A neglected, polluted creek that runs through Grand Rapids, Mich., is getting some help from local Christian Reformed churches.
The Stewards of Plaster Creek—which include Alger Park CRC, Madison Square CRC, Roosevelt Park CRC, Woodlawn CRC, and the CRC Office of Social Justice, among others—held a workshop during the summer to further church involvement in improving Plaster Creek.
All the participating churches are situated in the creek’s watershed, as are the CRC’s U.S. denominational building and Calvin College.
“We’re hoping that this is going to spread,” said Dave Warners, a biology professor at Calvin College. “So far the churches involved have found a lot of eager people in their congregations.”
The workshop was a follow-up to one held last year. Participants heard reports on what some of the churches have done. Roosevelt Park, Alger Park, and Woodlawn each held one or more creek clean-up days, sometimes including the community and local schools.
Participants also heard about the state of the creek: it is polluted with fertilizer, invasive species, and trash, and its banks are eroding in places.
“I happen to be someone who thinks that an important part of my church’s witness is its care for the earth,” said Rev. Michael Abma of Woodlawn CRC. “From the Reformed perspective, Christianity is about the redeeming of humanity but also the redeeming of all creation.”
Andrea Lubberts’ passion for getting her church, Roosevelt Park CRC, involved with environmental issues was met when she joined the Stewards of Plaster Creek. She said, “When God puts your passion together with an opportunity to serve him, how can you say no? It’s just too sweet.” Lubberts, her husband, Mark, and their three young children have been hiking sections of the creek to become more familiar with it.
For more on the Stewards of Plaster Creek, see http://www.calvin.edu/admin/provost/pcw/pcstewards/.
For more on what the Christian Reformed Church says about creation care, see http://crcna.org/pages/osj_creationcare.cfm.