Our vision is “We will love as Jesus loves, pursuing God’s peace at the river and at the table.” Our creation care has focused on the Elkhart River, where we baptize new members, but also includes a number of other actions and concerns. We remember that God created all things good, that creation is also marred, and that creation is renewing, and we are invited to be part of that renewal! We have reflected on our production and consumption of food, on our energy use, and on stormwater issues through making rain barrels.
The Green Group meets periodically to encourage creation care in the congregation and in our households, community, and world. The congregation is a 100 Shades of Green congregation as part of the Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN). We have earned their highest rating for engaging creation care issues. For more information contact Bruce Nofziger, who is also our liaison with MCCN.
For about 12 years the River Stewards meets 3 -4 Sundays per year to test the water of the Elkhart River near the church. They post the results of their water tests at Hoosier Riverwatch. Contact Doug Kaufman if you are interested in participating.
Every fall we host a River Clean-up, taking a section of the Elkhart River within the River Preserve County Park near Benton. In 2014 we met September 13 to clean from US 33 to just past the Benton Spillway on CR 31. We usually haul out many interesting items of trash.
We have bins for both reusable and regular battery disposal in our foyer.
We have paper recycling in our office and foyer.
We also are developing composting for our Sunday fellowship meals.
Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
ADEC, Goodwill, Omnisource and Staples all take household electronic waste. Microsource takes computer waste.
The first Saturday of the month is household hazardous waste dropoff at the county jail. They take:
- Floor care products, furniture polish, metal polish
- Nail polish and polish remover
- Antifreeze, brake fluid, gasoline, kerosene, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid, used motor oil
- Glue, mineral spirits, oil based paint, aerosol paints, paint thinner, paint stripper, rust remover, varnish, wood preservative
- Fungicide, insecticide, weed killer, rat/mouse poison
- Household cleaners, gun cleaning solvent, moth balls, lighter fluid, swimming pool chemicals
- Unused or expired medications (you may also drop off any sharps but they must be in a puncture proof container)
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s)
- Rechargeable batteries, lithium batteries, car batteries
The impetus for our creation care emphasis came about 14 years ago. As we were preparing to baptize two people in the Elkhart River, Dave Baer told one of our pastors, Doug Kaufman, that the Elkhart Environmental Health Department considers the water of the river to be too dirty for full body contact. Wondering what this means, Doug learned about E. coli contamination in the river, which is an indication of too much feces from poor septic systems and poor livestock management. He became trained with Hoosier Riverwatch, a volunteer water quality management system throughout Indiana, and leads our River Stewards group.