RGC Fall Meeting, 2011 Report

Racine Green Congregation Program

(www.racinegreencongregations.org )


Report of the fall meeting:       October 1, 2011: 8:30 to 10:15 at the Racine Eco Justice Center


Opening devotion: Pastor Tsuker Yang of Christ Methodist Church gave the opening devotion emphasizing our connectedness to creation and our responsibility as stewards to care for Earth.


Attendance: Over thirty people attended. We began with brief introductions giving our name and community.


Guests: Three people came from Kenosha to visit our meeting as they plan to begin a Green Congregation Program in Kenosha: Trudy Farrell and Linda Fifarek from the Bradford Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and Polly Waara from Saint Paul Lutheran Church. We stand ready to assist them in their efforts in what ways we can. Thanks for being with us!!


Racine Urban Gardening Network: Three representatives (Ben Lehner, Marvin Letven, and Nancy Gaskin) from RUGN came to show pictures of the community gardens on Villa Street and Marquette Street They offered assistance for churches in setting up a community garden. They indicated that now is the time to get started in the fall making preparations for the spring. Please contact them for more information and assistance. E-mail: Rugn.org@gmail.com, Website: http://www.rugn.org/ . Thank you for joining us!!


Reports of Congregations:

Hopes Center:

·         They worked with E3 Youth this summer on various projects, including the making of bags made from newspaper for use by shoppers and merchants.

·         They have a Fair Trade store with recycled products and products made in contexts where the work is Earth-friendly and the workers receive fair wages.

Trinity United Methodist Church:

·         They have a significant garden. The produce goes to the Food Pantry located at the church.

·         They brought in someone from the Red Cross to teach them how to prepare emergency kits for weather related crises. They are making this and other services available to elderly and sick members who might otherwise be isolated. They encourage other congregations to call the Red Cross and arrange this for your community.

Emmaus Lutheran Church:

·         Recently had an audit from WE Energies with many free services, free products, and incentives along with a list of actions to be taken.

·         They are participating in the Lutheran Energy Stewards Initiative with Lutherans Restoring Creation (www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org), a two year program for energy reduction.

·         They celebrated the Season of Creation for four Sundays in September.

Resurrection Lutheran Church:

·         They celebrated June as Transportation Month with many fascinating and creative activities designed to heighten awareness of the environmental cost of our transportation. See the section on Projects on our RGC website.

·         They are taking part of their extensive grounds and making it into a nature sanctuary. They recommended a book about native plants and attracting life to the site: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas Tallamy.

Mount Pleasant Lutheran Church

·         They established a memorial garden with a labyrinth.

·         In the spring they held an eco-fair after services in the Narthex that was well-received.

Atonement Lutheran Church, Muskego.

·         They have a garden the produce of which goes to the local food pantry and Hope and Aspiration.

·         They had a fair Trade Bazaar that was very successful.

·         In the summer, they had a pet blessing with blue grass music that was well attended.

·         They are in process of getting rain barrels and a rain garden.

First Presbyterian.

·         Have plans for some front lawn space that may become available to plant a perennial garden.

Saint Andrew Lutheran Church.

·         They have a huge garden, a small orchard, a rain garden, and rain barrels. They also host a north-side Farmers Market. This Sunday they celebrate Harvest Fest for their garden and to raise funds for the food bank.

·         They are in process of setting up a peace garden.

·         They are working on reducing lighting energy and have joined the Energy Stewards Initiative with Emmaus for Lutherans Restoring Creation.

·         They successfully completed the Youth Restoring Earth project. St. Andrew youth sold $1,100.00 in energy-saving products to members for use in their homes.

·         They are celebrating the four week Season of Creation in worship, honoring God the creator of forests, rivers, wilderness, and land. Special lessons, liturgies, and church decorations were a part of this program. For information go to www.letallcreationpraise.org and www.seasonofcreation.com.

Christ Methodist Church.

·         They are pleased to be part of the group and hope to develop some care for creation programs.

Saint Luke-s Episcopal Church:

·         They are new to the program and are eager to learn more and develop this emphasis in their congregation.

Holy Communion Lutheran Church.

·         The youth cleaned up the river bank near the church—500 pounds of garbage! The youth leader is very committed to making this concern part of the youth program.

Covenant Presbyterian Church.

·         They updated their boiler system.

·         Chuck Albee continues to learn about Aldo Leopold and recommends we think of soil and plants and animals as part of our community rather than a commodity to be exploited for economic gain. There is a new film on Aldo Leopold: “Green Fire.”

Racine Interfaith Coalition.

·         Expressed interest in being part of the program in order to help integrate Earth justice into their programs.


Main Educational Program:

The Eco-Justice Center: Vision and Action.”

Sister Janet Weyker gave a stirring account of their story—vision, acquisition of land, expansion, greening of the buildings and property, development of crops and animals raising. It was fascinating to hear all they have done in such a short time. We encourage everyone to come and visit the Eco-Justice Center and see a model of sustainable living. For more information on events, programs, activities, and resources, visit www.racinedominicans.org/eco-j.cfm. Thank you, Sister Janet!!


Announcements of Events:

·         Water a Sacred Gift Sustaining Life for all: An Interfaith Conversation. Speakers: Clare Butterfield, Faith in Place, and Peter McIntyre, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Plus an interfaith panel. Sunday evening, October 16 and Monday October 17 at the Siena Retreat Center, 5635 Erie Street, Racine. Visit www.wichurches.org under “List of Events” on the right hand panel for registration and schedule.

·         Environmental Justice. “Making Environmental Justice a Reality” speech by Kimberly Wright, Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, plus and interfaith panel. Sunday, December 11 from 2:00 to 4:30 at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, 4707 S. 13th Street, Milwaukee. Free and open to the public. RSVP by December 2 at interfaith.earth@yahoo.com.

·         Transitions Racine: “Urban Farming: A New Program at Kenosha Technical College” Monday, October 10, 6:30 PM at Racine Gateway, Racine Building, Room 113 (Michigan Room).


Next Meetings: (please put on calendars)

·         February 4, 2012 Saturday from 8:30 to 10:00, place and program TBA.

·         Racine Eco-Fair, Saturday March 31. This will be our spring meeting. We encourage all to come.


Closing Blessing: Dave Rhoads