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Winter 2021-2022

 

CREATION CARE RECAP

OCTOBER

  • Wild Church (10/10): theme was centered on the changing season, reflecting on the circle of life and death. Scripture reading was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, a time for everything. In that spirit the children harvested corn, beans and squash from the three sisters garden and planted garlic cloves.
  • Outdoor Sunday worship happens at TCMF! Even on the frosty fall mornings such as this one October 24th. 
  • October 14-16 AMBS held a Rooted and Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship. Read more here.

NOVEMBER

  • UN's COP 26 (Nov 1-12) We were invited to engage with MCCN's shared practice for Oct, Nov, Dec which was setting aside time to pray and fast for the climate on the first day of each month as leaders from around the world convened to accelerate action towards responding to the emergency of climate change.
  • Wild Church (11/14): Scripture readings Psalm 13; Lamentations 3:19-23. We themed around lament and recognized Native American heritage month with language lessons in Algonquin which was spoken by the Western Abenaki on whose traditional n'dakinna (homeland) we meet. On the 'share the harvest table' was Calico popcorn from the three sisters garden the children planted back in June.
               
               
DECEMBER  
  • Wild Church (12/12): Scripture readings Isaiah 9:23, 6; John 1:4-5. An advent service with a theme of light and darkness. Invitation during the wandering & wondering portion of the service was to visit the stations of advent: hope, faith, joy and peace concluding with walking the advent spiral to light individual candles from the center Christ candle and bring that light back out into the world.                   
                                
                          
  • Released December 1st, Vermont's initial Climate Action Plan. What is it? Check out the summary here.
Ongoing:
  • 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!
  • Wild Church: second Sundays, 3pm, Meadow View Farm (home of the Wolfe pack)
  • Share the Harvest table: Every Wild Church will have a table set up for giving and gleaning extra plants, produce, food stuff, or other items that you wish to share.
  • Plastic bag donations! We helped do it again, for the third time now- another 500# of plastic collected in 6 months for bench #3, and this one is earmarked for our church gardens. Nancy Pejouhy has been collecting our plastic bags and other plastic film in collaboration with the Bethel schools as part of the community recycling challenge sponsored by Trex. 500 pounds of plastic film or bags collected= 1 Trek bench! Even after our bench collection is done we will continue to collect plastic for the benefit of another nonprofit. Drop off clean plastic bags of all shapes/sizes at the church. Here is guidance on what to donate  
Other News:
MCCN Land Stewardship Consulting

Mennonite Creation Care Network and Mennonite Men/Join Trees are partnering with Andrew Hudson, a student at AMBS, to support congregations interested in developing their relationship to their land.

Andrew is conducting formal interviews that aim to give voice to the wisdom and theological insights of people who care about and for church land. He has asked a small group that has been relating to the church land for 10+ years at TCMF to engage with his "Church Land Theology Project".
Omar, Allen, Ken and Heather will meet with Andrew for 2 hours on January 15th. A publication of his work is to come out late spring.

Andrew Hudson (center) is a current AMBS seminary student,
and descendant of farmers, pastors and missionaries
Interfaith Power and Light
COOL CONGREGATIONS 
certificate & challenge

With Council's approval, Steve completed an application for TCMF to become a certified "Cool Congregation" through Interfaith Power and Light (which states on its website: 'moving towards hope, putting faith into action for a safe climate'.) Of note, we received a grant through Vermont's chapter of IPL to insulate our building a few years back. We should hear back on the status of our application in 4-6 weeks.

In addition to applying for 'cool' certification we've thrown our name into the ring for consideration in this year's 'cool congregation' challenge in the category of 'sacred ground stewards'. Winners are announced end of February.

You can check out some of the
cool congregations around the nation and see past winners on their newly refreshed website.

LOOKING AHEAD

  • WINTER WILD CHURCH continues second Sundays 3pm Meadow View Farm, home of the Wolfe pack. Bundle up, bring blankets and warm drinks. The fire pit will be going!
  • LENT begins Ash Wednesday March 2nd with Easter falling on Sunday April 17th
  • MCCN monthly meet-up. February 1st 7:30pm Congregations and Solar Panels: Karla Kauffman will meet with us regarding the solar stories project. Details coming in January. Register here.
  • IPL's Faith Climate Action week has been announced for April 22-May 1
What is the DOCTERINE of DISCOVERY?

The Doctrine of Discovery established a spiritual, political, and legal justification for colonization and seizure of land not inhabited by Christians.

Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, a movement of Anabaptist people of faith.

"We proclaim an Anabaptist spirit of discipleship rooted in the call to love of neighbor, seeking right relationship and reconciliation through active non-violence."
 

Ready to take the next steps?

"We (the Repair Network) want to walk with you on that journey! We’re launching a new network (first gathering was August 2021) to support Mennonite communities in education, solidarity and reparative action alongside Indigenous peoples. We also believe this network has the potential for healing for white settlers and Christians as we seek to undo internalized superiority."


TCMF: Let's consider as a community, as a congregation if we feel called to engage. Heather W. attended the December quarterly Repair Network gathering and is happy to talk with anyone further about the rich experience. Her quick thoughts are that with our support of and connection to First Nations in Pikangikum, Ontario Canada, our commitment to creation care, and engagement with Wild Church, this network would be a natural fit for TCMF consideration. There is a recommended documentary and 101 education that is freely available which may be good starting places for us to look at as a group in the new year. Perhaps a 2022 Winter Cabin Fever film and discussion series!
Meet a TCMF Permaculture Garden plant: Creeping Charlie (ground ivy)
This plant, which is within the mint family, volunteered itself to a home in all our gardens. It is considered an invasive weed by many. A quick google search will primarily bring up ideas of how to eradicate the pervasive plant. Pause before you pull! Did you know that it is edible? This minty edible has purple flowers and is an evergreen- it keeps its green leaves through the winter. Leaves can be added to salads, sautéed like spinach or made into tea. Next growing season, let's look at this 'weed' with new respect and when we pull it, consider eating it!
Quarterly Update
SOLAR GENERATION
@ TCMF
SEPTEMBER


OCTOBER
 
NOVEMEBER
This Quarter
Generated: 2,909 kWh
Used: 1,071 kWh
Donated: 1,838 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $442
Estimated Value to TCMF: $202
Total Value for Quarter: $643
 
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: $8,614
Estimated Value to TCMF: $4,247
Total Value: $12,861
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - Abner Schlabach

photo taken by Abner of new white oak trees ready for planting

Q: What is something you love about creation?

A:  I’m so very, very thankful for all aspects of nature that we enjoy as inhabitants of this earth. It starts with the special way in which our earth was created and situated within a “fine-tuned universe”. I absolutely love spring wildflowers in all their variety, and trees of all kinds which are really important for slowing climate change.

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

A:  I’m especially fond of white oak trees, of which I recently planted two beautiful specimens. I obviously will not see those trees in their maturity, but…”As my ancestors planted for me, so do I plant for those who will come after me.” --Talmud
KIDS CARE CORNER

How well do you know your evergreen trees? An evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year. Conifers, a tree that bears cones, is one type of evergreen. Winter is a wonderful time to get to know the evergreens around us.
                            
 
Did you know? There are an estimated 30 million live Christmas trees sold each year! What is the most popular variety sold you ask? Fraser fir. Why? Strong branches for heavy ornaments and a pleasant evergreen scent.

Ready for a winter scavenger hunt?? Here is a scavenger hunt to check out. Have fun out there! ...and if you have a live indoor Christmas tree, you could start by identifying that one! Here are other resources: Arbor Day online identification guide and Playful Learning conifer tree identification
 

"So many traditions at this cold, dark time of year involve gifts – expressing love, generosity, abundance, creativity, and human connection. The dark side is that gifts can also mean buying more stuff. How can we decouple gift-giving and consumption? There are so many ways. Our staff (Vital Communities) pulled together ideas and good readings to spur your own creative thoughts." (click title link above)

Model stewardship. --- Value relationships with the natural world. --- Consider how decisions you make today will impact their future.

DO JUST ONE THING

Write a letter to Earth.
In a recent workshop/webinar by Kaitlin Curtice (author of Native: Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering God) hosted by the Seminary of the Wild, Kaitlin invited participants to hold space in uneasy times for ourselves, for Earth, and for others. The idea that we were created for kinship- that we belong to one another and to the Earth was the spirit in which she encouraged all of us to write a letter to Earth.

Like us, Earth is a beautiful creation of God.
What would you like to say to Earth? 

Take time this winter to write to her.
 
TCMF Creation Care Committee

Laura Beidler
Steve McCloskey
Heather Wolfe

This is a voluntary team for those interested in helping to guide our church's involvement in creation care. We will plan to meet quarterly and connect informally between meetings on an as needed basis. 
A NOTE FROM STEVE

Feasting, Fasting, and the Path to Joy
 
This Advent, more than any other in recent memory, I've been ruminating on nothing.
 
While I have enjoyed the festivities surrounding the celebration of Christmas-- including gifts, decorations, and desserts--I suspect that as much as these help to reinforce a positive affinity for the celebration of the birth of Christ among our wider culture, they may also have become a distraction.
 
The traditional celebration of "feast days" on the Church calendar also was balanced with days of fasting. The notion of feasting sounds appealing but in my own personal life, I have found that foregoing certain pleasures actually




allows me more space for joy. It has been in times of fasting that I have felt most joy-filled. Perhaps because I'm not filled with so much else?

As we think about practices this holiday season that are beneficial to ourselves, each other, and the earth:
My advice to myself and to us is to let go of the craving for more, and to find that joy is found in less.
It’s not that we need something to find joy. It’s almost the exact opposite: we need nothing to find joy. So, in the giving away of our things and in the giving up of our distractions, we make space to receive that which is already available to us but we may not have noticed...

EXPLORE MORE 

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

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

Interfaith Power and Light 
https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.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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