canoers picking up trash, including a bicycle

This river clean up crew found a bicycle in the Elkhart River. 

Mennonite Creation Care Network is calling for churches across the continent to apply tender loving care to their local rivers during the summer of 2018. It could be a trash harvest by canoe. It could be a creek walk or a clean up along a riverbank trail or under bridges. Or maybe one of the ideas below suits you better. Whatever gifts you bring to our need for clean water, we’d love to have your congregation join us.

Sign up your congregation

Going Out on the River: What to Know

Before you step into a canoe, please read the What to Know .pdf covering the areas below. Also see American Rivers. This site is a wealth of information, including a handbook for first time organizers.

  1. Why this is worth doing
  2. Your river
  3. Your participants
  4. Your trash
  5. Your safety rules
  6. What to wear and bring
  7. How you’re getting home
  8. Neighborhood Etiquette

What to Know .pdf

Many Gifts, One Spirit:
Ways to Care for Your River

This list is based on the article, Ten Types of People Who Care About Creation which was published in The Mennonite in 2017.

The Watershed DiscipleWatershed Disciples are regionally rooted and understand local social and ecological systems.

Invite a speaker from a water quality organization

Learn what a watershed is. Create a map that shows the addresses of your group in relation to nearby rivers.

Find someone who lives upriver and downriver from you.

Learn how to test water quality.

Tour your wastewater treatment plant.

Read about water quality issues in your own community and get behind a local cause.

Witnesses have direct personal experience with painful environmental losses—or astonishing natural beauty.

Tell your story about the plight of a local river in a public venue.

Write a letter to the editor about what you have witnessed regarding your local river and what you propose.

Invite a speaker to your church who knows about the challenges your local rivers face.

Connect your community to water issues in another part of the world.

Watch what your church is doing and share it with other congregations via MCCN.

Naturalists love being with creation and sharing it with others.

Dip for macroinvertebrates

Plan a hike along a river

Have a river photo contest

Learn the names of plants, birds and other species that live near your river.

Simple Living Householders care for the earth by running environmentally friendly households.

Teach young children one new water saving technique.

Take antibiotic soap out of your church’s or household’s waste stream.

Take toxic household waste to a toxic waste disposal day.

Get your septic system pumped.

Install low flow showerheads and faucets.

Building Geeks know how to fix things.

Repair leaks, install low flow shower heads

Pump your septic system and encourage others to maintain their systems as well.

The GardenerGardeners love working with the earth to grow beauty and food.

Design a rain garden to capture storm water at your church or home.

Install a rain barrel to help you water your garden.

Pray for farmers who have no water.

Foodies know the ethical issues related to food and shape their diets accordingly.

Make a wholesome lunch for the hungry river clean up crew.

Learn more about the rules for eating fish from your river and why there are limits, if there are.

Theologians link the present with the story of Jesus and the broader biblical tradition.

Lead a Bible study on rivers or water in the Bible.

Lead a prayer time focused on rivers.

Help your church and others understand the faith-based rationale for cleaning up rivers.

Share a resource you created with MCCN.

The ActivistActivists understand environmental issues, the laws affecting them and the ways to bring change.

Write to a political leader about a water issue affecting your region.

Learn more about the Clean Water Act

Read local news every day for a month, looking for information about water issues. Keep track of what you learn.

Professionals bring skills from their jobs to the work of the church–and vice versa.

Scale up one of the above actions by including your workplace.

Implement a farming practice that will reduce soil erosion or fertilizer run off.

Find a way to use your job experience to improve the health of your local river.

 Sign up your congregation

trash found in river

We hope the babies did not go down with the baby seats found in this river clean up.

 River Clean Up Photo Contest 

Submit photos to mccn@goshen.edu by September 1, 2018

MCCN will award a cash prize of $100 and up to five runner-up awards in each category. Send no more than three photos per group. Email should include name of your church, name of the city and state, name of the waterway and names of people present in the photo. Submission indicates that MCCN has permission to publish the photo on its website and/or Facebook page.

  1. Weird Waste: What’s the wackiest thing you found in the river? Photograph it with as many members of your group as possible.
  2. Triple Crown: Submit three photos of people at your congregation serving your local waterways. Each photo should illustrate a different gift.