This weekend Jessie and I ventured to Yakima to discuss Greening Congregations. As I had never visited Washington before moving to Seattle two months ago, this was my first time crossing the Cascades. Although I understand the theory behind rainshadows, I was amazed to see the clouds and rain fade away as we crossed the pass and entered a beautiful, sunny day in Yakima Valley.
Jessie and I had a great discussion with members of Wesley United Methodist's Green Team as well as interested members of other congregations. Everyone shared inspiring stories. A Master Gardener spoke about how less than 1% of insects are harmful to gardens. The rest are either neutral or beneficial, so it is better not to use pesticides. A couple shared about how they designed their home to take advantage of the sunlight. Another woman explained how she focuses on changing one behavior at a time. Once that behavior became a habit, she moved on to another behavior, but if she had tried to adopt several changes at once, she would have failed.
Hearing about the work of each congregation was even more exciting than the individual efforts. Working our way through the green fields, we discussed worship, education, individual stewardship, buildings and grounds, and community outreach. One person told about the joy when her church held a Blessing of the Animals. Wesley members shared about the recycling center that the church runs for Yakima and how they are advocating for county recycling. Additionally, Wesley maintains an organic garden and shares its produce with members. At Wesley and over the past two months, I've been astounded by the efforts of Earth Ministry's Greening Congregations.
To learn more about our Greening Congregations and how to get your church involved, visit our website.As Jessie and I made our way back to the pass, we drove past orchards full of apples and towering walls of basalt. Gradually, the trees transitioned from golden yellow to deep evergreen and rain began to beat against the windshield. I found it difficult to believe that such different ecosystems are so close together.