Wildwood Mennonite Church is part of Mennonite Church Canada and a Green Patchwork Congregation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They were featured by the Canadian Mennonite for their community building around environmentalism (here) and their vision for creation care in everyday life. Below are a few of the events they facilitated this past year.
Lug a Mug Challenge
The Lug a Mug is an awareness challenge which began at the University of Toronto in 2009 and calls for participants to use reusable mugs when buying drinks instead of using disposable cups, straws, and lids. Wildwood Church adapted this challenge for members of the congregation who were interested in becoming mindful of their disposable product use. Each participant was given a ticket to tally how many times they “lugged their mug,” and at the end of the challenge, the church calculated the total CO2 emissions they averted. This was an easy way for Wildwood to become more mindful about their use of disposable products and see tangible results.
“Waste Not, Want Not” Challenge
Even though Black Friday is not officially recognized in Canada, Black Friday chaos has permeated Canada due to its tantalizing discounts and proximity to Christmas. “Buy Nothing Day” was founded in Vancouver in 1992 and is observed on Black Friday to combat over-consumption. Some members of Wildwood Church chose to observe Buy Nothing Day with a “Waste Not, Want Not” challenge. Participants chose to spend time examining the consumerism that bombards their daily lives and the effects of their lifestyles on the environment. Instead of participating in Black Friday, they focused on the gifts God had given them and how to steward them better. Choosing not to participate in Black Friday helped reorient their mindsets to thankfulness and joy in family, friends, and God’s creation.
An Environmental Lent Challenge
For the season of Lent, Wildwood Church invited their congregation to identify a sacrifice that would decrease plastic usage for three weeks. For Brenda MacDonald, the church’s MCCN creation care liaison, it meant not bringing any outside plastics into her house for a month. That month was especially challenging because “everyday items like vitamins and meats come in plastics,” she said. Others in the congregation committed to alternative sacrifices like only using cloth grocery bags. Giving up an everyday item like plastic which many take for granted helped congregants remember the sacrifices of Christ and encouraged people to practice stewardship for God’s creation in their everyday lives.