Responses to climate change are growing in many MWC member congregations.
Here are a few examples.
In Ethiopia, congregations of Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) are taking part in the national government’s Green Legacy Challenge to plant 5 billion trees during 2020’s rainy season. “Planting trees, we believe, is part of our stewardship of the environment,” declares the newsletter of Meserete Kristos Church.
MKC head office staff and Misraek local church planted 2 000 trees in 2019. They hope to plant another 3 000 this year.
For example, Mehal Asella and Arbaminch MKC congregations have planted fruit trees within their church compounds. Members tend the trees which are intended to provide food while also improving the soil.
MKC hopes to mobilize young people in their congregations not only to plant on church grounds but to work with stakeholders of public lands to plant trees there as well.
In Toro village, or Ngata Toro in Central Sulawesi, Mennonite Diakonia Service (MDS) spearheaded the re-greening of the slope of Kulawi mountain to mitigate the risk of landslides during rainy season. Together with a local church, they also build the capacity of the local tribe to protect their forest and live from the land sustainably.
The village now mandates five saplings be planted for every tree cut down to build a house. Permaculture education is ongoing: encouraging the use of organic fertilizer and companion planting of rice, livestock and fish farming.
“These are our efforts to ensure the community can live sustainably from the land and mitigate the risk of climate change,” says MDS chair Rev. Paulus Hartono.
In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship installed solar panels on the roof of their church to provide electricity. The congregation which has no paid staff was able to raise the $40,000 cost of installing the panels, augmented by a grant from the local power authority.
Peter Sawatzky spearheaded the project for his congregation because, as a follower of Jesus, “it’s the right thing to do.” The solar panels are largely taking care of the church’s energy needs, he says. “It is part of a larger strategy to be living more sustainably, including composting, gardening, and battery recycling batteries.”
This year, the congregation’s project is planting trees.
A Mennonite World Conference release