Climate Change and the Church
Pilgrim Congregational Church is fast becoming a “earthwise” congregation of the United Church of Christ. A year ago our Social Justice Ministry declared Climate Change as a priority concern. Throughout this year the congregation has embarked on several important efforts to reduce carbon footprints–both by the congregation and by the utility companies that serve Duluth.
Pilgrim Congregational UCC, Peace UCC, and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church began collaborative conversations. They, along with several other Duluth communities of faith, have formed an Arrowhead Chapter of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light. MNIPL is an interfaith organization that brings together faith communities for education and action related to climate change.
An informal “green team” led by Bret Pence caulked most of the church windows this past winter and changed more than 300 light bulbs from incandescent and CFL’s to LEDs. Minnesota Power has been a supportive and encouraging partner is making the conversion financial feasible for the congregation.
Worship at Pilgrim has lifted up climate change and stewardship of the earth on a regular basis. In October, the congregation celebrated World Communion Sunday with the theme, “Breath for the Planet.” In February, the congregation participated in a national teach-in related to Climate Change and showed the movie Chasing Ice. In May, Dave Zentner preached on caring for water resources and the importance of individual efforts. On June 15, Diane Desotelle will preach on sustainability.
Food waste from the church kitchen is now regularly recycled into WLSSD’s compost program. The church collects “shiny paper” for New Page and the money supports the congregation’s music ministry. Print and toner cartridges are recycled through the Funding Factory.
In both spring and fall, the Social Justice Ministry sells bulbs and garden plants and in the last two years has donated native shrubs and trees to UMD for planting.
There have also been several educational events at Pilgrim related to the complexities of mining and the impact of oil exploration and transportation on the environment.
Within the next year, Pilgrim will apply for status as an Earthwise Congregation of the United Church of Christ.