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WAYS- Festival of God’s Creation

Several weeks prior to finishing each issue of Interpreter, we send a question to all readers for whom we have email addresses, asking them to respond with a short answer of 50-75 words. We hope you will join the conversation.

Our question this issue relates to the Festival of God's Creation, a time on The Official United Methodist Program Calendar to celebrate God's gift of creation and to commit to stewardship of the environment. It is designated for the Sunday nearest Earth Day, April 24 this year.

We asked

What do you do to show appreciation of our created world?

You said ...

I pray daily thanking God for our created world. I am a gardener and I love the plants and flowers, which I thank God for creating. I am a recycler, have a compost pile and worm bed. I'm teaching my grandson, Matthew, to appreciate our created world.

Faye Hippler Bowers, Cokesbury UMC, Pensacola, Florida

I chair the Worship Committee and sit on Finance, Christian Education, Outreach/Evangelism, Nominating and Development and Church Council (Administrative Council) committees. I sing in our choir. My wife and I coordinate the annual FREE Easter egg hunt that serves over 700 children, giving away 10,000 Easter eggs filled with candy, prizes and dining coupons. I live for GOD because of Christ.

Randy Dehn, Asbury UMC, Erie, Pennsylvania

I walk my dog, Beau, every morning near my home. The Lord opened my eyes to the amount of litter along the road. I remembered what Father Lawrence once wrote in his diary. He said that if the Lord told him to pick up a straw to show his love for him, he would be glad to do so. Now that's what I do. Oh, what joy floods my soul.

Barbara A. Gallagher, Countryside Community UMC, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

We as a family enjoy the flowers and all blooming things. We appreciate seeing God's hands in the creation of children and their laughter. We respect the land as we were raised on farms. We recycle items to protect God's earth. It is amazing to see what recycled items may become as greeting cards, furniture and many other goods. We are blessed to live in a rural area where our neighbors care about their surroundings.

Rosemary Hagar, St. Paul's UMC, Celina, Ohio

Festival of God's Creation Day-Earth Day: For the shelter populations I serve, it is "Jubilee Justice Day!"  It is a day of celebrating stewardship through Scripture with a focus on Psalm 24:1. God owns everything – Earth, "my stuff," my church, my life. Our Lenten journey begins with imposition of ashes when we hear the words .... so a reflective celebration of all that God has given us takes on special meaning. Groups spend time in small groups doing activities and discussing earthly justice, stewardship and mission and what that means to us – as individuals and as a community.

Debi Henry, Fisk Memorial UMC, Natick, Massachusetts

God's natural world is exquisitely beautiful, no matter where you look – the sky, waterfalls, meadows, mountains, majestic trees, lovely flowers, animals, fish, birds, everything, everywhere. I've often noticed that people stop to admire a lovely garden. Beauty feeds the soul as much as food feeds the body. So, I'll spend the day working in my flower garden. Anything I can do to help God create more beauty is a gift to all.

Deborah Moore, New Paltz (New York) UMC

I appreciate God's world by recycling paper, plastics and glass. I'm a member of United Methodist Women. Our local unit, districts and conference meetings emphasize the use of china or paper products – no Styrofoam products. Our local unit also participates in "Keep Arkansas Beautiful," litter pickup and clean water projects.

Brenda Norwood, St. Paul-Maumelle UMC, Little Rock, Arkansas

Our Creation Care team is partnering with our children's ministry for a collaborative service on April 24 featuring the honest leadership of children and adults with a passion for taking care of God's creation. Our congregation has also embraced supporting Shalom Farms, a local initiative designed to grow food for inner-city families. Despite ecological challenges in our world, bright spots exist where people are making a difference.

Bill Pike, Trinity UMC, Henrico, Virginia