Our commitment to earth care began in 2013 with a six-week worship series led by Reverend Cathlin Baker, with sermons, music and meditations focused on creation. Speakers from the Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Society, the Polly Hill Arboretum, the Nature Conservancy, the MV Shellfish Group, Mass Audubon, and Island-Grown Schools gave coffee fellowship talks to the congregation about climate change, recycling, water quality and the importance of locally-grown food. The Earth Care book group gathered for many weeks to discuss books such as Jim Hansen’s Storms of My Grandchildren, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and Bill McKibben’s eaarth.
In 2015 our church led an interfaith study group on the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si. Congregation members participate in the Island-wide Earth Day beach cleanup. Our building is also greener: The church replaced its oil furnace with a high-efficiency heat pump system and installed LED lighting in the parish hall and church offices All of these actions led to the church achieving the Green Congregation Level One Certification. David Fielder and Jana Bertkau accepted the Certification on behalf of the church at the 2017 UCC Annual Conference.
Members of our church participated in the Climate Change March of 2017, both in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the Climate Stand In at Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office in the fall of 2017.
The Green Team also reached out to the Martha’s Vineyard community by co-hosting two presentations given by Cape Light Compact: on January 21, 2018, Home Energy: Understanding Your Electric Bill and How to Reduce it; and on March 21, 2018, Renewable Energy 101.
At the June 2017 Congregational Meeting, the church passed the following Climate Change Resolution :
We, the members of the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, are committed to living our faith through our actions and doing so by protecting God’s greatest gift -Life as we know it on our earthly home. We see clear evidence that the threat to our world is real, further exacerbating the social, political and economic inequities that divide and threaten us. We believe that a clean and safe environment is our right and a responsibility we owe to future generations. We affirm the spirit and intent of the Paris Climate Accord, believing it is consistent with the best prevailing scientific knowledge of our times. [i]
As such we pledge to take each and every opportunity as individuals and as a collective to act proactively to defend our environment. These may be small individual steps, yet combined they will result in a greater impact. Our Earth Ministry and Green Team is charged with advancing this cause, staying abreast of the issues, making regular update reports to the Congregation and supporting our minister, association, conference, and national clergy as we take up the mantle of moral leadership.The Green Team promotes sustainable programs within the church and in the community. We have partnered with Island Grown Initiative to create recycling stations for our fruit festivals, as well as for Sunday morning fellowship, as we strive to become a zero-waste organization.
1.Source: Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, B. DeAngelo, S. Doherty, K. Hayhoe, R. Horton, J.P. Kossin, P.C. Taylor, A.M. Waple, and C.P. Weaver, 2017: Executive summary. In: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 12-34, doi: 10.7930/J0DJ5CTG.
To read the UCC statement on climate change, click here.
Climate change is an emergency. We invite all interested members and friends to join our GREEN TEAM to identify and implement steps our congregation can take to promote stewardship of God's creation. For more information, please contact Jana Bertkau at firstname.lastname@example.org or (508) 687-9773, or David Fielder at email@example.com or (508) 684-8086.