Many United Methodist Church and United Methodist Women gatherings are part of a regular cycle of church activities. They are woven into the fabric of church and organizational life. Sometimes United Methodist Women are lovingly teased about the number of meetings they attend and sponsor. Often, planning for these activities has become very routinized. Does anyone stop to consider how the logistical arrangements can be an important part of living out our mission?
Have you ever considered how planning a meeting or other event provides you and/or your mission team with an excellent opportunity to put your faith and values into action? Probably not. Few do. Meetings seem so mundane. Yet, whether we are preparing for something as relatively simple as a local church supper or something more complex such as a jurisdictional quadrennial meeting, we can use the occasion to recognize the sacredness of Creation and address environmental problems in a very practical way.
Regardless of the size of the activity or its frequency (one-time, occasional or regularly scheduled), United Methodist Women have a Biblical, moral, and Church mandate to begin modeling greater environmental responsibility in planning events. Here is just a sample of serious environmental justice problems which we can either exacerbate or reduce through how we conduct our events:
* diminishing landfill space
* air and water pollution
* global warming
* natural resource depletion
* pervasiveness of breast and other forms of cancer
* toxic poisoning of neighborhoods where people of color and people with low incomes are concentrated
We can plan our gatherings to model wise stewardship of natural resources and minimize the negative environmental consequences of our actions. Beyond this, we also may be able to find ways to strengthen our relationship with God by using our gathering to address environmental injustices or by enabling a positive encounter with the created world.
Our purpose in producing this manual is to raise consciousness of the impact of what we do and to suggest ways in which we canmodel more socially and environmentally just practices in our everday life. We realize that scientific information and "best practices" are always evolving; this guide is a work-in-progress in which we all are participating. Please complete the evaluation form or the sample tracking progress memo in Part 4 and return it to the Office of Environmental Justice. With your feedback, we can improve future editions and gauge the collective impact readers are having as a result of using this resource.
How Do We Get Started?
Who's In Charge?
How Do We Get Commitment?
Useful Contacts and Links
Project Equality - Use it before choosing a meeting site!
NEW! Use Chlorine Free Products!
NEW! Participate in the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids!