upper room daily devotions

Friday, September 05, 2008

Worship and Sustainability

I am wondering how other congregations deal with sustainability issues in relation to worship. We are still a church that produces a bulletin to help people move through our service. In fact, we do not have integrated multi-media technology as a part of our sanctuary. From time to time I do use a projector, but it is cumbersome and ill-suited to the space. I am one of those folks who tends to believe that no high-tech is better than bad high-tech. But I digress...

On the one hand, I like the idea of bulletins - something for visitors to hold on to, to look at, to find security in. I feel lost when I attend a new church - as I did on vacation last week - and there is nothing to let me know what's going to happen and when it's going to happen.

On the other hand, producing tons of paper for a one time use seems very wasteful.

I have been to churches that don't use bulletins. They opt for a more media-oriented presentation of worship. Aside from whether or not this is a type of worship that speaks to me, I can't get in to those services because I don't know what's going to happen next. Therefore, our church most likely won't be dispensing with worship guides altogether. I did visit a church once that produced generic worship guides that included the general flow of worship without printing specific hymn titles and other details that change from week to week. These cards were gathered up and used again. This would require a fairly close adherence to the same order of service each week.

Paper, of course, is not the only sustainability issue that our churches need to face, but paper is the one thing that we waste more than any other material. It goes without saying that we recycle. However, we'd rather not use up trees in the first place. It's an issue of life stewardship, of living the care for creation that we preach.

Has your church begun to face the issue of sustainability, especially in relation to worship? If so, what have you tried? What do you find working? What have you found not to work?

As always, I welcome your replies.


Steven and Elizabeth Schindler said...

Katie, this is a constant issue for us, too. It seems like we're using an inordinate amount of energy each week. We use both projector/screen and bulletin - though we used to do a GIANT multi-page book of a bulletin and we've cut down to one page, with the extras all on the screen. It seems to work pretty well, but I'd love to cut down more. - Elizabeth

rev katie m ladd said...

This is one of those areas with which I don't see a clear answer. It's good to know other churches are facing the challenge and trying to make their way through it as well.

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