Eco-justice ministries in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) grew out of the 1977 General Assembly resolution that called for the development of a Task Force on Ecology. This group, comprised of 18 persons, six of whom represented denominational staff, was active for a number of years and authored the Alverna Covenant. Eventually, as the lifetime of that group ran its course, its responsibilities were moved to the general unit of the denomination that works most directly with congregations, Disciples Home Missions.
From 2000 – 2010, as a DHM employee, Angela Hermann, built on the foundation laid by the Task Force on Ecology through her work as the coordinator of environmental education and advocacy. “Return to the Garden,” a community garden initiative, grew out of a project from her Master’s Degree program in 2005. Under Angela’s leadership, the DOC Coffee Project was started and the 2009 General Assembly was more sustainable and included a Green Learning Track. She authored or co-authored resolutions in 2001, 2007 and 2009 and wrote extensively for Disciples’ publications on caring for creation. In 2010, along with John Davidson and Church Extension, Angela created a Green Church program, now known as the Green Chalice Certification Program.
In the summer of 2007, by the invitation of the Kentucky regional minister, Greg Alexander, a group of concerned Kentucky Disciples came together to discuss how to better care for God’s creation. For over three years, under the leadership of Rev. Carol Devine, Green Chalice KY hosted green retreats, provided educational workshops, and supplied resources to churches. Congregations in Kentucky started community gardens, recycling programs, rain gardens, composting, using real dinnerware, eating local foods, praying for and celebrating creation in worship, planting trees and more. Churches lowered their carbon footprints by having energy audits, caulking old windows and installing new ones, and installing geothermal systems and programmable thermostats.
This Kentucky ministry captured the attention of Disciples Home Missions President, the Rev. Dr. Ron Degges. As a result, DHM and Christian Church in Kentucky formed a new partnership in May 2011. Green Chalice became the official ministry for the Disciples’’ stewardship of creation through DHM.
In January 2015, Green Chalice became a founding partner of Blessed Tomorrow, a coalition of diverse faith leaders committed to creating a path to a positive future for our families, communities and the world in order to raise awareness and respond to the climate crisis. Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri was hired as Associate Minister for Green Chalice because of the growing demands for time and expertise.
In response to racial tension and the subsequent spotlight on racial inequalities in the United States in 2013 – 2015, Green Chalice co-authored an Environmental Racism resolution with Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Team for the 2015 General Assembly in Columbus, OH.
At the 2017 General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN, a resolution on Carbon Neutrality was passed. The Green Chalice Covenant was formed. Sign the Covenant Here. Also through our collaboration with Blessed Tomorrow we were able to offer a toolkit for congregations.
Green Chalice has collaborated with Christmount, Blessed Tomorrow and the Creation Care Alliance to offer Eco-Justice camps for youth and adults. These experiences, whether virtual or in person have supported congregations as they find the global and local intersections across food and faith, climate change, spirituality, racism, pollution and poverty.
As part of the church’s response to climate change Green Chalice has partnered with Blessed Tomorrow to offer a Climate Ambassador Training program and will continue to offer ways for congregations to faithfully address our changing climate.
Green Chalice has prioritized Carbon Neutrality while still working toward creation care goals. Along with a growing number of Green Chalice and Certified Green Chalice Congregations within our network, we have added Blue Chalice congregations as well as congregations that have become carbon neutral.
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Watch the Caring for Community & Creation video now! Read more >