“Stewardship” has usually been understood, especially in Protestant Christianity, as the responsible use of “time, talents, and treasures” on behalf of the mission of the church. Today, however, a more expansive understanding of stewardship is growing. For many congregations, stewardship now includes the wise use of material resources — water, energy, wood, chemicals used in lawn care and cleaning, and even coffee – in ways that serve the churches’ responsibility to care for the earth and promote social justice.
- Reduced their consumption of nonrenewable and polluting forms of energy by:
- Upgrading their insulation and heating, ventilation and cooling systems;
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents;
- Purchasing electricity from renewable sources, such as nonpolluting wind farms;
- Installing alternative energy sources, such as photovoltaic solar panels, on their own buildings.
Some have participated in programs to support congregations in reducing their energy consumption, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Congregations or one of a number of state Interfaith Power and Light projects.
- Reduced their consumption of paper and plastic by:
- Switching from disposable to washable cups, plates and utensils;
- Recycling office paper and other waste; and
- Buying recycled products.
- Made socially and environmentally responsible purchasing choices by:
- Buying fair trade and organically grown coffee;
- Using non-toxic cleaners, and
- Eliminating environmentally harmful lawn care products.
- Practiced good earthkeeping on their own church grounds by:
- Ecological landscaping that reduces the need for water and chemicals
- Providing habitat for God’s creatures; and
- Restoring prairies or other threatened ecosystems.
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• For religious agencies