At the 2023 UMC Annual Conference there was a challenge offered up for each congregation in the Dakotas to form “Green Teams” tasked with fulfillment of the UMC 2016 Book of Resolutions #1035. This resolution asks United Methodists to “Explore lifestyle changes as individuals and faith communities; support those impacted by fossil fuel extraction and the need to change to sustainable forms of energy; make changes in our facilities and meeting practices to reduce our carbon footprints; and advocate for changes in our own national policies and binding international agreements to reduce the effects of climate change and support those who must adapt to the changes.”
What does a Green Team do? The answer to that may be as varied as the number of teams that form. It is whatever the congregation is motivated to do. Motivation becomes increasingly charged when we all have had our summer skies smoky and our air dangerous to breath to a degree beyond our memories all due to an unprecedented in recorded history hot summer igniting Canadian forests. At a minimum, the Green Team should be an educational resource and reminder to the church family about climate issues and solutions.
Actionable solutions might include measures such as: Recycling and using sustainably sourced serving ware at church events and Sunday coffee time; completing an energy survey of our church building and parsonage then making improvements in the structures to increase energy efficiencies; switching to LED lights; taking advantage of federal programs and grants to install heat pumps for more efficient heating and cooling; involving the youth in the planning and actions of the green missions of the church; and communicating with the local, state, and national elected leaders encouraging support of climate change legislation.
A group has been formed that will help us develop our Green Team. If you are interested in being part of this important, exciting new ministry of FUMC please join Liza Larson, Kay Swihart, Tammi Downs, and myself as we take steps to better our environment.