Earth stewardship isn’t typically a basis for ministry in most of today’s churches, but the members of New Chapel Hill Baptist Church are changing that in their corner of the world.
WEST MONROE – Earth stewardship isn’t typically a basis for ministry in most of today’s churches, but the members of New Chapel Hill Baptist Church are changing that in their corner of the world.
It began when Amy Dupree, adult daughter to Charles Dupree, pastor at New Chapel Hill, moved back to West Monroe last August.
She had been living in Louisville, Kentucky where recycling is just the way trash pick-up is done. Residents divide their trash into recyclables and non-recyclables. Dupree was “kind of disappointed” that West Monroe wasn’t doing the same thing.
“Recycling is easy,” she said. “And it’s important for the earth. Why not do it?”
So, she approached the congregation at her father’s church to see if people would be willing to recycle their garbage. Everyone embraced the idea, and Green Earth Ministry was born.
Dupree contacted West Monroe’s paper recycling company, Recycling Services, to get a dumpster placed at the church specifically for recyclables.
“It’s a free service,” she said. “It took us a while to get it [because] there’s only one company” in West Monroe that offers this service.
Once the dumpster was placed at the church, church members started filling it.
“They’ve been very excited,” Dupree said. “They’ve been amazed how much they’ve cut down on their garbage [at home].”
The dumpster is filled weekly, and according to Pastor Dupree, “It’s a big dumpster.”
According to Recycling Services general manager Bob Fitzgerald, the church’s dumpster holds about 500 pounds of paper.
Amy Dupree said taking part in recycling has made the members feel a greater sense of responsibility for the earth and their stewardship of it.
“I’m very supportive of [Green Earth Ministry],” Pastor Dupree said. “There’s an excitement in our church . . . I hope to do more in the future.”
He even sees it as encouraging some of his members to enter into an attitude of worship before services start.
“A lot of the time, they bring their recyclable products” with them to church,” Dupree said. “They’ve done something meaningful” before church even starts.
The dumpster is just one part of Green Earth Ministry. Amy Dupree explained that every area of the church, every Sunday school classroom, every meeting place, even the Sanctuary has containers for recyclable products.
And she plans on sharing green tips every month “at least in the bulletins.”
The first time Dupree shared a green tip she shared it verbally during a service. She told the congregation the advantages of using cloth grocery bags and showed them how roomy they are.
“It’s our job to take care of the earth,” Dupree said. “God gave us that responsibility.”