Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Faith Based Community In Action

It's heartening to see what many faith-based communities are doing to make our world a better place. They are in action all over the country and I am proud to report about a local Tucson community who recently received an honor from the Sierra Club. And I want to thank my friends Tom and Susan for sending me the link as it's one I missed!

Here are excerpts from Stephanie's article:

Stephanie Innes from the Arizona Daily Star reported last week that St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Tucson, AZ., earned a pat on the back from a national environmental group.
The church is highlighted in the Sierra Club's new report titled "Faith in Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope for the Planet," released in June. The group recognized the environmental work of religious communities by highlighting one "exceptional faith-based environmental initiative" from each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

St. Mark's and its pastor, the Rev. Stuart Taylor, are featured in the Arizona entry of the report, titled "Sacred Water." It recognizes the church's commitment to water issues locally and internationally. Taylor has implored his congregation to envision "an Earth transformed, in which the waters of the Earth are able to bless, heal and sustain all life."

Church members are involved in conserving and restoring water resources, and are developing a rainwater-harvesting system. The St. Mark's youth group recently took part in a cleanup of Southern Arizona's San Pedro River. Taylor reread the Old and New Testaments last year from an environmental perspective and began hosting community education events titled "The Green Bible" about Scripture and the environment. He keeps an up-to-date environmental page on the church's Web site, including tips for reducing one's carbon footprint.

An extensive environmental audit of the church resulted in a commitment to improve its use of natural lighting, as well as to replace shallow-rooted plants with xeriscaping, or desert landscaping that uses little water.
The church, at 3809 E. Third St., also is installing clear, easy-access stations for recycling, particularly near the kitchen and coffee-hour area, and reducing the use of plastic liners for some trash cans.
The "green" tips that Taylor has given to parishioners include: Wash clothes in warm or cold water, turn down the water heater's temperature, buy organic, eat locally grown food, eat less meat and buy in bulk, which uses less packaging.
"Almost all of the world's major religions have long-standing teachings and traditions that shape the way humans should relate to the natural world, although these teachings have not always been emphasized by those in leadership," the Sierra Club report says.
"After centuries of lying dormant, religious perspectives on environmental stewardship are being revived and communicated with great fervor, bringing new energy and vision to the movement to protect the planet. This awakening is not an accident," it adds.

Now that is a community involved and making a difference. It is changing our world - all for the better.

Mrs. Green

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