Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast

The 2017 daily email messages will run from

Ash Wednesday, March 1 through Easter Sunday, April 16.

“One of the smartest things I've done in my 85 years.” ... “My electric bill dropped $78 monthly on average.” ... “I got up and went right to my computer because I was so eager to see what the day’s task would be.” ... "Gets us away from that guilty feeling - inspiring rather than overwhelming - small wins - that’s what the carbon fast is all about.” ... “Thanks to Facebook… people from Australia and New Zealand are participating. One of my friends got a home energy audit. Another began to compost.”


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"What does God require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?"

-Micah 6:8                                                           

 2017 will be the seventh year that we will provide a day-by-day opportunity to fast from carbon as a Lenten discipline. Initiated by the UCC and endorsed by other denominations and faith groups, thousands of people representing all fifty states and at least twelve other countries have benefited from this opportunity to become more conscious and conscientious in their daily lives.
 

New since 2016 - Ash Wednesday invites us into the season of Lent, a time within the church year to acknowledge that we are mortal, limited, so that we might be transformed and become the new life God calls us to be.  This year's Lenten Carbon Fast will continue to be structured differently than in the past.  While still including uplifting spiritual exercises and informational resources, we will provide a concrete action to take every day.

The activities range from the very simple (e.g. eliminate “vampire” electrical use) to the moderately challenging (e.g. take “military" showers) to more long term (e.g. buy local produce).  We consider all of the activities a form of spiritual practice, a concrete way of participating in the stewardship of God’s creation.  The intention is to provide do-able actions which can make a difference; not to overwhelm people, or make them feel bad about themselves, or cause them to feel that the situation is hopeless.  We want people to empower people so they can challenge themselves to do more.

INVOLVING YOUR CHURCH IN THE CARBON FAST

We recommend forming a small group within your church to meet after worship or fellowship hour each week for discussion and taking action.  The Carbon Fast will provide myriad ways your congregation can get involved in climate justice. These vary from questions for group discussion to steps your church can take to conserve energy, from introducing climate change into worship to divesting your church’s portfolio from fossil fuels. Across the broad range of activities, there should be no shortage of possibilities that match the initiative and interest within your congregation.

Even if forming a group in your church is not feasible during the Carbon Fast, the suggested church actions are peppered with steps you can personally take in your congregation and that you can complete in any community during Lent and beyond.

 

Only by coming together can we solve the climate crisis. Our churches, as tight-knit, morally-driven communities, are an excellent place to begin!  God is calling us to be the change we long to see. Let us engage this spiritual discipline, grateful for all God has entrusted to us, and trusting that with God all things are possible.

 
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal • Conference Minister and President • Massachusetts Conference, UCC
The Rev. Ms. Barbara Libby • Interim Conference Minister • Rhode Island Conference, UCC
The Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak • Conference Minister • Vermont Conference, UCC
The Rev. Mr. Rick Cowles • Interim Conference Minister • Maine Conference, UCC
The Rev. Mr. Gary Schulte • Conference Minister • New Hampshire Conference, UCC
The Rev. Mr. Kent Siladi • Conference Minister • Connecticut Conference, UCC