|Larry Patrick (left), Elmer Bigham and Dave Heron sort materials for the community recycling ministry of Wesley United Methodist Church in Yakima, Wash. Courtesy photo|
recycling for community
Wesley United Methodist Church in Yakima, Wash., doubles as a community recycling center, where a dozen men in their seventies work full-time processing 60,000 pounds of recyclables each month.
The church has recycled more than 5 million pounds of materials in the last 30 years. The largest community recycling center in the county, it gained momentum five years ago after the city discontinued recycling bins.
"We have dominion over the planet," says Keith Case, a regular volunteer. "Our responsibility is to take care of it."
Collecting redeemable materials has yielded $20,000 in the last year for the youth program and other ministries.
The ministry's green spirit is infectious. During coffee hour, church members drink organic, shade-grown, fair-trade coffee from coffee mugs instead of plastic foam cups. They also maintain an organic garden that yields produce for congregants.
The National Council of Churches selected Wesley as one of eight Great Green Churches in 2008 for its recycling ministry.
"This is part of our stewardship," says the Rev. Terry Hall. "This is just part of our call as being part of God's good creation, to be sure that when God looks at creation again that God can still say, 'Yeah, it's good. It's good.'"
--Jennifer Lind, United Methodist Communications intern
and senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
AT A GLANCE: Wesley United Methodist Church | 14 North 48th Ave., Yakima, WA 98908 | (509) 966-2370 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.wesleyofyakima.org | Pastor: Rev. Terry B. Hall | Average attendance: 175 | Pacific Northwest Conference