Nature & Faith Intersect (Jessica Malpica)
Intersections of Nature & Faith at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
The Caring for God’s Creation team at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church has been busy the past few years putting in a composting system; changing out the use of Styrofoam to compostable cups; creating a learning garden; and expanding recycling collection. In April to help celebrate Earth Day we partnered with BioIntegrity to collect funds for the Rainforest Trust to help establish the Balanga Forest Reserve in the Congo. Along with this, during our Faith Formation hour we had learning stations set up to talk about rainforest animals, water, local Texas plants, and the importance of decomposers and compost!
Listed below are a few reflections of our Caring for God’s Creation Team members saying how these Earth Day activities and their faith intersect!
Margaret Weber: “I love sharing my love of nature with children. I feel very lucky to teach them something new that connects them with nature. I had 2 activities for our Shepherd of the Hills Earth Day: The children went outdoors to do a Nature Hunt, which helped them develop their observation and identification skills of things in the natural world; and the other activity was planting seeds. They scooped the soil into the biodegradable pots, made the hole and planted the seed. I feel the children (and their families) got to connect with God's Creation, and hopefully the seeds were planted in more ways than one!”
Claudia Arredondo: “On Earth Day Sunday I helped Margaret with the scavenger hunt and the planting of seeds. Margaret did a great job of organizing our station by giving so much meaning to the activities involved. We came in the day before to set up our station and she asked me to go out to the garden and look for the items that were part of the scavenger hunt. Before actively seeking out the items on the list, I knew there were trees with leaves out there but she asked for different leaves with different textures. This made me more aware of the beautiful type of plants out in the garden. A nest, deer tracks, and a snail were also part of the list. This made me more aware of life out in the garden. It filled me with joy to know that the children would be having the same experience the following day. When we did the planting of the seeds with families, I noticed that parents found great importance in the children being the ones who scooped the soil and planted the seeds. They seemed amazed to see their little ones have the ability to bring the seeds to life. This made me realize that no matter how small we are or feel, we can all contribute to caring for God's creations.”
Dee Jackson: “What struck me as truly hopeful in the quest of being faithful stewards of God's Creation was how well versed our elementary and middle-school students were regarding water issues. The children who visited our table and took Anita's survey had learned their earth science lessons well. Their parents were excited to see their children's interest and knowledge and parents and we volunteers learned a thing or two from the kids as we often do. I give thanks to God for these young stewards, for their teacher stewards, for parent and volunteer docent stewards, for everyone able to make even the smallest positive change to conserve and celebrate the resources entrusted to us to use wisely for all God's Creation.”
Jeri Porter: “I try to make each day Earth Day! We take so many things for granted in this world and too often do not think about the repercussions of our actions, especially in our consumption of resources. As I work in my garden, I am constantly amazed at the amount of food which comes from just a few seeds, the interaction of the plants and those trying to feed on them, the importance of healthy soil and my efforts to keep it productive, or the necessary balance of too little vs. too much water. Our attempts to bring this awareness to the public require a lot of patience. My prayers include opening the eyes of others to these miracles and God's hand in the great scheme of the environment.”
Jessica Malpica: “Earth Day is a great time to remember we are all connected to each other and to the world around us. For our celebration I had the privilege of talking about the importance of decomposers and to help give people a hands on view there was a dead log to dig through to find critters and I also carried around a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach! For me nature and faith are woven together. I see beauty in the world from the tiniest flower to an amazing sunset and in these moments of appreciation I feel closest to God.”