Creation Care at Annual Conference and Summer Tips

posted on June 01

Are you attending Annual Conference this month? If so, we invite you to stop by our table display that will be located outside – between Harrell Center and Stuart Auditorium. We will have artwork on display of the top three winners in each category for our “Caring for God’s Creation” themed art contest, along with a solar-powered phone charging station and numerous native plant seedlings that are available “free to a good home.” 
Additionally, we will have information about some upcoming events and programs, including an Eco-Focused Mission Journey Weekend Preview we are hosting at Lake Junaluska September 22-24 for interested Youth, Campus Ministry, and Adult Ministry leaders who want to learn more about this new type of mission journey planned for 2024. And be on the lookout for our pop-up event which will feature a hymn-sing of some oldies but goodies related to celebrating God’s beautiful creation! Along with enjoying the singing, you can learn more about two creation care-related resolutions that we are presenting, as well as obtain general information about the conference Creation Care Ministry program itself. We hope to see you there!
Summertime is a great time to “party hearty.” We can choose ways to have a heart for the earth when we plan our summertime events. Here are a few tips to help with that:
Weddings, graduation celebrations, holidays, get togethers—all are important, and all can produce lots of waste. The average American wedding typically dumps 400–600 pounds of trash into landfills. Choose alternatives to trashing: Collect and compost food scraps and compostable plates and utensils. Avoid paper and plastic, substituting glass or ceramic dishes, serving platters, and silverware, which can be washed and reused.
A marriage is supposed to be sustainable, so start with a sustainable wedding dress. Shop for vintage, second hand, and rental gowns here and at Goodwill or another local thrift shop, which may also have a wedding dress sale event. When the big day is over, you can donate your gown to make a special day for someone else. 
Go local and seasonal with the flowers. Home or locally grown seasonal bouquets mean fewer transport emissions and less likelihood of poor treatment of the farm workers—a justice issue. Once the event is over, deliver the flowers to a hospital, nursing home, or to some people you love or who need a lift. Compost any flowers that have withered.

 Make a statement with party favors that give back. Look for something plantable, like herbs, succulents, seed packets. Or display a sign that you’ve made a donation in your guests’ honor, such as planting trees or saving a favorite endangered wildlife creature, perhaps one that fits the theme of the day. Invite additional contributions and send an electronic notice with the amount raised and a thank you for caring for God’s creation.
Nix the balloons. They are not biodegradable, and they consequently harm birds and marine life. Also, helium is a nonrenewable gas needed in welding, rocket propulsion, and even scuba diving. Wasting helium in the momentary fun of balloons jeopardizes the other uses. Instead, add sparkle and fun to the event with tissue-paper pom poms, garlands from upcycled materials from home, fabric bunting, streamers made from recycled paper, or bubbles. 
Turn out the lights for the sake of fireflies. Fireflies flash to attract mates. However, with so much artificial light at night, they can’t see each other. If they can’t mate, they can’t make more fireflies. Let God’s “nightlights” shine.  
Conserve water (save the planet too). Time watering for early morning or later evening to avoid quick evaporation. Use a broom rather than a hose to clean up outside. Wash the car from a bucket, not from a running hose. Reuse rainwater and household gray water for outdoor plants. Set up a rain barrel.  
Enjoy the great outdoors this summer—see and hear God at work! Look up to the sky. Is it blue? Full of clouds? Birds flying? What do you hear? Look out at eye-level. Perhaps you see flowers, colors, a bunny. Look closely at the ground. Be patient. Life is teeming there. Lift your eyes again to the sky. Pray your praise and gratitude for God’s gifts of ecosystems, habitats, and beauty.
Stop throwing away trees at every meal. Instead use cloth napkins and simply throw them in the wash with another load. Patterned napkins will hide stains and lengthen the usable life of the napkins. Find some distinctive napkin rings to mark each person’s and reuse the napkins a day or two before washing. If you visit garage sales, you can likely rescue napkins and rings from being trashed. 
Use one space only between sentences. Back in the day, the rule was two spaces. But those extra spaces are really trees lost. With an average of more than 5,000 extra spaces per book, a years’ worth of publications adds up to more than a quarter of a billion extra pages (and 26,000 trees!) Trees are life for the planet. Type for their lives.
*The UM Creation Justice Movement ( provides these tips as a tool to equip church members, individuals, and families to respond to God’s call to care for creation and do justice with our neighbors.
Kim Richmond
Convener, 2020-2024 for the
WNCC Creation Care Ministry