On Sunday November 14th, a group of riders braved the cold to learn more about what congregations in Lancaster City are doing to promote clean water and creation care. 

Our ride started out at Brightside Baptist Church. Mikhail, from the Common Wheel, gave a short talk about the importance of bike safety and the idea of a slow ride. And with that, our riders were off!

[Stop 1] Our first stop was at Grace Lutheran Church. Pastor Steve Verkouw gave riders a tour of the stormwater practices that have been installed on the property which helps to divert 111,800 gallons out of local sewers each year. Riders learned that the congregation earned a National Wildlife Federation designation as a certified wildlife habitat due to their removal of invasive species, planting of native plants, and maintaining a hive of bees on the office roof.

[Stop 2] Next, riders made there way over to the north side of town where Grandview Church welcomed our riders into their foyer to share about the work they are doing as a congregation to support climate justice. Here they learned about the electric school bus initiative as well as recent tree planting efforts!

[Stop 3] Our riders then rolled down to East Chestnut Mennonite Church where they were greeted with snacks and an information table right in front of the electric car charging stations in the parking lot. Our riders learned about the voluntary gas tax that members of this congregation contribute in order to fund climate projects. They learned about East Chestnut’s collaboration with the street trees program the City offers. 

[Stop 4] Next up, our riders visited Saint James Episcopal Church. Riders were able to learn about the innovative stormwater management system that was installed. This includes a side courtyard with permeable pavers and a fountain which provides the welcoming representation of The Urban Well, a contemplative ministry the congregation offers. Our riders were also able to visit with some of the large historic trees on the property and hear about upcoming plans for expansion and beautification.

[Stop 5] Just a few blocks down the road, riders made a brief stop at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to hear about the challenges that this congregation is having with excessive stormwater runoff. Having recently completed their Green Team Leader training, this congregation is beginning to take steps to address this concern. Riders also learned about Holy Trinity’s community garden project. 

[Stop 6] After a long day, riders then made their way back to Brightside Baptist, where a few members of the green team shared a little about Brightside’s upcoming projects! Among which are anticipated rain garden installation, education around straw-use, and the incorporating of their green team into an official ministry of the congregation.

It was an inspiring and educational day! Thank you to our friends The Common Wheel for facilitating the ride. A big thank you to our congregation hosts: Brightside Baptist Church, Grace Lutheran Church, Grandview Church, East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, Saint James Episcopal Church, and Trinity Lutheran Church. Also thank you to the folks on the Lancaster Task Force who developed the idea and assisted with the planning, preparation, and running of this event.

Finally, thank you Michael's Motor Cars and Deerin Companies for sponsoring this community event!

To learn more about this event, the mentioned projects, or Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake's programming, please reach out to IPC Regional Coordinator Katie Ruth for more information! [email protected].