For years, he said, Bill Brammell has been irritated by something that's seemingly harmless - plastic communion cups. It has bothered him enough that he stopped taking communion at Eminence Christian Church 10 years ago.
The move was part of something that's been an important issue for Brammell - living in a sustainable, environmentally friendly fashion.
As the 38th Earth Day approaches that church will begin making an effort to be better stewards of the planet. And for Eminence Christian Church, it could all begin with something as simple as switching to glass communion cups.
Eminence Christian Church's Green Ministry, according to organizers, will help educate church and community members learn more about taking care of the environment.
The ministry is the result of more than two years of participation in a program called Listening to God to find what their new ministries should be. At the end of that process the church members settled on two ministries, one of which was a green ministry.
"It's a ministry that recognizes that there are a great number of environmental issues that have come to the forefront that have been existing and growing for a number of years," he said.
Brammell said the church has a responsibility to raise environmental awareness and act on it. He added that the church is looking to find ways they can create immediate results. One thing on the horizon will be a computer and computer parts recycling effort. The church also will work within the community to "improve the recycling opportunities that are in the community."
Church member Wayne Sparrow also took part in the discussions, and feels the Green Ministry will be a way for the church to "be relevant in the world we live and true to the Gospel at the same time."
Within the church, Brammell said, there will be a stronger effort to use reusable items.
"We're going to attempt within our church to end the use of those things that are disposable, but start reusing things," he said, including plastic communion cups. He said the church will go back to glass cups, even though that means the cups will have to be washed.
According to Pastor Sharon Fields, the church also will look at using more environmentally friendly and biodegradable paper plates, if not something reusable.
Brammell said an audit of the church's utilities might be in order too.
"Maybe we have someone come in to look at what we can do to seal the church up more tightly, and reduce consumption of fuel of (not just) what we use to heat and fuel, but the electricity for lights."
Fields said the church has always been "current with the needs and concerns of the times." And now, she said, one of the concerns is the environment, "what we're doing to the earth now, and what we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren.
In addition to reducing disposable items in the church, Fields said Eminence Christian is looking into finding Bible Study materials that discuss stewardship, and is encouraging its members to "recycle, recycle, recycle."
Eventually, she said, the church hopes to encourage the city to do curbside recycling.
For Brammell, it's another way to practice something he believes in.
"I've felt this way for so long, it seems to be basic to our existence that we take care of the place that we live," he said. "It just seems like an innate thing."
He's pleased, he said, to see the church start its Green Ministry. "It gave me and other people that feel the same way to have another avenue to promote environmentalism."
He practices what he preaches - he and his wife purchased highly fuel efficient vehicles, recycle regularly, compost, turn thermostats down where possible, and try to "buy things that are packaged in a way that's not irresponsible and wasteful."
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