According to this article in today’s New York Times churches in the northwest are starting “green” initiatives in order to reconnect with their communities.
State auditors told Millwood Community Presbyterian Church last summer to close its farmers’ market on the church parking lot or the lot could no longer be claimed as tax-exempt. Without hesitation, the church kept the market and paid the $700 in annual taxes.
While I am supportive of this kind of outreach to the community, the article has a certain depressing quality. Most of the churches involved in these green activities are declining mainline Protestant congregations who are using things like farmers’ markets to get people back into the pews. Rather than ringing doorbells to invite people to church, the members of these churches are ringing doorbells to inform neighbors about ways to conserve energy and lower their heating bills.
On the other hand, it would also be nice to see evangelical churches–especially some of these large megachurches–sponsor a local farmers’ market and be more conscious about environmental issues at the local level. Perhaps this is already happening and I am unaware of it. If it is, I would like to know more.