In the summer of 2020, I decided that it would be fun to create a formation club for children and families in the Diocese of North Carolina where I serve as the Children and Family Missioner. I used this club to connect with families who do not have a formation director at their church, but this idea could be used with any size church, across any size of community. To be a part of the club, families signed up to receive letters which included both teaching and activities.
Our first offering was the All Saints Club. Families signed up to receive letters from a different saint each week. After the success of the first offering, I expanded the idea and offered the Green and Growing Club during the summer months and the season of Pentecost (the “green and growing” season). In 2021, the Green and Growing Club explored creation care, and again, families signed up to receive mailings centered on this theme.
Connecting Creation Care to Our Faith
There is nothing about creation that is not about God. God is the creator and so it stands to reason that creation would resemble God: varied, immense, sacred, and complex. God placed humans inside of this wondrous world to care for and protect it, to work it, and to keep it. As a Christian educator, someone who loves nature, and a child of God, my roles in caring for and protecting God’s creation are many. The Green and Growing Club is one way I found to help form others in this process.
Organizing A Green & Growing Club
- Pick a Season – Consider the season and length of club you’d like to offer. You might select the month of April, use Earth Day as a kickoff, or begin after Pentecost.
- Invite your Families to sign up for the club – Announce it at church, advertise it on social media, and ask people to share it with their friends.
- Collect Addresses – Make a simple Google form to collect the needed information to mail postcards or letters to homes. Use the spreadsheet created through the Google form to make a mail merge. This will allow you to easily personalize your mailers.
- Create Mailings – You can prepare the letters/postcards/mailings yourself or have them printed by a local printer. Include fun at home activities, worship resources, prayers, and books.
- Consider Social Media – Consider including some type of social media connection, such as Facebook posts, to engage people in conversation.
- Gather to Celebrate – Bring people together for an opening or closing event (or both!).
Green & Growing Club Resources
I used resources from the Abundant Life Garden offered by Episcopal Relief and Development. In addition, I created a Bitmoji Classroom to house the resources. Click here to explore the resources for our Green & Growing Clubs!
Collect for Environment Sunday
Living God, you call us to be good stewards of this earthly home, strengthen us to care for your creation; forgive us when, through our greed and indifference, we abuse its beauty and damage its potential. Empower us, through your Spirit to so nurture and love the world, that all creation sings to your glory. Amen.
(From the Church of England’s Creation Care Prayers)
Keep Things Eco-Friendly!
Although there are financial and ecological costs to mailing an actual piece of mail, I decided that the children’s excitement at actually receiving mail outweighed the costs. Here are some eco-friendly things to consider:
- Use recycled paper, ask people to recycle the mailing when they are done with it, or find a way to make it a collectible item children will want to keep. Maybe each piece would fit together to complete some type of puzzle when put together.
- Share additional resources and information by using a QR code, a bit.ly, or tinyurl.
- Include eco-friendly tips that families can actually put into practice.
The Green and Growing Club is one that I can see using across summers to help families discuss topics such as the environment, race, mental health, and other topics. The target audience is the kids, but families will be enriched through the process. I hope that you will find something here you can use to enrich the lives of the families you serve.