Care for Creation
Church of the Holy Spirit, nestled among trees, offers the opportunity to feel the calming beauty of nature. The congregation cherishes seeing the various green hues of the trees behind the altar, walking the nature trail in our woods below the church, and meditating in our labyrinth on the shady north lawn.
But much as we treasure how our setting adds to our spiritual experience, we also think of the environment through the lens of social justice. The Church of the Holy Spirit takes seriously the admonition to help the marginalized, and caring for the environment is essential in helping the marginalized. Our common vision is shaped by both the natural beauty of our physical environment and our responsibility to make the natural environment a healthy place for fellow humans and other living creatures.
Recent Care for Creation Activities
The Church Vestry has taken the national church’s “Creation Care Pledge” which focuses on creation care from three perspectives:
(a) to share stories of love and concern for the Earth and link with others who care about protecting the sacred web of life;
(b) to stand with those most vulnerable to the harmful effect of environmental degradation and climate change; and
(c) to change our habits and choices in order to live more simply, humbly, and gently on the earth.
As a church community we have:
- Helped reduce waste on Vashon by collecting food scraps to be turned into compost.
- Provided the initial space for creating Zero Waste Vashon and hosted a community workshop put on by Zero Waste Vashon.
- Supported and contributed a page to the Whole Vashon Catalog, a publication devoted the community awareness and action regarding climate change.
- Sponsored a presentation for a packed community talk on sustainable building by parishioner, Rob Misel, and his architect colleagues at Miller Hull, a firm nationally recognized for its innovations in designing energy neutral and environmentally friendly buildings.
- Sponsored a talk by church member and immigration lawyer, Bob Gibbs, addressing immigration policies affecting immigrants, including climate change migrants.
- Regularly devoted an hour each month at The Gathering to discuss environmental issues including topics such as climate change, environmental degradation, sustainable agriculture, and environmental political action.
Care for Creation During COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted the community programs we sponsored prior to the lockdown. Nevertheless, we keep our previous goals of education and action in mind. We are now in the process of planting more native trees and shrubs on the church grounds so that parishioners and neighbors who walk the trail or the labyrinth, or who sit in a pew on a quiet weekday afternoon may experience the presence of God in creation.