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Mennonite Creation Care Network- 27 July 2017

posted Aug 6, 2017, 4:33 PM by Joseph Cook

July 27, 2017
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Tropical agroforestry at HEART Village, an hour south of Orlando, Fl.  Bananas, sugar cane, arrowroot and passion fruit vine are among the crops grown together. MCCN sponsored a field trip here during the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando, FL.

Beyond the Convention Center:
Finding Food and the Tropics at HEART Village

- by Jennifer Schrock

My initial encounter with the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando was a bit eerie. It was the 4th of July, and I was looking for the registration area for the Mennonite Church USA biennial convention.
I approached the white façade shown in photographs, but found the exterior deserted and the doors locked.  After a few dead ends, I did find my way into the chilly interior, where I looked in vain for a shop, a staff person, a potted plant or other life form.
Had I missed the rapture? Had I fallen down a wormhole into a dystopian novel set in the 23rdcentury? What was I doing here?     read more             see FB album
Welcome, New Members!

Fifty people signed up to be part of the Mennonite Creation Care Network at the MCUSA convention in Orlando, Fl. That boosts our list of active emails to just over 900. May all 900 of you find the support and energy you need to make your love for creation a verb--as the convention logo suggests.

Creation Care Named in Future Church Summit

Creation care appears four places in the final document crafted from participant input at the Future Church Summit, the visioning process that took place at the Mennonite Church USA’s biennial convention July 4 to 8. This means it was a concern for multiple people, not just a few voices.

“It was good to see creation care and its importance to the Church emerging through the processes of the Summit,” observed one member of the theme team. “We recognize this as a worldwide issue in which we need to be engaged.”   read more

MCCN Now Accepting Net Zero Energy Grant Applications

Is your MCUSA congregation looking to install solar panels? According to the Energy Sagewebsite, solar costs are 9% lower than they were a year ago and continuing to drop. Or how about an electric car charging station to help your community transition away from petroleum? 

Thanks to the generosity of Russell De Young, Newport News, Va., MCCN has funds available for renewable energy projects. Congregations must demonstrate that their investment is part of a long term plan to replace fossil fuels with green energy. Read more and submit your proposal by October 31.

Nat Dick's summer includes an internship at the Dyck Arboretum, Hesston, Kans., where he is researching prairie composition. The 13-acre Dyck Arboretum focuses on trees, shrubs and wildflowers native to Kansas. Photo is courtesy of the Dyck Arboretum.

New Member Feature: Nat Dick

Nathanael Dick (Nat) is a senior environmental science major at Goshen College with a question for the network: Have you ever done a green building project? If so, Nat would appreciate your help with a survey he is conducting on the topic for his senior seminar project. Nat is new to the field of green building, but the area intrigues him because of the potential that building construction has for making our lives more sustainable over a long period of time. 

"I hope to learn what motivates people to build in this way, and what aspects of the process are the most most challenging to individuals contemplating these types of projects," Nat says. He believes this information could be helpful to both builders and consumers.  

Take Nat's survey: 
GC Green Building Survey


Thanks to the member congregations who completed their liaison form this spring. If you did so and your church is not mentioned, it's because you were covered last month or did not leave specific comments.

I'm seeing a theme here: Groups with peace-related names have high participation rates when it comes to creation care. This is especially true if we include "cooperative" and the theological meaning of "rainbow!" --Jennifer Schrock

Wildlife Habitat SignAlbuquerque Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, N.M., now has solar panels that should generate enough kilowatts to cover the church's total electricity needs. They also have almost all of the outdoor features in place to qualify as a wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. 

The folks at Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, Oak View, Calif., have installed rain catchment tanks to water the garden. In the coming year, they hope to further develop their yard as a demonstration project for resiliency and native plant literacy.

Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, Ohio, has an 1,100-gallon water reclamation tank and rain garden that diverts 100,000 gallons of storm water each year. Read more. They've also been working on dinnerware for group meals.

Grace Mennonite Church, Regina, Sask., reports that at a visioning 
meeting, each committee reflected on ways to actively be part of Creation Care. They hope to add scripture to their bulletins that will help them focus on creation. They also plan to hold recycling events and learning opportunities on how we can be better stewards of the Earth.

Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship, Boise, Idaho, has a remodeling project underway. Upgrading bathrooms and installing an elevator has also provided the opportunity to install more energy-efficient fixtures and appliances. They also hope to do some xeriscaping in areas where the landscaping was dug up due to construction. 

Peace Mennonite Church, Lawrence, Kan., is busy making their new building addition as environmentally friendly as possible.

Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, Kan., is planning for solar energy. 

The folks at San Antonio Mennonite Church, San Antonio, Tex., have been thinking about issues ranging from the coal industry to environmental refugees, thanks to Creation Care Liaison Joe Cook's commitment to working against climate change.

Shalom Mennonite Church, Indianapolis, Ind., has a historic property with an undeveloped woods with mature oak trees. They will continue to restore this wooded area and hope to develop a trail for the community to enjoy.

Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, Kans., hopes to study creation care in the coming year.

Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, Taftsville, Vt., is in the midst of an intentional year of creation care. See Heather Wolfe's story in the April 2017 issue of The Mennonite. In the coming year, they hope to install some native plantings around the church and add a creation care page to their website.

Zion Mennonite Church, Souderton, Pa., has been planting trees. While this was partly to replace fallen or diseased trees, they also hope to soak up some of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere and naturalize their wooded area. 

Unfreeze Yourself: Five Ways to Take Action on Climate Change Now
A book by Christine Penner Polle. Outskirts Press, 2015.
Christine is an educator, mother and healer--as well as a member of MCCN.
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right 
A book by Arlie Russell Hochschild. The New Press, New York, 2016.

Disturbed by the deepening political divide in the United States, Hochschild sets out to bridge the gap between her life as a professor of sociology at the University of California Berkeley and Republican voters in the Deep South. She chose to conduct her interviews—and make new friends—in Louisiana, the state that the Social Science Research Council ranks dead last in overall health.

Much of the book concerns a question that puzzles Hochschild: How is it that people who suffer the most from polluted air and water can be adamantly opposed to environmental regulation? As she accompanies her informants to industrial plants and Pentecostal churches, political gatherings and cookouts, a "deep story" emerges that accounts for this odd paradox and highlights the importance of emotion in shaping political views.  

Hochschild attributes her warm reception to Southern hospitality and the fact that she was “writing a book about a divide that also troubled those I came to know.” Her empathy and capacity to listen provide a helpful model for anyone concerned about environmental issues. 


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