Tread Lightly for Lent

The daily calendar from environmental Ministries PC(USA) is here.  Use the PDF below to reflect about water usage, food resources, and other Eco-justice areas this special season.

Lent Calendar 2012


So Many Highlights! (updated)

Many blogs out there are now turning to a “weekly wrap up” list that includes the articles, pictures, inspirations, and ideas that get the writer writing.  Today I am offering a group of links that our readers and Creation Care-ees have sent to me in the last few days.  I hope you will explore a link or two.

Earth Sabbath Celebrations include songs, inspirational readings, scripture of world religions, silent and spoken prayer, guided meditations, sharing of our joys and concerns for our work, and a ritual sending forth to do the Creation care we are called to do as people of faith. 

The Earth Sabbath is:

  • a time to step out of our daily hectic lives and into a joyful celebration of the mystery and meaning of the universe
  • a time of sharing gratitude and appreciation for the gifts of creation
  • a time of lament, hope, and honoring our interdependency
  • a time of reverence and humility for the power of nature beyond our control
  • a time for community with people caring for creation
  • a time for nurturing and supporting the vision and creativity needed for the healing of the Earth and all those traveling upon her.

Asheville: St. Mary’s Episcopal, 337 Charlotte St. MONDAY Feb. 27 at 7:00pm.


The Western North Carolina Alliance (“a grassroots environmental organization”) turns 30 this year- and will have a celebration and book release March 1. For information, read here: Verve Article


The new Lenten Calendar 2012 is here from Environmental Ministries.


Today, Butter. Tomorrow World Peace.     The article by local writer Ashley English addresses the disconnect between our food and where it came from.


RiverLink’s blog: The River Whisperer describes legislation and pollution.

Welcome 2012!

Happy New Year to Everyone!

I am sure we are all considering ways we can improve ourselves and our planet this year.  I could make the typical “greening” list including our usual suspects: Eat Local. Buy Local. Upcycle. Recycle. Reuse…. on and on….

But, hey- you know all of that from dedicating your time to reading this Journal 😉   Here is a new focus for the beginning of the year- SIMPLIFY.

Take it easy on yourselves and on your lives.  Try to add one small green living addition to your routine for a month.  Just look at it one month (or week) at a time.  Eventually, some things will become part of your routine, while others that do not work for you will be removed.

You are not failing at a resolution or at helping the Earth… you are TRYING.  Let’s start a conversation about what we are doing that is working for us and what we have tried that was less successful.

I’ll start us off…….


  • family recycling all recyclable items
  • hygiene: reduction of “products” and increase in natural items (like olive oil)
  • making most meals from scratch
  • donating/freecycle–ing items versus trash


  • teenager using natural ingredients
  • reduction of plastic
  • homemade laundry soap
  • using the sewing machine
  • commitment to wheat versus processed

So, what do you have to add?

Post T H A N K S giving Time

This past Thanksgiving time gave me so much to consider.

  • Our family traveled by car, but we created 85% of our food from local, fresh ingredients.
  • We all shared a bathroom, so showers were quick…. but I used shampoo instead of my baking soda hair rinse.
  • We recycled, but did not compost.

We shared our love and ideas, our values and stories…and I even convinced a member of the group to use olive oil as an eye makeup remover!  All told it was one of the best since we were all able to be in the same place.

I wonder about the constant struggle I feel as I am pulled back and forth between being more sustainable and making little effort.  I wonder if this— the transition time— is difficult for anyone else? Do you feel yourself making efforts but feeling random?

As I have moved through small and large changes toward a less consumptive/ more self-produced lifestyle; I have reached this point where some “green” changes are habits, and others seem like they were a crazy idea and I will never. get. around. to making. laundry detergent. (For example!)

There are many resources available out there (most listed in the links block) to help motivate and encourage…. however, my motivation is more in pause than in play.

I am floating on gratitude, I am heavy and pensive with Advent, and I am excited for the Christmas celebrations to begin….. where are you?

Are you on pause? What are you excited about? What sustainable choices are you proud of?

Let me know!



FPC Applies for Recertification as an Earth Care Congregation

On December 1, 2010, PC(USA) Environmental Ministries certified our church as an Earth Care Congregation, the first in the Presbytery of Western North Carolina. Earth Care                          Congregation (ECC) churches take the “Earth Care Pledge” and complete creation care activities and projects in the fields of worship, education, facilities and outreach. There are now 59 certified ECC churches in the country.

The ECC program is not a one-time award but is designed to be sustainable – continuous actions to lessen our impact on God’s earth and maintain it for future generations. ECC churches may apply for recertification on their anniversary date and we are in the process of doing that now. We are repeating the same audit we took when first certified to see what progress we have made in the last year.

Our church continued and expanded many of the practices started previously such as extensive recycling,   locally grown flowers in the sanctuary, and use of energy-efficient light bulbs. New in the past year were the many activities associated with our Earth Day observance on May 1: guest earth care speakers, youth recycling and solid waste audits, purchase of locally grown food, a nature walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the French Broad River clean-up.

Our selection as a Greener Pastor Church and having Maura Farver as our expert intern moved our efforts forward. An ABCCM invitation to hire their young, low-income Green Jobs-trained workers to conduct home energy audits, and a long-running faith development class on earth care led by D’Etta and Neil Leach involved individuals in the  congregation in personal actions.

To stay on the sustainability track, we will be identifying actions to complete for our recertification in 2012. In addition to continuing what we are doing now, we will finish our 2011 plans to develop a memorial tree/shrub program and recommend a specific solar installation to session.

We are constantly looking for new ideas and new energy. If you are interested in being involved in earth care at FPC or want to join the Creation Care Task Force, contact Jane Laping 828-277-7342 or