St. John the Baptist, Silver Spring

For seventeen years, a core group of parishioners at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, has promoted a wide-ranging eco-ministry initiative. Started by William Dinges, a professor of religion and culture at Catholic University of America, the eco-ministry group has brought individual and collective parish resources to caring for the earth as God’s creation. The effort is animated by recognition of the moral, ethical and spiritual dimensions of our environmental responsibility and by recognition that spiritual resources relevant to environmental concerns are contained with our faith tradition. St. John’s eco-ministry promotes learning about the environment, along with parish policies, programs and operating procedures that reflect a practical expression of care for God’s creation. This is done liturgically, catechetically, and by outreach to other Catholic parishes and to the larger community. Specific initiatives include:

• discussion groups on environmental issues (global warming, factory farming, environmental refugees, etc.)

• parish energy audit

• tree- planting initiatives with parish elementary school students

• composting demonstrations

• nature hikes and tours of championship trees in Montgomery county

• a “Blessing of the Animals” liturgy in conjunction with the feast of St. Francis

• tour of the Dickerson power plant in conjunction with an environmental study/prayer group

In addition to the above activities, St. John the Baptist eco-ministry is also an “Adopt-a-Highway” participant. Our group cleans a mile-and-one-half of New Hampshire Blvd. every three months.

 

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