Reformed Church Awards First Green Congregation Grants

The Christian Reformed Church announced on Tuesday the winner of its first annual U.S. Green Congregation Grant.

Covenant CRC of Sioux Center, Iowa, was announced the winner for its proposed curriculum of a 4-day Creation Care Day Camp that focuses on composting, deciduous trees and insect life cycles, and organic gardening.

As the winner, the Iowa church will receive a $500 prize for demonstrating "effective and replicable 'greening' through education, lifestyle, and theological initiatives."

Dozens of churches submitted green project ideas to CRC, which judged the proposals based on its replicability, environmental impact, potential for congregational and community transformation, and creativity.

"Some of our churches have already been making changes to their facilities, worship, and lifestyles in order to care for God's creation," says Kate Kooyman, Congregational Justice Mobilizer for the CRC's Office of Social Justice and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, according to Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.

"We want those congregations to share their experiences and resources as well as encourage others to get involved in combating very real threats to the creation that God calls us as Christians to keep," she says.

Grant evaluators ended up adding two second prize U.S. grants of $200 each when they found additional worthy efforts. Seymour CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Third CRC in Lynden, Wash., won the second place grants.

Seymour CRC will use the fund towards an ecumenical partnership with Alger Heights CRC and Tabernacle Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., to grow an inner-city garden Club. Meanwhile, Third CRC will expand its organic community garden, Five Loaves Farm, which includes a greenhouse and raised plant beds made from reclaimed cedar planks.

Kooyman says the grant project is aimed toward allowing CRC churches to share their ideas on how to be better stewards of the earth with one another.

"Cultural, political action, and change happen slowly," says a Covenant CRC member, according to CRWRC. "It takes time to educate ourselves so we can speak knowledgeably with governing bodies and others about the environmental issues that concern us."

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