It Worked for Us
Cara Fleischer wanted to make a change to protect her kids and community and impact generations to come.
After reading about the Paris Climate Agreement, a multi-nation action plan adopted in December 2015 to limit global warming, she wondered how her church could help preserve the earth. She prayed. She read The Book of Discipline to learn the United Methodist stance on taking care of the earth. "It's God's creation and we need to take care of it," she learned.
In January 2016, God led her to start Creation Care ministry at Saint Paul's United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida.
Fleischer received a $1,000 grant from the county and quickly formed a creation care group. They began to prepare garden beds and planted a winter garden of kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, broccoli, beets and strawberries.
The Rev. Kandace Brooks, senior pastor of Saint Paul's, created mosaic concrete blocks for the garden, which is located in the middle of the church campus.
A special worship service celebrating Earth Day in April included blessing the garden. After the service, people of all ages planted bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and plenty of fresh herbs. Families and Sunday School classes watered and weeded the garden throughout the growing season.
A food bank received the over flow of vegetables, Fleischer said. The church used the remaining vegetables in dishes for their end of the season potluck lunch.
A compost bin outside the church building allows recycling coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps. "The soil becomes so rich and fertile," said Fleischer. Blue bins placed all over the church building encourage members and visitors to recycle glass, metal and plastic.
"I love what Cara is doing in our Creation Care ministry at Saint Paul's. She is so incredibly passionate about her advocacy work, and has done a wonderful job in helping our congregation not only see creation care as a justice issue, but has educated them on how they can be involved daily," said Brooks.
"It Worked for Us" is written by Christine Kumar, a freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference.