University Presbyterian Church has been certified as an “Earth Care Congregation” by PC(USA)’s Presbyterian Hunger Program through February 2020. Started in 2010, the Earth Care program inspires congregations to care for God’s earth in a holistic way by integrating earth care into all aspects of church life.
Churches must be re-certified as Earth Care Congregations at the beginning of each year based on new earth care actions in worship, education, outreach, and facilities. UPC’s Earth Care Team hopes the congregation will be inspired to become good stewards of creation through our ministry and life together.
Earth Care Pledge
PC(USA) Earth Care Pledge (affirmed by UPC Session 2/14/19)
Peace and justice is God’s plan for all creation. The earth and all creation are God’s. God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family. As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.
- Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth.
- In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice, and community.
- Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.
- Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation, and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.
For more information, visit www.pcusa.org/earthcarecongregations
Attention current (and future) UPC Composters!
***Please email JohnWilsonProductions@gmail.com to be added to the UPC compost list.***
UPC’s CompostNow carts may be used ONLY for UPC functions, or by UPC members, UPC staff and UPPS (preschool) staff/teachers for our home compost.
Please do NOT encourage non-UPC friends, family, neighbors, etc. to use UPC’s carts, or collect compost from others to bring to UPC’s CompostNow carts.
Please let non-UPC folks know that they can sign up with CompostNow for home pickup service (first 2 wks free) at https://compostnow.org/offer/upc/ or take their compost to one of Orange County’s organic waste drop-off sites (Eubanks Rd., Walnut Grove Church Rd., Carrboro Farmers Market).
Two posters listing what is commercially compostable in UPC’s CompostNow carts:
If you have more questions about whether something is commercially compostable, email email@example.com. Below are examples of what CompostNow has told us:
- “paper cups lined with wax (rather than plastic) are compostable and can be included in your CompostNow bin”
- “most fast food cups are lined with plastic and are therefore not compostable.”
- “The paper bags fast food comes in are compostable, as well as paper materials like burger wrappers and paper fry bags!”
- “frozen food boxes are not compostable because the majority of them contain a thin line of plastic on the inside to keep things secure”
- “Both paper grocery bags and newspaper are compostable, but should be recycled if possible. If they are soiled with food/liquids and are not able to be recycled, they can be composted!”
- (re: shredded paper): “As long as the paper is plain computer paper and is not glossy/coated, it is fine to include in your carts!”
Watch the video from the Jan. 12 UPC Earth Care Sunday School class: Karin Mills & Linda Bourne, aka “Trashy Women”: “Composting, Recycling & Caring for Creation”
Read Why is better waste management and composting important to your faith organization? by Karin Mills & Linda Bourne
Like the “Trashy Women” on Facebook to receive their informative, inspirational and often hilarious posts!: facebook.com/KarinAndLindaGoGreen
Visit “Compost At Home” provided by Orange County Solid Waste Management
Composting at Second Sunday Lunch!
A 2017 study revealed that 78% of Orange County’s “trash” sent to the landfill was not trash at all. Almost 50% was compostable!
At Second Sunday Lunches, we’ve been throwing all of our plates, cups, napkins, utensils and food waste into trash cans destined for the dumpster and landfill. In September, we generated three enormous bags of trash totaling 82 pounds.
At the October 13 Second Sunday Lunch, UPC’s Earth Care Team collected 56 pounds of compostable plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and food waste, leaving only two pounds of lunch trash for the dumpster and landfill! Compare this to the 82 pounds of trash we sent to the landfill from September’s Second Sunday Lunch, when we did not compost! What a difference!
***and remember: Please email JohnWilsonProductions@gmail.com to be added to the UPC compost list.***
Lenten Calendar & Devotional
CALENDAR: Tread Lightly for Lent: Daily reflection-action calendar 2020
The Presbyterian Hunger Program strives to walk with people in moving towards sustainable choices that restore and protect all of God’s children and creation. As people of faith, we seek to “serve and preserve” God’s world. However, some of our collective choices have led to a changing global climate, which translates to warmer temperatures, rising sea-levels, and severe storms, just to name a few. To turn this tide, we must commit to treading lightly on God’s Earth. In Lent, we slow down, take time, and examine our internal spiritual lives and the way we live out our Christian faith in the world around us. Our hope is that this Lenten calendar will be the beginning of actions intended to create more mindful behaviors throughout the year.
Download 2020 Lenten Calendar HERE
DEVOTIONAL: Presbyterians for Earth Care: 2020 Lenten Devotional
Whatever your Lenten practice is this year, the writers of these devotions join you in praying that in 2020 we may become channels of God’s peace for the earth and its inhabitants.
Download 2020 Lenten Devotional HERE
Climate Care Challenge
PC(USA) Climate Care Challenge
As people of faith, we believe that God created this world, called it good and told humans to care for it. We are blessed to have this sacred task. We have the knowledge, skills and resources to reduce our energy consumption and switch to alternative energy sources that are less harmful to the environment. Prompt action and leadership can keep global climate change from causing its worst impacts. PC(USA)’s Climate Care Challenge is a two-part commitment that first asks participants to make a personal step to help decrease the impacts of climate change, then asks for an outward step that engages the participant’s community.
Take the PC(USA) Climate Care Challenge at pcusa.org/ClimateCareChallenge
Sunday School series
“Living into our Earth Care Pledge”
from January 12 – February 23 Vance Barron Hall, 9:45-10:45am
As part of UPC’s certification as an “Earth Care Congregation” in 2019, our session affirmed PC(USA)’s Earth Care Pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into our ministry, mission and operations. Among other things, we pledged that:
“In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted.”
“Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people…. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.”
This class will explore how we as individuals and a congregation can live into our pledge.
Sunday, January 12
The Trashy Women: Composting, Recycling and Caring for Creation: Karin Mills & Linda Bourne
Owners of the Spotted Dog restaurant in Carrboro from 1998 to 2016, Karin Mills and Linda Bourne have been in the trenches advocating sustainable practices for two decades. As members of Binkley Baptist Church’s Earth Ministries Green Team, they implemented a triple-stream collection system and waste diversion plan in 2018 to recycle and compost everything possible. Since then, they have inspired and advised countless others to join them in caring for creation. “It may seem a lost cause at times, as we’re surrounded by so many destructive and poor environmental practices,” say Karin and Linda. “But we prefer to think positively. There are many ways to contribute to improving our world. We work from the ground up, teaching one person, group or organization at a time.” Visit the Trashy Women on Facebook at facebook.com/karinandlindagogreen/
Sunday, January 19
Faithful Response to the Climate and Environmental Crises: Sarah Ogletree, N.C. Interfaith Power & Light
A program of the North Carolina Council of Churches, N.C. Interfaith Power & Light (NCIPL) is the only statewide organization addressing the ecological and justice issues of climate change as a faith-based initiative. Sarah Ogletree of NCIPL will discuss the response of faith communities to the climate and environmental crises. NCIPL’s programs promote a variety of solutions to mitigate climate change, including energy efficiency and conservation, increased renewable energy use, and collective low-carbon lifestyle changes. NCIPL programs foster awareness of the moral dimensions of climate change and environmental justice issues from a faith perspective. For more information, visit www.ncipl.org
Sunday, January 26
Environmental and Climate Justice for the Poor and Marginalized: William Barber III, The Climate Reality Project
William J. Barber III is co-chair of the Ecological Justice committee of the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign and the strategic partnerships associate at The Climate Reality Project. A graduate of N.C. Central and UNC-CH law school, he is a member of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board. He has worked with the UNC Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics; Clean Water for NC; Clean Energy Works; and the N.C. NAACP. He is especially interested in renewable energy initiatives for communities of modest income and communities of color. See climaterealityproject.org and poorpeoplescampaign.org
Sunday, February 2
PC(USA)’s Endorsement of Carbon Pricing: Bill Bray, PC(USA) Elder and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Member
Bill Bray is a Presbyterian elder who, after 33 years with Exxon, led the successful recent effort to have the PC(USA) General Assembly endorse “Carbon Fee and Dividend,” a climate policy solution PC(USA) described as “a just and effective way to avert the worst of climate chaos, rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transition to a clean energy future.” Bill founded and leads the Presbyterian Action Team of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization that advocates for bipartisan climate change solutions in the U.S. Congress, including the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). See energyinnovationact.org and votervoice.net/PCUSA/home
Sunday, February 9
Standing Up for Land and Water Conservation: Jay Leutze, author of Stand Up That Mountain
Raised in Chapel Hill and trained as an attorney, Jay Leutze is a leading voice for state and federal conservation funding for investment in public lands. His book “Stand Up that Mountain” is the compelling, true story of a North Carolina outdoorsman who teams up with his Appalachian neighbors to save a treasured landscape from being destroyed. It won multiple awards, including The Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center, and was named the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Nonfiction Book of the Year. Jay is a trustee for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and a national spokesman for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. See appalachiantrail.org/myatstory/standing-tall and lwcfcoalition.com
Sunday, February 16
North Carolina Climate Stories: John Wilson
Documentary filmmaker John Wilson will screen and discuss selected short videos from his current project, the North Carolina Climate Stories series, produced in association with the UNC Institute for the Environment. John has written, directed and produced multiple documentaries for N.C. Public Television, including the Emmy Award-winning Dr. Frank: The Life and Times of Frank Porter Graham and Emmy-nominated Senator No: Jesse Helms. He is vice-chairman of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund board of trustees, appointed by Governor Roy Cooper, and previously served on the boards of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, N.C. Botanical Garden Foundation and Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, as well as the President’s Council of the Southern Environmental Law Center. See climatestoriesnc.org/documentaries/
Sunday, February 23
PC(USA) Climate Care Challenge: The UPC Earth Care Team
As people of faith, we believe that God created this world, called it good and told humans to care for it. We are blessed to have this sacred task. We have the knowledge, skills and resources to reduce our energy consumption and switch to alternative energy sources that are less harmful to the environment. Prompt action and leadership can keep global climate change from causing its worst impacts. PC(USA)’s Climate Care Challenge is a two-part commitment that first asks participants to make a personal step to help decrease the impacts of climate change, then asks for an outward step that engages the participant’s community. See pcusa.org/climatecarechallenge and upcch.org/stewardship/earth-care
Coffee Mugs for Coffee on the Landing
Help us minimize our footprint by bringing your mug to church. We welcome donations of surplus clean mugs (traditional or travel) to leave at the coffee machine so that we can share with those who forget. After enjoying your warm beverage, take your mug home, wash it, and bring it back for a refill of coffee and fellowship the following week. Thank you for helping the church live out our Earth Care promise!
Earth Day Climate Strike – Wed., April 22, 2020
Sign up for the Youth Climate Strike Coalition’s Earth Day Climate Strike on Wed., April 22, 2020 at https://strikewithus.org
NC Interfaith Power & Light
NCIPL’s Advocacy Tookit: https://ncipl.org/advocacy-toolkit/
Join NCIPL’s Youth Leaders Initiative: https://ncipl.org/youth-leaders-initiative/
Participate in NCIPL’s Faith Climate Action Week: https://www.faithclimateactionweek.org
Your voice matters.
Write an op-ed or letter to the editor on the importance of environmental protection, creation care, and climate action. Use Scripture.
Call your senators and other elected officials. Hold your leaders accountable to this moral work. Vote with all of God’s creation in mind. Join us in lobbying at the NC General Assembly this May as a part of our annual Advocacy Day.
Sign on (either as a household or congregation) to Interfaith Power & Light’s “We’re Still In Paris” campaign: https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/were-still-in-paris/
Purchase Carbon Offsets:
Your financial support helps us empower NC youth in the work of climate justice, perform energy audits across the state, produce materials to aid faith communities in their sustainability work, perform lobbying visits in Raleigh and D.C. (largely regarding renewable energy), travel to congregations state-wide to preach and present, and so much more! Please consider donating as a congregation or individual. Thank you!
William J. Barber III
William invited us to join him and his father, Rev. William Barber, Jr., at the “National Call for Moral Revival: Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington” on Saturday, June 20, 2020. www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june2020/overview/
RSVP here: www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june2020/
Bill Bray – Citizens’ Climate Lobby Presbyterians Action Team
PC(USA) action alert encouraging Presbyterians to “Take Action Now and tell your member of Congress to Support H.R. 763: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.” votervoice.net/PCUSA/Campaigns/68918/Respond
Join Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL): CitizensClimateLobby.org
Join CCL’s Presbyterians Action Team: Presbyterians Action Team – Group Home – CCL Community
CCL opportunity to write your members of Congress if you didn’t have a chance Sunday: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/write-congress-now/#/14/
To join CCL’s dialing campaign for Senators Tillis and Burr, email Prakash Bhave at firstname.lastname@example.org
CCL’s Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill chapter meets the 2nd Saturday of each month from noon to 2 pm at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Rd., Durham.
Jay Leutze – Standing Up For Land and Water Conservation
Read Jay Leutze’s wonderful, award-winning book, “Stand Up That Mountain,” the compelling, true story of a North Carolina outdoorsman who teams up with his Appalachian neighbors to save a treasured landscape from being destroyed. https://www.flyleafbooks.com/book/9781451682649
Read this statement from The Nature Conservancy in response to President Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget that, among other drastic cuts, proposes cutting funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 97%: President’s Budget Makes Deep Cuts in Conservation Funding
Call Senator Tillis and ask him to co-sponsor Senate bill 1081, the bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
(You can also call David Price and Richard Burr to thank each for supporting the LWCF.)
Below are several links for taking action and getting involved on a federal, state and local level:
Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition’s “Take Action” page: https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/blog/contactyourreps
LWCF Funded Projects in North Carolina: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58a60299ff7c508c3c05f2e1/t/5e38316e9d383458f730efd4/1580740975098/North+Carolina+fact+sheet+1.27.20.pdf
Land for Tomorrow coalition’s “Take Action” page: (for state of North Carolina conservation funding): http://www.land4tomorrow.org/act/
JOIN YOUR LOCAL LAND TRUST!
Triangle Land Conservancy: https://www.triangleland.org
Eno River Association: http://www.enoriver.org
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (Jay’s land trust, based in Asheville): https://appalachian.org
Find your local land trust: https://www.findalandtrust.org/states/northcarolina37/land_trusts
John Wilson – North Carolina Climate Stories
Watch and share the North Carolina Climate Stories videos produced so far (approx. 3 min. each): ClimateStoriesNC.org/documentaries/
Watch these 6 minutes of video excerpts from a 2010 sermon titled “The Moral Math of Climate Change” by writer, Middlebury College professor, and 350.org founder Bill McKibben at Hancock United Church of Christ in Lexington, Massachusetts.
- The edited excerpts are here: https://vimeo.com/291399557/29c3772e5b
- More about Bill McKibben is here: http://www.middlebury.edu/newsroom/experts/node/25001
Read these two, recent articles about combatting climate change:
I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle. Stop obsessing over your environmental “sins.” Fight the oil and gas industry instead.
How to Stop Freaking Out and Tackle Climate Change: Here’s a five-step plan to deal with the stress and become part of the solution.
PC(USA) Climate Care Challenge
Tell Congress to Support H.R. 763: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) applauds this bipartisan effort to care for a suffering creation and supports passage of this bill. We recognize carbon pricing is not the only solution to climate change. However, it is a start to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by placing the burden of the cost of climate pollution on the large companies responsible. Failing to lower carbon emissions will lead to sea-level rise, more natural disasters, less reliable agricultural production, and a greater burden of disease.Environmental stewardship is an essential tenant of Christianity. Psalm 24:1 tells us that “the Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” God’s creation is precious, and humans have been tasked to be faithful stewards of the Earth. As Presbyterians, we are extremely concerned about the climate crisis and the effects that it will have on all areas of our society. Given our shrinking window for action, we need to advocate for bold and effective national climate policies.
Click here to tell your member of Congress to Support H.R. 763: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
Tell Your Representative to Cosponsor the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019!
The House of Representatives is expected to introduce the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019. This bill seeks to transition the U.S. to a 100% clean energy economy by 2050 through collaboration between the administration and all federal agencies. Passage of this bill will put the U.S. on track to achieving net-zero carbon pollution across the U.S. economy by 2050. The bill will also create clean energy jobs and transition the country to cleaner sources of energy.
As people of faith, environmental stewardship is an essential tenant of our beliefs. Psalm 24:1 tells us that “the Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” God’s creation is precious, and humans have been tasked to be faithful stewards of the Earth. As Presbyterians, we are extremely concerned about the climate crisis and the effects that it will have on all areas of our society.
Click here to call your Representative today!
“In the heavens, the Holy One has set a tent for the sun,
which…like a strong man runs its course with joy.” Psalm 19:4-5
“As the realities of climate change present an ever-increasing urgency to our need to act faithfully in our energy consumption, many Presbyterians are exploring ways to support, purchase, and share renewable energy resources as an alternative to fossil fuel energy. From Presbyterian congregations drawing interest from the passers-by that notice solar panels on their rooftops, to a Presbyterian teen purchasing solar panels to charge his electric lawnmower (part of his carbon-neutral lawn-care service), the time is ripe to explore the options of solar energy as part of our Christian discipleship.” PC(USA) Presbyterian Mission Agency
Check out these exciting solar projects at nearby churches and synagogues!
Resources for congregations considering solar: