Shield of the Episcopal Church of the United States Environmental Stewardship Commission
(MEESC)
Shield of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Resolution


The following is offered for your information and comment.  On this and similar pages the Environmental Stewardship Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota intends to offer thoughts and ideas on how any congregation or individual with a congregation can implement portions of the Resolution.

From "A Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds, and Church-Related Activities"
passed at the 143rd Annual Convention (October 27-29, 2000)

"THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the staff and membership of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota engage in building actions and cultural activities with prayerful considerations about the impact these actions will have on our Earth home.  Ways we will live into this approach are intentional  planning and execution of all church-related activities so as to maximize use of public transportation, alternative transportation (such as walking and biking), and car-pooling."

Thoughts on how to implement this concept
by the Rev Helen Hanten

Adherance to the resolution requires that the staff and membership of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota engage in building actions and cultural activities with prayerful consideration about the impact these actions will have on our Earth home.  One way we live into this approach is intentional planning and execution of all church-related activities so as to maximize use of public transportation, alternative transportation (such as walking and biking) and carpooling;

Sunday services are only part of the problem, but Sunday service times often put pressure on existing parking lots leading to discussion about the need to expand and to resurface space around the church. Too often parking lots are surfaced, with  runoff of rain and melting snow flowing into the street or neighboring yards, with the lots  essentially unused except for a few hours a week.   Congregations in those situations would do well to consider planning to reduce the number of cars arriving on Sundays at church time by mapping the area of congregants homes and attempting to organizing carpooling. The twofold benefits are the energy saved in transportation and better use of space near the church.

Energy saved in transportation could be maximized by scheduling events at the church in a way that lessens the number of trips each week for the members.  The more the members tend to live in a wide area and drive long distances to events at the church, the more would be saved by carefully scheduling the extra events.  Some congregations make use of Sunday worship service time to include some events before,  after or between services.  Adult educational forums, choir practice, meetings of committees and work on projects have all been included in some places.  Church school is typically worked in or concurrect with the worship service.  An additional possibility is a designated evening such as Wednesday, which in many places is "church night".  All of the mid-week events could be scheduled either late afternoon, over dinner time with food included, or early evening.  If the education committee meets once a month, let it be the first Wednesday with or without supper first.  The men's group, women's group, contemporary music group, Bishop's Committee or vestry and whoever else wants to be on the schedule.  The church library and computer lab can be staffed during those times.  Nursery care provided.  Start a discussion group!

Outings and excursions provide other opportunities for carpooling and enable some who couldn't participate otherwise to be part of the group going together. Certainly regional board meetings or diocesan conventions out of town are a place to begin.   One congregation in Duluth plans outings to nearby state parks with intentional planning for inclusion of older members.  Another has aonce a month lunch at a reataurant, a different one each month, for those who are 70, plus or minus 25, years old, and everyone is provided transportation who needs it.  Why not appoint someone in your congregation the Minister of Transportation.!!!    Helen B. Hanten.  April, 2001 

Copyright statement


The Rev Helen Hanten is a retired deacon and an active member of St. Andrew's by the Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN. She originally wrote this implementation essay in 2001.  Helen and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to The Rev Helen Hanten or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
 
MEESC
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.


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