Shared practices are one way MCCN encourages connection between network members. Focusing on a common theme or project can give scattered groups the sense of being part of something larger. Our 2023 shared practice is: find a way to support a just transition to renewable energy.
- Install solar panels on a property you own. See MCCN’s solar how-to booklet for churches.
- Support MCCN’s solar grants: We offer a grant for supporting churches going solar, but we cannot assist all of the qualified applicants. We’d also like to have a parallel grant for Canadian churches. Make sure you label your donation “De Young Net Zero Energy Fund.” Donations
- Educate yourselves: Talk to your utility to find out what energy sources power your community. What percentage of each? Can they tell you what areas of the country supply them? Then learn more about the environmental consequences in that area during a Christian education class.
- Paying for damages: Individuals or churches participating in voluntary gas tax groups “tax” themselves on all purchases at the pump as a way of remembering that their driving has consequences. They pool their tax money and give it away as an act of justice rather than charity.
- Solar advocacy: Learn about the solar policies of your utility company, city and state. How can consumers in your area advocate for policies that support renewable energy?
- Walk with a community affected by mining of fossil fuels or minerals used in renewable energy. One place to start is the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery’s network of Repair Congregations.
- Community solar options: Check if any form of group solar is available in your area. Some communities jointly own a field of panels. If it isn’t, how can you make it happen in your town?
- Help others go solar: Spread the word, share your story, share technical expertise, share resources you found helpful.
Past Shared Practices
It’s never too late to act on a good idea!
Discussion and action regarding the land that you inhabit.
- Action Idea
Intercessory Prayer for the Climate
Join people all around the globe in praying for the wisdom and the political will to reduce carbon emissions. This push is in preparation for COP26, scheduled for November 1 to 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. Here are two different ways to pray. Both offer a wealth of resources.
- Climate Intercessors organizes online periods of prayer across time zones. Sessions include tips on how to pray for COP26 and specific issues around the world, as well as a chance to share your own concerns.
- Pray and Fast for the Climate calls for prayer and fasting on the first of every month. Bring together members of your congregation and commit to regular, fervent prayer!
Address the Barriers that Keep you from Biking
You may have good intentions to use pedal power whenever you can or to replace carbon-sucking hobbies with things like biking. But it’s easy to backslide. What can you do to get back in the saddle? For some people, this may involve learning to repair a bike; others may need to find the best way to transport groceries or other objects on their bikes. Still others may need to advocate for bike lanes or other features in their city.
- Bike Maintenance
This resource outlines suggestions on how to do basic repairs and ways to protect your bike from damage.
- Blessing of the Bicycles Service Guide
Sustainable Eastern Ontario has written an outline for a Blessing of the Bicycles service. This outdoor option is great for this summer and fall when worshipping inside may not be an option.
- Ten Steps to Build a Successful Biking Program for Your Company
Adapt these tips on incentives and building a biking culture for your congregation.
- Cycling Advocacy Organizations
Many cities do not have adequate bike infrastructure and some people do not have access to bikes. This resource lists a number of organizations mostly in the U.S. that are advocating and working to make cycling more accessible.
- Smart Cycling Tips
The League of American Bicyclists has created a resource on safety tips about clothing, how your bike should feel and how to deal with certain situations on the road.
Plant and care for trees.
For this shared practice, we are following the lead of Mennonite Men’s Join Trees to Restore the Earth. They say:
“This campaign targets climate change—an existential threat to life on our planet. By increasing tree and forest cover with this JoinTrees campaign, our goals are to help: (1) mitigate global warming, (2) serve climate justice, and (3) sustain biodiversity.
“Our vision is a healthy, thriving planet where God’s abundant life of shalom is enjoyed by all from generation to generation.”
- Mennonite Men
- JoinTrees campaign to plant one million trees Explains the biblical and ecological rationale.
- JoinTrees flyer to share
- Plant for the Planet app: Install this app on your phone to record your tree-planting.
- Questions? Email SteveT@MennoniteMen.org
Learn about the connections between militarism and environmental devastation.
- Christian Ethics and Ecologies of Violence by Luke Beck Kreider
In this academic article, Luke Beck Kreider examines the links between environmental devastation and violence–and the unintended rift between those working on peace and conflict and those working on environmental issues.
- Mennonites Against Militarism
An initiative spearheaded the Peace and Justice Support Network, but involving representatives from across the Mennonite Church.
- No Warming, No War: How Militarism Fuels the Climate Crisis
A report from the Institute for Policy Studies.
Try plant-based recipes
(July to December 2020)
In 2020, MennoMedia released a new plant-based cookbook: Sustainable Kitchen: Recipes and Inspiration for Plant-based, Planet-conscious Meals. The book promotes a philosophy of eating shaped by both health concerns and concern for the environment. Authors Heather Wolfe and Jaynie McCloskey are members of Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, a congregation active in MCCN. They spoke during an MCCN online cookbook club during this time. Here are two ways to meet Heather:
Pray for Oak Flat and people who love it.
(July to December 2020 )
Oak Flat is a site east of Phoenix that is sacred to the Apache and other Native American tribes–as well as a beautiful oasis in the desert for all. Currently, U.S. Forest Service land, Oak Flat has been promised to a copper mining company.
This is an invitation to bring the messy problem of our dependence on metals, what happens when we mine them and Indigenous People’s land rights into our prayer lives. Network member Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson, Ariz., has embraced one such situation in their region. Resources
Start an accountability group
(January to June 2020)
It’s one thing to think you’d like to plant trees or become politically active on environmental issues. It’s another to commit to regularly tell a group of friends how it’s going. Start a support group for people who want to take action on behalf of the planet or incorporate a “caring for the earth” check-in during an existing small group. It works best if participants start wherever they are and choose their own goals. (January to June 2020)
Hold a potluck of sustainable foods
(July to December 2019)
Many churches regularly eat together. But do we use this time to inspire healthy food choices for both our bodies and the planet? Invite people to a themed potluck. The theme could be vegetarian or backyard grown or low sugar. Participants could share their recipes or facts about where the food comes from. (July to December 2019)
Hold an intergenerational conversation on climate change
(January to June 2019)
The younger people might be a high school youth group or a young adult Christian education class. They might be fringe young adults who attended church as children, whose parents attend the congregation hosting the event or who live in the community and are looking for meaningful conversation. The older people might be anyone from 35 to 95. Here’s a lesson plan to draw from: Climate Change Dialog Sessions 1-2. (January to June 2019)