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Spring 2021




  • Wild Church Network (WCN) co-founder & Mennonite pastor, Wendy Janzen, receives 2nd annual Meyer Award which recognizes effective leadership in caring for the earth within congregations who relate to MCCN. We were last years recipient! Steve got to meet with Wendy during January's WCN pastor meeting. TCMF is part of the WCN.
  • Jan.16th, a snowy day with power outages, we had an affinity group to review the  Church Garden Soil test results 


  • Feb 5th Jennifer Schrock, leader of MCCN, visited our church during ZOOM sunday worship service. She brought greetings from the Mennonite Creation Care Network and asked for prayer as she brings together over 20 Mennonite organizations  caring for creation in some way to a listening session.
  • Know Your Dirt presentation back by popular demand. We held a 2nd Soil Test Results conversation.
  • Weekly Lenten meetups continue Saturdays at 3:30pm (no meeting 3/20). This is a practice group open to all who are craving community, curious about and/or engaging with "A Fast for the Earth."

LENT 2021:
  • Ash Wednesday - Resurrection Sunday (Feb.17-Apr.4):  As a faith community we engaged with a Lenten resource "A Fast for the Earth" with invitations to a series of weekly fasts that aim to draw us into greater awareness and engagement with caring for creation.  
    • Meat Fast (2/17-20)
    • Consumption Fast (2/21-27)
    • Food Waste Fast  (2/28-3/6)
    • Water Fast (3/7-13)
    • Injustice Fast (3/14-20)
    • Electricity Fast (3/21-27)
    • Ignorance Fast (3/28-4/3)
    • Resurrection Feast! (4/4)
  • Weekly meet-ups at the end of each week serve as time to reflect and learn from each other in addition, to connect and prepare for the coming week's fast.
  • Sustainable Kitchen was a resource we found supportive throughout the Lenten season, with elements that spoke to each of the 7 fasts!
  • Some ideas we generated for our church community include:
    • (Water Fast) Installing a rain barrel at church using the small roof over the basement entrance to capture water for the church gardens. Know of a source for large food grade barrels? Let Heather know.
    • (Consumption Fast) Creating a lending library that goes beyond books. The first item donated: an Instant Pot. It is currently out on loan. If interested in checking it out next, contact Heather
    • (Food Waste Fast) Bring food you won't use up to share including half finished jars of sauces. First food salvage (during last years stuff swap)... an opened jar of harissa sauce offered up by the Wolfe household, eaten up by the Kulp family
    • (Injustice Fast) Plan a pollinator garden.
  • 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!
  • Plastic bag donations! Nancy Pejouhy has been collecting our plastic bags because her local school (White River Valley Middle School in Bethel) signed onto to 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 of all shapes/sizes at the church. Here is guidance on what to donate 
Other News:
  • Spring Reading: the companionship of books may be even more present during the pandemic. Put creation care reading on your list this season. Stop by the church at check-out the creation care section. Thanks Melissa for adding some new editions to TCMF's collection over February break. The photo above is a sampling of what is new. Remember, you can also check out a copy of Sustainable Kitchen by Jaynie McCloskey and Heather Wolfe (Herald Press, 2020).  
  • Climate Action Plans  MCCN offers up a resource from the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions. Blueprints for Climate Action- creation care actions plans to empower congregations. We can take the quiz, keeping in mind the congregation, then get an action plan appropriate to where we are at. Scores range from 0-20. (If you take the quiz, please send what score you came up with to Heather for compiling.)


  • EARTH DAY 2021 (Thurs. April 22nd) This year's theme: Restore our Earth
  • ARBOR DAY 2021 (Fri. April 30th) Now is the Time. The Time for Trees. Learn more about The Time for Trees initiative.
  • GREEN UP DAY Vermont 2021 (Sat. May 1st) Mark your calendars. 51 years strong!
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
  • 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.

The above "Earthrise" image taken by Bill Anders (1968, Apollo 8 mission) provided a new perspective & a self-awareness in looking back on ourselves. 
It is considered by some the most important environmental photo ever taken.
A state of profound mental clarity reported by astronauts when they look back and see Earth from space. They are overwhelmed & awed by the fragility and unity of life.


Meet a TCMF Permaculture Garden plant: Matteuccia
(aka: ostrich fern, fiddlehead fern, shuttlecock fern)

We have several that be found in the back of our shade garden (to the left as you enter church, towards the foundation).

A crown-forming, colony-forming plant. For identification, ostrich ferns have unique characteristics only exhibited by ostrich ferns: the skin is smooth with a deep green color and there is a U-shaped groove in the stem that looks similar to the groove in celery. As fiddleheads emerge, they are covered with a brown paper chaff. These tightly curled, immature fronds are an early edible vegetable that can be harvested from our wild landscape towards the end of April. The picking season is short, so be on the lookout. Harvest sustainably- only from healthy crowns with 4 or more fronds emerging and taking no more than half. Rotate where you pick from year to year to stimulate regeneration. Learn more from Edible Wild Food.
Quarterly Update

This Quarter
Generated: 1,196 kWh
Used: 1,481 kWh (1,196kWh from Solar, 285 kWh from the grid)
Donated: 0 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $63
Estimated Value to TCMF: $226
Total Value for Quarter: $289
Grand Totals
Generated: 47,184 kWh
Used: 20,672 kWh (19,225 kWh from Solar, 1,447 kWh from the grid)
Donated: 27,959 kWh
Estimated Value to BBC: $6,826
Estimated Value to TCMF: $3,547
Total Value: $10,373

Q: What is something you love about creation?

A:  I love the trees in creation & I love splitting & stacking firewood late at night under the moonlight.

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

A:  I used wood to heat our home so I don’t need to use so much propane. 

Your parents grew up learning about the 3 R's to help Earth: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. There are more R's! Teach grown-ups some new ones that can do even more good at achieving zero waste and promoting sustainability. These including Refuse, Rot (compost), Repurpose, Rethink. This makes for a total of 7 R's for Earth! Did you know that they are ordered (see graphic), so always start at the top and ask can I rethink first, refuse second, and so forth. Maybe you can even add your own R for Earth. Have an idea for another R? Send it in (kids and grownups alike) and we will publish in the next creation care newsletter!

While there is desire for life to go back to normal, what aspects of our life and living should not return to "business as usual"? What are learnings we should hold onto as for how to live more lightly as we steward Earth in the face of climate change?

Finding and Giving Life by Reaching for the Light
One of my very favorite Wild Church services was our very first one, last Summer. We took time to listen, and look, and smell sermons that Creation may be speaking to us.
I spent some time in the presence of a tree. What I observed about this rather large, tall tree is that it was really doing one thing: it was reaching for the light. Its branches and leaves were extended towards the sunlight.
This tree’s branches were home to birds, it had spiders’ webs, and I’m confident it could multiply and produce many more trees, for many more generations.
This tree could take care of so many others--as long as it was anchored in the moist soil-- all it needed to do was reach for the light, and photosynthesis would take care of the rest. 

The sermon from the tree to me was “reach for the light”.

If I am open to receiving what is life-giving to me, then, in turn, I can be like this tree and care for others.

So, I’ve been ruminating on this phrase that Jesus uses in John 8:12. “I am the light of the world”. 
He says:
“I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
How do I encounter this Light?

I find this Light in various ways...reading his words and his life in the Gospels, sharing in the life of the Church, and the inward experience of the Spirit.
Light provides us with the ability to see and perceive the world around us. It guides us; it orders our days (with sunlight and moonlight); it is life-giving.

The New England-born theologian Jonathan Edwards described Jesus as “a coming together of diverse excellencies”...this is because Jesus exudes several qualities: love, strength, compassion, meekness, courage, etc all in one person.

Sun-light may be "one-thing" (or one substance) but it gives life to so many things and accomplishes so much more. I pray that we can reach for Light and find the life that multiplies and gives life to others too.


Wild Church Network

Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions

Mennonite Creation Care Network



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

Contact Heather Wolfe,
Taftsville Chapel's creation care liaison

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