The third element of the UCCI mission statement is loving the earth. This practice seems to be a natural fit for an organization focused on outdoor ministry. Whether we are running a bunch of kids to exhaustion with a high energy game on our playing field, or participating in a quiet evening vesper around a campfire, or cutting through the waves on a sailboat, nature and the earth is integral to almost everything we do at Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach.
Over the last couple of years at both sites we have worked hard at improving our care of the earth. Along the shorelines of our lakes we have removed material that was not natural or friendly to the lakes and intentionally put things in place that promote lake health and aquatic creatures. We also work hard at reduce the fertilizer run off in the summer and the road salt use in the winter. We have established habitat for butterflies, bees, and even bats, trying to be good neighbors to those who work hard in their own way to improve our earth. We have taken steps to reduce our energy consumption and the amount of waste that we generate. Taken by themselves, none of these activities are massive, but when put together, they can begin to make a significant difference.
Of course there are always opportunities for further improvements. Here at Pilgrim Center it would be really great if we could implement an intentional tree planting program which would diversify our tree species, we continue to have too much hard surface rainwater entering the lake too quickly, and we would love to explore the idea of solar electricity for our roof tops. I am sure Moon Beach has a similar wish list.
It is important for us to acknowledge and celebrate all that the earth does and gives to us. It is also important to acknowledge the toll that our activities take on the earth, no matter what we do we are leaving a mark and it is not always a positive improvement. We are called by God to be faithful stewards of our earth. If we work together and strive for a richer relationship with the earth, the earth will return that love by providing for us.
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp