It’s National Kansas Day on March 15, and Root & Vine is celebrating some of the ways Kansas church communities are caring for creation. These churches recognize the responsibility humans have to steward God’s creation and are taking that mission seriously in creative and intentional ways.
Faith with Feet Every Fifth – Crossroads Church KC
Environmental justice has legs at the Crossroads Church of Kansas City! The church spends fifth Sundays serving in the community as their act of worship. They have focused on creation care with crews cleaning up trash in neighborhood parks and streets and tending community gardens that supply food to neighbors in need. The church has taken their role of being good stewards of all creation seriously, with individuals each calculating their carbon footprint and making changes to their lifestyles to reduce their footprint. The church installed solar panels a few years ago and built a garden near their main entrance, which is fully watered by rain from the church roof and surrounding sidewalks.
Bethany House and Garden – Episcopal Diocese of Kansas
One of the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is Bethany House and Garden in Topeka, Kansas. Bethany House and Garden is centrally located in Kansas and provides creation care experiences from across the state. This location offers garden space for prayer and meditation, spiritual direction, pastoral care, and outdoor worship, including weekly meditations and Bible studies. The location is also preparing to break ground on gardens designed in collaboration with the community, including culinary gardens and a prairie garden of native grasses.
Care of Creation Task Force – Episcopal Diocese of Kansas
The Care of Creation Task Force of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is divided into four different mini task forces that collectively seek to “restore sustainable living, native plants, ancient Anglican connectedness to nature, and moral leadership to the public sphere.”
The diocese encourages each minster and ideally each parish to form a Green Team. Green Teams conduct energy audits for their congregations and address aging HVAC systems in the diocese, among other local activities. The Land Use mini task force has created an electronic booklet, Restoring Our Roots in Creation: Pilgrimages You Can Take in Kansas. The Spiritual Practices mini task force develops resources out of the rich tradition of creation care in the Anglican heritage, and finally, the fourth mini task force, Community Advocacy, encourages the diocese, parishes, and people to reach out to their leaders in the community to advocate for climate and earth restoration practices as well as climate justice. Additional information and resources from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas are available here.
Creation Justice Team – Great Plains United Methodists
Together with other laity and clergy from Nebraska, the Creation Justice Team of the Great Plains United Methodists work collectively to provide resources to congregations, encourage actions to care for God’s creation, and advocate for policies which support the thriving of humans and the planet. Their website offers several ways churches can get involved in the Creation Justice Team, including becoming an Earthkeeper with the United Methodist Global Ministries and downloading resources for the local church.
Creation Care Covenant – Bethel College Mennonite Church
For 20 years, the Bethel College Mennonite Church has operated under their congregationally approved Creation Care Covenant, which affirms the importance of healing and defending creation to their mission. They do so through their worship, learning and teaching, lifestyle changes, and community involvement locally, nationally, and globally. The church co-sponsors the Sand Creek Community Garden as one of its endeavors. The Creation Care Committee at BCMC has a valuable database of past stewardship notes and videos that can inform the way others can see their role in caring for creation.
Care for Creation – Mount St. Scholastica Benedictine Sisters
As part of their overall mission, Mount St. Scholastica strives to continue to seek ways to be better caretakers of the earth. Their most recent focus has been to evaluate ways to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. The sisters installed several sets of solar panels as an alternate energy source. The community also practices organic gardening and beekeeping.
Environmental Action Network – Village Church Presbyterian USA
Village Church has been certified for 12 consecutive years as an Earth Care Congregation, a program sponsored by PC(USA)’s Department of Environmental Ministries. The Environmental Action Network at Village Church oversees ongoing recycling efforts and environmental education opportunities through Sunday school and church displays. Its mission is to be a bold witness by advocating environmental justice for all creation. Through their efforts, the church has created a monarch waystation, installed solar panels at the Child and Family Development Center, and developed resources for Lent, Earth Day, and beyond. They also have included a list of various sermons and messages that have referenced Earth care at Village Church.
Kansas Disciples of Christ Green Chalice Ministry
The Green Chalice Ministry of the Disciples of Christ in Kansas empowers offices and assemblies to live out their faith by caring for creation. To become a Green Chalice Congregation, communities need to form a Green Team, sign the Green Chalice Covenant, and make three changes that will move their congregation toward better care for God’s creation. Learn more about the Green Chalice Program initiative.