The Christian Reformed Church awarded its second annual Green Grants to a church in Michigan and another in British Columbia.
In the U.S., First CRC of Grand Haven, Mich., needed to repair or replace a very inefficient boiler system. With no church funds available for the nearly $20,000 project, the church began an aggressive program called Metal Recycle Ministry.
Volunteers pick up all types of metal throughout the community and deliver it to a recycling plant. By October 2009, the church had recycled approximately 172,655 pounds (78,315 kilograms) of metal that otherwise would have gone into a landfill and raised $14,000 for the boiler repair.
“Almost every week volunteers receive a comment similar to, ‘Your church is doing this? Churches don’t usually do this type of work to benefit the community!’” said one church member. “Never underestimate the impact of doing good in your community.”
In Canada, First CRC of Vancouver, British Columbia, received the award for their “Garden of Eatin’”—a community garden devoted to neighborhood outreach and sustainable gardening practices.
The produce is used to host an annual community feast, and gardeners are also given the opportunity to donate their produce to a local soup kitchen.
The church also holds adult education classes on Christian stewardship, serves fair-trade coffee, has a church-wide recycling program, and has installed a bike rack.
To win the $500 award, churches must demonstrate “effective and replicable ‘greening’ through education, lifestyle, and theological initiatives.”
“Some of our churches have already been making changes to their facilities, worship, and lifestyles in order to care for God’s creation,” said Kate Kooyman, Congregational Justice Mobilizer for the CRC’s Office of Social Justice and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. “We want those congregations to share their experiences and resources as well as encourage others to get involved in combating very real threats to the creation that God calls us as Christians to keep.”
Links to creation-care materials for individuals and congregations can be accessed at www.crcjustice.org. Churches can apply for the 2010 Green Grants from Aug. 1, 2010, to Nov. 1, 2010. An online application form is available at www.crcna.org/pages/osj_greengrantapp.cfm.