other issues affecting the unborn, including the high toxic metals found in the blood of babies born in areas imbued with coal-fired plant emissions — the main source of methylmercury pollution in soil, water and fish.

To help congregations understand how pollution, green energy, and environment-conscious lifestyle choices are also part of our mission as Christians, this article provides several illustrations of communities making connections, links to additional articles and other online resources, and offers discussion questions suitable for a congregation's leadership team or adult study group. For more on developing spiritual disciplines related to green lifestyle choices, see our feature article, "Best Resources on Spiritual Practices."



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