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Spring 2022

 

CREATION CARE RECAP

January:

  • 1/9 Wild Church Epiphany service. "Arise, shine, for your light has come." -Isaiah 60
              
  • 1/15 Church Land Theology Project invited us to be a focus group with AMBS seminary student Andrew Hudson in thinking about how we as a Mennonite church have related to the land. Allen, Omar, Dave, and Heather participated in this interview.

February:

  • 2/9 Permaculture consultant, Karen Ganey who designed our gardens a few years back, returns to the chapel to lend her time and expertise to design expanded gardens on church grounds- a berry patch behind the church, 4 more apples along the parking lot bank, a fruit and nut hedge along the property boundary in the wet ditch, and a perennial peace garden.
  • 2/13 Wild Church Winter Rest service. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
   

March: 
  • 3/13 Wild Church Lenten service on Shalom my Friend. "“I no longer speak of you as subordinates... instead I call you friends." -John 15:15
    • We celebrated the gifts of spring, including tapping a maple following the principles of the honorable harvest. Sugar on snow (complete with pickles and donuts) were enjoyed along with maple candied walnuts.
    
  • Ask God Anything... Steve took us on deep dives into several questions that related back to creation- "God- what is your backstory?", "How do you reconcile evolution with creation?", "What pronouns do you identify with?" 
    • speaking of pronouns, Robin Wall Kimmerer (author of Braiding Sweetgrass which is in our church library thanks to a donation from Jan and Bob Collins)  has a  modest proposal for the transformation of the English language, a kind of reverse linguistic imperialism, a shift in worldview through the humble work of the pronoun. Read more here... Nature Needs a New Pronoun
TCMF in the international news! Anabaptists around the world care for creation (Mennonite World Conference) Article published 3/17/22 includes a quote about some of our creation care initiatives and at the end of the page has a Flickr album of images with 6 photos from TCMF.

LENT 2022:
Ongoing:
  • Stuff Swap: It's time to spring clean! 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!
  • Plastic bag donations! Nancy Pejouhy continues to coordinate collecting our plastic bags as part of a community recycling challenge sponsored by Trex. 500 pounds of plastic film or bags collected within 6 months= 1 Trek bench! Drop off clean plastic bags/film in the box at church.  Here is guidance on what to donate 
PEACE POLE planting!
  • We are partnering with the FabLab at Hartford High school to create a peace pole that will be planted in our church gardens. Not familiar with a peace pole? Read about the history of peace poles. Ours will be natural cedar wood shaped by Dave Beidler with 6 languages plus a blank side to represent all spoken and unspoken, human and non-human languages that we don't have space to include.
 

LOOKING AHEAD

Speaking of trees...
  • Mennonite Men's Join Trees Project invites us to plant and care for trees on church land and private land as they aim to plant a million trees by 2030. See article in Anabaptist World.
    • We have applied for a grant to help subsidize buying trees to plant on our church property. They are offering $3 per tree if we are awarded the grant.
  • Rewild Vermont A campaign to plant 100 thousand trees across Vermont by 2022. Check it out. Let's think about how we, as individual landowners and as a church, might contribute towards this goal. Our permaculture gardens are an excellent example of what the campaign hopes to do across Vermont. Making fruit trees, edible and medicinal plants available to communities.
    • We applied for and were given $6 per tree from 350Vermont plus a gift of 4 apples and 1 walnut.
GET READY TO GARDEN!
            
  • We will have a spring planting party when our tree order comes in. Stay tuned!
    • Sacred Grounds designation is something we will be eligible to apply for after our spring planting project. Sacred Grounds™ is a National Wildlife Federation program that recognizes congregations, houses of worship, and faith communities who both create wildlife habitat and actively link faith practices and caring for the environment.
    • Certified Wildlife Habitat designation. During Earth Month the kids will be working to have our church property eligible for NWF certification as a Wildlife Habitat. Here is the checklist they will be using to meet the criteria required.  
A must listen!

3/10 talk hosted by Sustainable Woodstock & Vermont's ECO-Americorps
Listen & Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D5VR3QUlYo [youtube.com]

Read: Similar information by these same speaker/author in article form
SENOMOZI
(Abenaki name for Maple Tree)
considered the leader of the trees because it is the first to share its gifts 

This particular maple tapped by the kids provides shade to our monthly Wild Church gatherings and is 7 generations old (at 25 years per generation that = 175 years old). Sugar maples are long-lived trees, living up to 400 years! 

 
Meet a Permaculture plant:
Acer saccharum (sugar maple tree)

The Sugar Maple is Vermont's State Tree. In terms of volume, ki (new pronoun to replace 'it' so not to objectify creation) is the most common tree in our green mountain state followed by the red maple and eastern hemlock. This time of year we are grateful to the Creator for creating the sugar maple with ki's sweet gift of sap (40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of syrup). In the autumn ki gifts us with yellow and red foliage. The maple is already being impacted by climate change. As climate continues to warm, the maple, which prefers cooler temps, is projected to shift north into Canada, a threat to Vermont maple sugaring. Learn more about the maple and climate change from Audubon.  Learn more about maples in general from Arbor Day.  
Quarterly Update
SOLAR GENERATION
@ TCMF
DECEMBER


JANUARY
 
FEBRUARY
This Quarter
Generated: 1,169 kWh
Used: 1,510 kWh (1,168 kWh from Solar, 342 from the grid)
Donated: 1 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $62
Estimated Value to TCMF: $221
Total Value for Quarter: $283
 
Grand Total
Generated: 49,883 kWh
Used: 21,468 kWh (20,021 kWh from Solar, 1,447 kWh from the grid)
Donated: 29,862 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $8,677
Estimated Value to TCMF: $4,464
Total Value: $13,140
Member Spotlight
SKOGERBOE family

Q: What is something you love about creation?  

A:   The Skogerboes report a great appreciation for the wonder and peace and beauty of the natural world and the trails surrounding our house which have been like a balm during the troubled Covid times. The above picture is of a golden hour sunset this week on a ridge near our home as an example.

Q: What is something you do to care for creation?

A: There are a number of ways that we try to care for the earth and minimize our impacts around our home, from recycling and composting to raising chickens (although we only have 1 laying hen currently) and heating with a very efficient wood stove. We also thought that some of the things Cori does to mitigate harm to the earth in her business might be of interest. They recycle everything they can that is used in the salon: every box, every empty color tube, every foil used for hair color. What can't be done locally is collected and sent out to a carbon neutral company called Green Circle. Leftover color chemicals are captured and kept out of the wastewater system and are later steam distilled to produce energy.  Even cut hair is swept up and collected and sent which the company uses to make products like bins and bowls. The salon also uses Aveda products because they create only vegan / naturally derived "clean" products and colors that are as harm free as possible for people and the earth and they use 100% wind / solar energy in manufacturing and use 100% post consumer recycled packaging. 

 
KID'S  CARE CORNER

What is a HABITAT?  Listen to this catchy kids song: 'Habitat Song' by Bill Oliver

Get ready to check some boxes to create habitat for birds and bees and other wildlife that would like to call our church property and the land around where you live home. In April we'll use this checklist to see what we need to have to be a good habitat.
 
DO JUST ONE THING

Earth Hour
March 26th 8:30 pm

Turn off your lights for an hour and light a candle.

Join in solidarity with people around the globe in prayer and action for our common home. Learn more at EarthHour.
 
A NOTE FROM STEVE

My sermon on March 6 was in response to a question that was raised by Norah Wolfe about the relationship between evolutionary theory and the biblical account of creation. In my own process of writing the sermon, I reflected on the relationship between science and scripture and how we understand the notion of “revelation”. While one of the points I expressed is that Genesis does not tell us all of the details about God’s creative process, I realized the foolishness of expecting that the Bible should tell us all of the details.
 
God isn’t obligated to tell us the whole story, because I don’t think we can handle the whole story! That would be a much bigger book than the Bible. In fact, it could be the Book of Creation itself.
 
In Christian tradition, it is said that God has two books: the Book of Creation and the Book of Scripture. Both of these are understood to be inspired by God. The Book of Creation is the created world around us; the observable universe and everything that inhabits it; nature. The natural world has been called the “public revelation of God” because it wasn’t just a prophecy given to a particular person, but it is accessible to all people across time. 
 
The Book of Scripture is what we have in the pages of the Bible; a human record of divine revelation. And in the pages of the Bible, we find reference to Creation as revelation.
 
In Psalm 19 it says: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and the firmament shows and proclaims of God’s handiwork” it goes on…
 
“...Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
 

 


The Psalmist is testifying to us that the stars and the sky are testifying of their Creator. 
 
In our scripture reading from that Sunday, Job says:
 
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?” (Job 12:7-11)
 
This is to say: the Bible directs us to not only pay attention to the Bible but to pay attention to what Creation testifies to us about God. We are invited to ask the animals questions and learn from the birds of the air and the fish of the sea…to even speak to the earth itself. And these things–according to Job–will inform us of our Maker.
 
What I see Genesis and Psalms, and Job inviting us to do is to explore and discover and interact with the created world around us and inquire about our Maker.
The poems and stories of Psalms and Genesis testify to a God who made each of us and cares for us in a special way. But they also point us to learn from the birds of the air (who Jesus says God cares for too) and from the fish of the sea (that Genesis says God spoke into existence). So much of the work in our congregation’s engagement with Creation Care requires a healthy dialogue between the insights of both science and scripture and how these two interact with each other. May we find the revelation of God in both of these “books” this Spring.
 

EXPLORE MORE 

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

Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions
https://sustainableclimatesolutions.org/



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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P.O. Box 44, Taftsville, VT 05073

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