Our Disciples of Christ Community

Indiana Disciples Equip Congregations for Creation Care

By Marie F. Fleming, flemingmf@comcast.net 

Two years ago a small group of Indiana Disciples came together to equip Hoosier congregations for creation care. We named ourselves Indiana Green Chalice, after the denomination’s Green Chalice creation care ministry, and developed a half-day event to- provide fellowship, inspiration, and practical help for individuals and congregations wishing to know more.

The pilot Green Chalice Café was held in October, 2015, in Indianapolis. It featured a Bible presentation by H-IPL’s Trisha Tull, short workshops on various pathways to congregational creation care, and community time around locally sourced or fair-trade snacks. Representatives from ten congregations attended, including a contingent of ten folk from the host congregation, Central Christian Church.Disciples Recycling Bins

The event proved to be a turning point for Central, as they immediately decided, “Let’s do this!” They have since become a Green Chalice congregation—promising to engage in specific Earth-honoring changes to congregational life. Over 100 signatures were garnered for the Green Chalice application, signifying the congregation’s deep commitment.

The intervening year has seen a wealth of enthusiastic and creative activity. They have established recycling stations in the church. A rotating display in the community hall highlights various topics related to creation care. A Rogation Sunday observation in the spring included a special children’s sermon and coloring book created by the worship pastor. On Earth Sunday, 2016, the creation-centered liturgy led to a post-worship Earth Fair in nearby fellowship space featuring displays and presentations by a dozen or so members. One family sold a chicken coop to raise money for missions. Another set up a display on bees and honey. A neighboring pastor brought his solar display. Locally produced refreshments were served.

Disciples_Green Pitch-InIn another development, the leader of Central’s Baptism class for older elementary children created her own Creation Care curriculum to use with the kids. This fall, A Harvest Festival will again draw the congregation into community and celebration of God’s bountiful provision. The possibilities seem endless as the congregation embraces its identity as an Earth-loving community.
Today, the Indiana Green Chalice ministry team is still small but our aim is clear: To equip Hoosier Disciples for Creation Care by connecting them to resources and to one another. A recent regional Disciples gathering in Indianapolis brought over 30 people to IGC workshops, indicating a strong interest in starting and strengthening congregational creation care ministries.

Another Green Chalice Café will take place on November 19 from 9:00 to noon at Central Christian Church in Indianapolis. All are welcome to attend. (For more information and to register, please use the email below.) In addition, we would be glad to talk with others who would like to organize on the judicatory level. We are available to provide presentations and workshops on a variety of topics, including how to organize a creation care ministry, how to incorporate creation care in congregational worship, various pathways to congregational creation care, gardening basics, introduction to Permaculture, and resource consulting to help congregations find the resources they need to address specific challenges and opportunities.

Contact Indiana Green Chalice at jbbgrnch15@gmail.com.

Marie F. Fleming is a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor certified in Permaculture Design and Teaching, and is co-founder of Indiana Green Chalice.