Beyond the Flames: The Black Church Preparing for a New Era of Ministry

by Rev. Dr. Tyson-Lord Gray

Earlier this year Hulu released the original series Little Fires Everywhere. This drama follows the lives of two women, Elena Richardson played by Reese Witherspoon and Mia Warren played by Kerry Washington. Throughout the series, the women find themselves entangled in numerous challenges that culminate with Elena’s house being set on fire. When the fire department arrives, they note that they can tell the fire was set intentionally because there were “little fires everywhere”.

As an environmentalist, the timeliness of this comment could not have been more obvious. Even now, as I write this California is experiencing unprecedented due to increased global warming and climate change. Although numerous counties and communities are affected, studies have shown that poor air quality does not affect everyone equally. African American children and those living in unhealthy, high-poverty neighborhoods often disproportionately suffer from asthma,...

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Teach a Man to Plant

By Rebecca Shipman

Garnita James, a retired school counselor and teacher, says her sister was the first person to introduce environmental consciousness into her life. “Every time I was at her house and I would throw something away she would say “Uh-uh, that’s recyclable,” she recalls. Her sister pressed the fact that we are responsible for the earth our children and grandchildren will inherit. When her school started recycling, she knew she needed to make the change at home.

Later, after attending one of Dr. Ambrose Carroll’s Green The Church workshops, she brought the movement to her church, Ward Chapel AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri, where Reverend Kevin Jacques Sr. MSW, MA., LCSW is the Pastor. In addition to recycling, Mrs. James, an avid gardener, also introduced the idea of a community garden on the land behind the church.

After applying for and receiving part of the first Growing Green Solutions Seed Funding for St. Louis communities impacted...

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The Heart of God at New Creation Church

by Andrea Breaux ([email protected] )

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. [Proverbs 3:5-6]

New Creation Church, led by Pastor Lynne Herron, serves as a beacon of hope to the West Arden-Arcade district in Sacramento.

Recently, a study designated the West Arden-Arcade district as an environmentally vulnerable community, (Vulnerable populations are groups and communities at a higher risk for poor health as a result of the barriers they experience to social, economic, political and environmental resources, as well as limitations due to illness or disability.) Statistically, its African American residents have the highest rates of heart disease, COPD, diabetes, and hypertension. It is a food desert; there are too many solid waste pipes;; and it is one of the highest-traffic areas, with the worst air pollution.

Seeing the lack of opportunity and its...

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History made with the first USDA recognized urban farm in Richmond, VA

By Rebecca Shipman

Rev. Dr. Morris Henderson and his congregation made history with the first USDA- recognized urban farm in Richmond, VA. Dr. Henderson found environmental activism through his strong belief that everyone has a right to food and his commitment to getting food to those who need it. In Dr. Henderson’s words, while his main focus was food and agriculture, “you can’t have agriculture without a healthy environment”. This understanding led him to the environmental justice movement.

Now retired, Dr. Henderson served as minister of music and then as senior pastor of 31st Street Baptist Church, in Richmond, VA for over 20 years. Dr. Henderson started the program “Seeds for P.E.A.C.E. (Promoting Education, Arts, Culture, and Environment)”. The organization includes many different socially-oriented programs, most notably their community gardens.

In 2008, following Dr. Henderson’s appointment as the senior minister, and in the midst of...

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Planting 20 Million Trees to Reconcile Humanity and Nature

Planting 20 Million Trees to Reconcile Humanity and Nature 

By Chelsea Blackmon

Nana Yaw Osei-Darkwa—known as Nana—seeks to provide solutions to the challenges around him. In 2008, Nana began a peace-project that would advocate for non-violence in Ghana and other nearby countries, including Tanzania. Ten years later, satisfied with his progress for human-to-human peace, Nana shifted his goal of peace between humans to peace between humans and nature. He points to the book of Genesis, in which humans are given the responsibility to take care of the earth. His Green Republic Project seeks to restore the relationship between humans and nature. 

The Green Republic Project is youth-led, according to Nana. He believes that young people are “key agents” in the reconciliation process because they understand the “urgent need to purchase the future with the present”. High school and college students alike are involved with the project. Their goal...

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Aftermath of Hurricane Laura

By Chelsea Blackmon

Hurricane Laura, a Category 4, was the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana since 1856. The city of Lake Charles, LA is recovering from its worst storm yet. The maximum sustained winds were 150 MPH, just 5 MPH shy of a Category 5 hurricane. Water has flooded out entire neighborhoods. Over 300,000 residents are still without power and dependent on generators over a week after the storm hits. It’s estimated that some residents won’t have power for several weeks.

Pastors Rev. Dr. John R. Adolph of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Beaumont, TX, and Rev. Dr. Theron Jackson, of Morningstar Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA have taken it upon themselves to be involved in the relief efforts to get Lake Charles into a stable condition. 

Dr. Adolph is no stranger to hurricanes. Hurricane Laura is the seventh hurricane this Louisiana native has weathered. Hurricane Katrina was the first storm he’d ever dealt withhis church served as an...

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Central Baptist Church of St. Louis Grows It!

- Andrea Breaux, Healthy Healing Eats

The Earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.

On Earth Day 2011, Arthur and Nancy Culbert broke ground on The Central West End Farm. They were on a mission to eliminate hunger within the area by growing, harvesting, and delivering vegetables and fruits to clients at local food pantries. The founding of their farm planted the seed for the development of Central Baptist Church to grow a food garden that would meet people’s needs in the 19th Ward and beyond. A vacant lot three blocks from Central was purchased and plans ensued for its cultivation. This project would enable this deeply-rooted church with its nearly 175 years of service to continue to meet God’s burden by ministering to the nutritional needs of its community. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to...

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Baby Wingate: The City of Fort Lauderdale vs. Walter Hinton

(Mickey Hinton walks past a sign warning against contaminated soil in his neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale. Hinton claims toxic waste from a nearby incinerator site gave he and his wife chronic health issues and gave their daughters cancer. (Carline Jean / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Environmental justice is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” The term was coined in the 1980s. A decade later, the Wingate municipal incinerator in Broward County, FL was added to the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List. The site was eventually cleaned up, but the citizens in the community were still concerned about the aftermath. When the air quality was tested, it was deemed suitable for living standards. When there was an investigation...

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Green The Church Louisiana - Pastor Emily Carroll Talks About Her Fight for Environmental Justice

“Whenever you’re in a fight, it’s going to be difficult. Whenever you want justice, it’s going to be difficult.”
 
The glass ceilings that come along with fighting for environmental justice do not faze Rev. Emily Carroll. She serves as the Sr. Pastor of the St. James UMC in Shreveport, LA. She is also the Protestant Religious Education Coordinator at  Barksdale Air Force Base Chapel. In her role at Green The Church (GTC), Rev. Emily has been asked to speak at numerous rallies, workshops, and conferences over the past few years. 
 
Rev. Emily, lives in the countryside, not too far from Shreveport, LA. She notices the effect that fracking (a drilling process that extracts oil or natural gas from underground) has on the community, but recognizes how difficult it would be to address it. Though the fracking has a negative effect on the environment, it has created jobs for the people within the community. The ‘justice’ part of...

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Green The Church Florida: Rev. Tania Carroll Educates Communities of Color on Environmental Sustainability and Justice

Rev. Tania Carroll’s passion for environmental justice and sustainability come from every aspect of her life. After a 30 year career as a firefighter, Rev. Tania  has witnessed firsthand the effects that both man-made and natural disasters have on communities. As a woman of color, she has also noticed how certain communities tend to be underserved as they attempt to recover from these aforementioned disasters. A Florida native, Rev. Tania hopes that the people around her begin to take hurricane season seriously, considering all of the lasting effects of climate change and its impacts on vulnerable communities. 
 
Carroll has been a  facilitator in Green The Church for several years. Through Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, FL (a GTC-affiliated church), she strives to educate the surrounding communities of color on environmental sustainability and justice. Rev. Tania feels a spiritual calling  to not only be an educator but to...

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