by Brenda Lloyd
Another side to stewardship is environmental stewardship: taking care of what our Creator gave us.
I know that we at Epiphany are already pretty good at that. We recycle, reuse, install energy-efficient appliances and low-flow toilets; we’re careful about how much water we use. I imagine many of us support organizations that encourage this or support the preservation of species.
My own appreciation of the beauty of our planet probably comes from living on a farm for a while as a child, as well as from camping vacations when I was young and as an adult. I remember being able to see constellations and the Milky Way in the night sky on that Tennessee farm, and one of my most memorable experiences is lying in a canoe in Canada one night watching the millions of stars while my friend steered us. Now it’s difficult to see even a few stars because of light pollution, especially in cities.
We have had an environmental group at Epiphany since about 2004, which started under the auspices of the stewardship committee, then later became its own entity as the Earth Guild. I led the group for most of those years. We had hiking events, neighborhood cleanups, participated in a river cleanup (the South River), and gleaned apples in north Georgia one year that went to Emmaus House and the Society of St. Andrew’s Georgia Gleaning Network. We’ve had electronics and fabric recycling events and recycle batteries and corks every day of the year. Our Earth Day celebrations (or Green Sunday) attracted some excellent speakers, including Dr. Bill Brown from the Columbia Theological Seminary.
Because I have led the group for several years, I decided to resign late last year. I want to see the Earth Guild revived with new leadership that will attract more people and present new ideas on where to take Epiphany’s commitment to care for the environment. I will be glad to help in the revival.
Other ways I’m involved at Epiphany is singing in the adult choir and Hildegard Ensemble, and I have been on the Vestry for nearly three years now. I have always enjoyed our retreats (choir retreats, too) out in the woods of Camp Mikell. One of my most memorable experiences there was when Barbara Ryder led an Evensong service under the night sky in the field of the lower retreat area, using a lovely service from the New Zealand Prayer Book.
I see God in all of nature. As we support our church with our monetary gifts, let’s all be good stewards of creation.
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven
(From Night Prayer of the New Zealand Prayer Book)