The Lighting the Way Kick-Off Party last Sunday, February 23, 2020 was a special time of fellowship through Creation Care with Saint Paul’s UMC Youth Group, New Life UMC Youth Group, and FAMU Wesley College Group.
Our Saint Paul’s UMC Creation Care team has secured a $10,000 grant from UMCOR and United Methodist Earthkeepers to integrate our communities and bring us closer together through God’s creation. The year long project will bring FAMU Wesley and New Life UMC, and SPUMC Youth Group students together for nature outings like hikes, paddling trips, and lake clean ups; provide funds to upgrade the outdoor lighting at both facilities; create “turn off the lights” reminder cards; and more.
When attendees arrived at the Kick Off Party, they received name tags that corresponded with their table theme based on locations around the world including places like the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon to mix up the groups. Then we played Four Corners with an eco-twist, we prayed together, and then enjoyed a big dinner of BBQ chicken sliders, mac & cheese, chips, fruit, and a big chocolate cake and peanut butter cookies that was all prepared by our wonderful Saint Paul’s Creation Care team.
During the meal, I gave a 15 minute presentation on Creation Care including this Young Voices for the Planet Video to share the issues our planet faces as well as what kids can do to help: https://www.youngvoicesfortheplanet.com/youth-climate-videos/green-ambassadors/. I then explained the Carbon Fast for Lent and invited the group to sign up for the reminders at https://climatecaretakers.org/lenten-carbon-fast.
Then we heard from Dara Miles aka Miss Science about her love of nature and her hiking group, Outdoor Afro. She encouraged everyone to download the iNaturalist app to be able to identify plants and animals around us.
Next, our Creation Care team shared about reducing plastic pollution and taught the group how to make a no-sew reusable, upcycled t-shirt bag to take home. The group cut and tied the t-shirts as the Creation Care team helped out at each table. As a way to remember this special time together, we also gave everyone a gift of an air plant in a seashell that had decorated their tables.
Finally, we came together in a circle and sang the Rooted closing song “Sanctuary,” and said our benediction. Many smiles and words of thanks were shared and we were grateful for the new friends that we made and look forward to coming back together for our group hike next Sunday!