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Summer 2020

 

CREATION CARE RECAP

March:

April: Earth Month
  • Earth Day film screening & discussion (via Zoom) on The Biggest Little Farm
  • Invitation to everyone to go on a plike, plog, plalk…

    Picking Litter on a hike/jog/walk

  • Trustees socially distanced, masked spring clean-up 

May: 

  • MC USA Earth Week article published on TCMF being a model of sustainabilityThe press release was also picked up by Mennonite World Review and our local Vermont Standard.
  • Eastern District & Franconia (now Mosaic Mennonite) Conference published an article about our award: Jesus never said you should use LED light bulbs 
  • On Green Up Day Vermont (postponed from 5/2 to 5/30) Heather was a panelist at MCCN annual Council meeting representing issues of food, faith and sustainability. The question posed was: "If you could inspire your congregation to focus on a single response to the environmental crisis of your choice in the coming year, what would that response be?" Heather's response: Consider through an eco-lens how issues pertaining to food are issues of faithful living using Sustainable Kitchen cookbook as a tool to talk & taste together.  A cookbook club! Listen to her 5-minute response in this MCCN video plus you get a sneak peek at pages from the cookbook! If you are curious to see other ideas people across the network submitted, check out this link . Bonus points if you can pick out Steve's submission!
  • Pentecost Sunday 5/31: an observance of the arrival of the “Spirit” (or the “ruah” or “pneuma” which in both Hebrew and Greek can also mean “breath” or “wind”). As Steve shared, this year’s Pentecost came at a unique time, when perhaps, more than ever, we are aware of each precious breath we receive... and this includes environmental air quality issues such as pollution and deforestation.
Psalms 150:6 (NRSV) 
"Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord"

LOOKING AHEAD
  • Summer! check out this tip sheet from BlessedEarth for how to care for God's creation this summer 
  • Church gardens... are growing even without us there. Feel free to stop by and glean! Currently picking: rhubarb, sorrel, mint, oregano. Coming very soon: strawberries!
  • Stuff Swap: If you have items to give-away or are looking for something in particular, we can be resources for each other. Let Steve know your desired or donated item(s) and he will post in his weekly email in hopes to find a match!
  • Single-Use Plastic Products Ban   Starting July 1st, Vermont establishments will no longer give out plastic bags, straws & stirrers... Hurrah for Earth! Check out this link from the VT state Dept. of Environmental Conservation for more information and consumer tips  including... 
    • bringing reusable bags (save to use even during COVID-19 pandemic)
    • clean your bags regularly
    • if stores don't allow reusable bags, leave groceries loose in your cart after purchasing bag them as they go from cart to car trunk 
OF INTEREST
  • The Hard Work of Conversion: with Covid-19 we are glipsing the kinds of transformation we need to tackle climate change article published in Plough Quarterly (Anabaptist Publication) on Earth Day by Bill McKibben
  • The Living Lightly podcast... a Seeds Church podcast where we wrestle with what it means to live lightly in relation to God's creation. Episode 5: Wild Church- a conversation with Wendy Janzen (pastor at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church and the Burning Bush Forest Church, both in Ontario)
    • Invitation for reflection: Church is often thought of as a physical building where people gather to worship. Consider how outdoors is a place where you gather as a part of creation with the rest of creation to encounter and worship God.
"You are the antibodies kicking in, as the planet tries to fight its fever." 

"Our goal must be to make real the gospel, with its injunction to love our neighbors -- not to drown them, not to sicken them, not to make it impossible for them to grow crops, but to love them."


"We can destroy, but we can also choose not to destroy.... If the bird's special gift is flight, then ours is the possibility of restraint. We are the only creature that can decide not to do something we're capable of doing. That is our superpower, even if we exercise it too rarely."

quotes from Bill McKibben (Vermonter, environmentalist, Methodist)
FACT:
Atmospheric carbon dioxide recently reached 415 parts per million for the first time

CO2 Levels Just Hit Another Record—Here’s Why It Matters
(Scientific America, May 16, 2020)
Meet a Permaculture Plant: Garden (or Common) Sorrel
An perennial herb that grows in our apple guild. The edible arrow shaped leaves are described as having a sour flavor similar to a kiwifruit. This sour taste is due to its oxalic acid content. It is commonly used in soups, sauces, and salads. The Simply in Season cookbook has a wonderful recipe for Rhubarb Sorrel crisp. You can harvest both rhubarb and sorrel from our church gardens. Strawberries can be added in as well (also available in our garden).
In the cool spring earth
two holes we've dug side by side
we'll fill them with hope
Haiku by a Mother Up! parent
MARCH






APRIL
 
MAY
This Quarter
Generated: 3,647 kWh
Used: 1,135 kWh
Donated: 2,512 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $586
Estimated Value to TCMF: $214
Total Value for Quarter: $800

Grand Totals
Generated: 37,826 kWh
Used: 17,055 kWh (15,893 kWh from Solar, 1,162 kWh from the grid)
Donated: 21,933 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $5,388
Estimated Value to TCMF: $2,919
Total Value: $8,307
Note: This quarter's generation was again less due to being down 6 panels that were removed in October to accommodate the chimney repairs. Those were put back on June 7th, just in time for summer sunshine!
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - Ben, Heather & Nathan Kulp

Q: What is something you love about creation?
A: 
We love how being outside calms us in a way nothing else can. We also love that creation sparks our curiosity. We love learning more about the world and all God’s created beings.

Q: What is something you do to care for creation?
A
: We try to live simply by only owning what we need. We get joy out of sharing with others, borrowing/trading when possible, and celebrating life’s milestones with the gift of friends and family. It’s a journey and we are not great at it, but every step toward simple living brings greater freedom. 
KID'S  CARE CORNER
Find Flicker! In the kids Sunday school take home papers there is a hidden bug to find each week. Can you find the bumble bee in this photo of our church garden in bloom? Go outside and pay attention to the insect world. It is amazing how busy bugs can be! Get curious about what and why they do what they do. Every bug has a role to play in the ecosystem. Appreciate what gifts they offer to creation such as pollination, a food source for other critters, getting rid of decaying matter, neutralizing garden pests, or generating useful byproducts (like honey!).
 
DO JUST ONE THING

Reflect.  

What are silver linings to this stay-at-home time?
Do you drive less? Shop less? Garden more?

What could a new normal look like as we emerge from the pandemic that would be life giving for all creation?

What opportunities are there to do things differently as we head into the future, so there is a future for coming generations?
A NOTE FROM STEVE

The Transformative Potential of a Season of Death

 

The Spring of 2020 has been one of the strangest seasons of our lives. We live in the midst of an on-going global pandemic--which has affected every single one of us: the nature of how we gather for church, how we acquire food, our work, recreation, and community. We also live in the midst of on-going violence, injustice, protests, and calls for reform of law enforcement.

 

In this on-going news of death and despair, I am reminded of our message from Easter Sunday: the experience of death carries with it seeds for potential transformation. I was encouraged by these words from Alaina Kleinbeck--who serves at Duke Divinity School: “God’s resurrecting power is not restricted to a moment in time when Jesus rose from the dead, but is the power that defines God’s ongoing activity in the world in response to death and destruction.”

 

We are confronted with both the threat of death and the actuality of death in various forms. Our congregation has experienced challenges in a wide variety of ways in the past year; job challenges, marital difficulties, and terminal sickness.

 

 

 

For many of us and our neighbors, we will experience a “pass-over” in which we can avoid the sting of death and continue on. For others, however, the sting of Death may strike: it will put an end to our life in some way (jobs, health, relationships, marriages, bodies, etc). 

 

In order for either Resurrection or for Passover to take place, something must die. The good news of Easter is that even when the sting of Death is felt, though it will mark the “end” of one life, there is the hope of new life on the other side of this death.

We often see the symbol of the butterfly during the Spring. A butterfly comes as the result of a creature being transformed;  a caterpillar dies to its identity as a caterpillar--it cannot stay in its form as a caterpillar and sprout wings--it must enter the darkness and uncertainty of the chrysalis--and reappear as something profoundly different: a butterfly. Something transformative and beautiful emerges from something else being laid to rest.

 

2020 has been a difficult year, but we can seize the opportunity for re-evaluation of our old habits and ways of life and embrace transformation and change. How can this disruption of our lives allow space for us to reflect and examine our relationships with ourselves, one another, and with the Earth itself?

EXPLORE MORE 


Wild Church Network
https://www.wildchurchnetwork.com/



Mennonite Creation Care Network
https://mennocreationcare.org/

 

CONTACT US

Have ideas, stories, resources you'd like to share related to creation care?

Contact Heather Wolfe,
Taftsville Chapel's creation care liaison

EMAIL HEATHER
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Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 44, Taftsville, VT 05073

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