In Genesis 2:15 God instructs Adam to abad and shamar – literally translated ‘to serve and to care.’ We are called to be careful servants in God’s garden- His creation. With this in mind, on April 22nd 2009 Renewal’s student leaders called for a National Day of Service for God’s Creation. Sixteen Christian campuses across North America participated in this exciting initiative, actively demonstrating the unity of the student creation care movement and commitment of Christian students to caring for God’s creation.
The theme for this year was “Serving Hands for a Fallen Creation.” In choosing this theme, Renewal asked Christian students to reflect on how Jesus lived simply, lovingly, and intentionally. “Jesus came to bless and reconcile people and the earth,” said Student Leadership Team member Aaryn Joyner, an Outdoor Education major at Montreat College. “We hope this initiative will encourage Christian students to not only be conscious of how our choices impact the world, but also encourage them to actively bless God’s creation through participating in a service activity.”
Christian students from around North America answered this call and planned service activities on their campuses. From stream cleanups to fundraising hoola-hoop-a-thons to wildflower rescues and letter writing campaigns, passionate students demonstrated their care and concern for God’s earth through getting their hands dirty. Some highlights include:
-Students at Asbury College in Wilmore, KY planted a native perennial garden around the original Asbury building and installed a rain-water barrel to conserve water resources.
-The Creation Restoration club at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN hosted a hoola-hoop-a-thon to raise money for a local conservation organization. They had over 40 people participate in this creative event! The students also worked with facilities management to plant four oak trees on campus.
-At Eastern University outside of Philadelphia, PA, the Earthkeepers club encouraged students to sign pledges committing to be conscious of their environmental impact and follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Students made a variety of commitments- from turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth to driving less and gardening more.
-Wheaton College’s A Rocha student group sponsored a letter writing campaign. They sent over 120 letters to 41 senators in 25 states emphasizing that as Christians we are called to be good stewards of the earth. What’s more, the letters encouraged our national leadership to take action on critical environmental issues such as climate change, soil and land degradation, overconsumption and species extinction.
-The Earth Shepherd club at Spring Arbor University in Michigan had over 20 students participate in a campus-wide litter clean up!
-The Green Team at Redeemer University College celebrated the National Day of Service by planting native shrubs and wildflowers on campus property that struggles with soil erosion.
-The Environmental Stewardship Coalition at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI held a wildflower rescue to replant native flowers from a wooded area scheduled to be taken down this summer.
-Students from Hope College in Michigan organized an end-of-term recycling extravaganza! They encouraged students moving out of dorms to donate old furniture, clothes and appliances to a local charity, and recycle batteries and other electronics, as well as paper, plastics and metal.
-The A Rocha student club at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA hosted a sustainability pledge drive. 315 students, faculty, and staff committed to decreasing their environmental footprint!
-Seeds, the newly formed environmental club at Montreat College in North Carolina, hosted a creation care talk by Renewal’s coordinator Ben Lowe. They also cleaned up a local stream & broke ground on the new campus garden! Other colleges that participated in the Day of Service include: Dordt College (IA), Trinity International University (IL), Moody Bible Institute (IL), Gordon College (MA), John Brown University (AR), & Azusa Pacific University (CA).
Other colleges that participated in the Day of Service include: Dordt College (IA), Trinity International University (IL), Moody Bible Institute (IL), Gordon College (MA), John Brown University (AR), & Azusa Pacific University (CA).
Renewal is so thankful for the many Christian students that participated in the National Day of Service for God’s Creation! May God grant us grace and determination as we continue to join hands and hearts in our efforts to care for this beautiful planet.