Arlington Heights, Illinois -- April 1st -- Congregational United Church of Christ (CUCC) will mark the season of Eastertide with Mission 4/1 Earth. From April 1st through May 19th, the church will support earth stewardship with 50 days of ecological activism. All are invited to participate.
The campaign is part of a collective mission opportunity spearheaded by the United Church of Christ (www.ucc.org), but it speaks directly to local values. "Our congregation identified a pressing concern for environmental care last year, and expressed a desire to do more for the earth," explains project coordinator JoAnn Rapp.
Three goals constitute the heart of this campaign. Over the course of 50 days, Mission 4/1 Earth hopes to encourage individuals to devote one million hours to creation care, plant 100,000 trees, and write 100,000 letters of environmental advocacy.
Creation care urges individuals to develop a personal relationship with the earth through education and action. Now is the time to explore composting and gardening, view an environmental documentary, or simply turning off the water while brushing your teeth. For those who wish to take creation care to the next level, CUCC is organizing church-wide activities that will benefit the local community. These opportunities include: the collection of plastic bags for donation to a local food pantry; a neighborhood drive to collect and recycle batteries (Saturday, April 13 through Saturday, April 27); the cleaning and beautification of an adopted streetscape; and an outing to Deer Grove Forest Preserve to eradicate garlic mustard, an invasive plant harmful to native vegetation (Saturday, May 18).
Mission 4/1 Earth also promotes the planting of trees, both locally and globally. At the global level, CUCC welcomes donated olive trees to support the pursuit of economic independence in Palestine. Activists may also participate locally by planting trees in their backyards. In partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation, CUCC will make saplings available to community residents. Saplings will be ready for pick up on Saturday, May 11.
Environmental advocacy rounds out Mission 4/1 Earth. Letters to government officials and newspapers can raise awareness of community concerns and inspire change. Individuals are urged to advance environmental causes with a post-Easter letter-writing campaign and help end hunger by signing the Bread for the World Petition.
A youth group that brings together the teen parishioners of several local churches will be actively involved in many aspects of Mission 4/1 Earth. "Young or old, Unitarian or Methodist, we are all citizens of the earth," observed one CUCC member, "and this mission reminds us that we are all responsible for the well-being of our planet."
A complete calendar of Mission 4/1 Earth events is available online at