In the dead of the bleak Chicago winter, I picked up a book from my local library branch called The Suicidal Planet: How to Prevent Global Climate Catastrophe.
The title grabbed my attention. At that point I wasn’t very conscious about environmental issues, particularly climate change. After reading this book, my life changed drastically! I was so stirred so that I began having trouble sleeping! I felt accountable to my new awareness and was convinced that it was time to take serious action. Since I was serving as an Associate Pastor at First Free Evangelical Church, the church was a natural setting to begin a group to study the issue in more depth and then come up with a game plan for future activities. We needed a book that spoke to the environmental concerns from a Christian, biblical perspective. I choose Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action.
We began meeting on Sunday nights. Our first meeting was on February 24, 2008 with a total audience of two people, me the leader, and one other individual, who subsequently dropped out of the class. In the coming weeks, individuals began to trickle into our group meetings. From the onset I decided that we would take turns leading the discussion in order to foster an egalitarian and communal educational process. In addition, there was consensus that our group would not be limited to simply book study, but that we could begin to dream about positive environmental change and began to shape a preferred future. So I asked each participant these three questions: What would like to accomplish personally, what would you like to see happen in the church, and what would you like to see happen in the community?
As a result of this envisioning, our meetings moved towards planning activities that promote positive changes for the environment and over time our little study group became our church’s new Green Team. One of our group members even instituted a First Free Green Living website in order to share environmental resources with the church and the community.