The Rapidian

Planting for the Future: Church of the Servant's Creation Care Initiative

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If you happen to drive by Church of the Servant in southeast Grand Rapids, you’ll see the start of a lovely living processional to the church's front entrance. The above picture is architect Jon Vandervelde's concept of how these cedars will look a few years from now.

The Red Cedars were planted on October 9th by members of the church as part of their Creation Care Team initiative. These lovely trees are the next step in a journey of conservation and stewardship that has been over five years in the making. In 2016, Church of the Servant launched the Creation Care grassroots initiative with a focus on making the church a greener place, providing educational programs for the congregation, and partnering with other creation care teams in Grand Rapids for advocacy work.

The team was started by just a few individuals who were passionate about stewardship of God’s creation. And what started as a small, no-budget program has now become an official part of the church’s facilities committee, and has helped launch numerous conservation and energy stewardship projects.

Through a partnership with Consumers Energy HOW Rewards Program, Church of the Servant was able to raise funds for native plants in the parking lot islands. Plaster Creek Stewards came alongside to help decide what should be planted. The end result? 5,000 native plants put in the church grounds by church members.

The last step for the parking lot was the "Processional Trees''. The Creation Care Team was asked to raise the money for the red cedars. Steve Mulder, the team’s director, sent out an email asking for donations and one parishioner stepped forward and covered the full cost. Now with the trees planted, the team looks forward to new opportunities to reduce the church’s carbon footprint and invest in Grand Rapids’s environmental health. Steve Mulder is thrilled to have the project nearing completion, and as he looks back on all that the Creation Care Team has accomplished in the last five year, he said, “The moral of the story for me is that we must jump in with faith and hope (and joy, if you can muster it) and the way may open.”

If your church or community group wants to start these types of conservation efforts on your organization’s property, reach out! Climate Witness Project can connect you with resources and community partners to reduce a building’s carbon footprint and make the property more environmentally friendly.

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