The 50-50-50 Challenge
Will 50 churches from Pennsylvania Southeast Conference
Commit to do something “green” to mitigate climate change
For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day?
As of June 7, 2021, 24 of 50 churches have committed to action.
Your Climate Justice Working Group invites you to look over the list of possibilities (or think of your own!)
- Our building committee will change to LED light bulbs.
- Our hospitality committee will cease using foam cups.
- Our pastor will preach on climate change on Earth Sunday (or another date.)
- Our book group will read Climate Church, Climate World by UCC minister Jim Antal, Cathedral on Fire!: A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis by Brooks Berndt, the UCC’s Minister for Environmental Justice, or another similar book.
- Our media team will look up Breath to the People: Sacred Air and Toxic Pollution, a new report just out from the UCC, and report on it as a mission moment.
- Our mission team will visit UCC.org/pollinator to consider the 10 things churches can do in this Kairos time.
- Our church will host a movie screening and discussion of a The Human Element or a similar film. (Click here for resources.)
- Our consistory will research and consider voting to take the Paris Pledge, where our congregation would commit to reduce its carbon pollution by 50% by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050.
- Our youth group will grow a pizza garden and hold a climate friendly pizza party (Click here for resources.)
- Our congregation will explore becoming a Creation Justice Church.
- Our congregation will join the denomination-wide goal of planting 50,000 trees. We will plant trees at our church, around our homes, or have a tree planted for $1 in a National Park. Check out the For the Love of Trees Packet from the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.
- Our leaders will commit that on Earth Day, we’ll watch one of the foremost leaders of the environmental justice movement deliver an online address. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, who coined the phrase “environmental racism,” will present in a webinar.
- Our congregation will make a commitment to buy locally for meals (https://www.localharvest.org/organic-farms/)
- Our weekly email will include a link for members to sign up to receive The Pollinator, the UCC’s Environmental Justice newsletter. (https://www.ucc.org/pollinator_sign_up)
- Our fellowship team will host a meat-free potluck.
- Our justice committee will plan an event to educate our congregation on the environment.
- Our congregation will switch to washable plates, cups, utensils, and communion cups.
- Our building committee will have the boiler serviced.
- Our staff will download the Creation Justice Brochure and share it with the congregation.
- Our newsletter will include a description and link to listen to “Down the Wormhole” the podcast by Rev. Zack Jackson on science and religion.
- Our leaders will subscribe to the Pennsylvania Council of Churches e-advocacy network to stay up-to-date on legislation impacting the environment.
- Our congregation will form a Green Team for our church.
- Our congregation will work to earn one of these designations:
- Our finance team will break up with our Mega-Bank (more info).
- Our consistory will complete a Green Church Inventory.
- Our church will install solar panels on the roof of the church.
- Our grounds committee will plant a garden and hold services in the garden as weather permits. (Example)
- Our congregation will create a compost pile that members can bring their scraps to. (Example)
The Environmental Action Team at Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia has put together a Sacred Earth Handbook, covering personal ways to deal with household products, plastics, paper, electricity and lighting, water, food, and more. There are simple actions to put in practice immediately, more moderate actions requiring a moderate commitment or a modest purchase, and some big-ticket commitments to make toward securing a sustainable future for the earth. To view the Handbook or download it, go to Tabernacle United Church’s website at <www.tabunited.org>. Click on “resources” and a link to the Handbook will pop up immediately.
Report your church’s action below. We will honor our 50 (or more!) churches at the next meeting of the Conference.