Mayflower Community Congregational United Church of Christ has a long history of environmental stewardship. In 2008, Mayflower submitted their official resolution, titled “Earthwise Congregation: A Resolution on Mediating Climate Change” to become carbon neutral by 2030. The resolution was also passed by the Minnesota Conference and the General Synod of the UCC. As a result, the Earthwise Congregation process and designation became active at a national level.
Two of the biggest values reflected by the community at Mayflower are to live lightly on the earth and to meet the existential challenge of climate change. A 2012 capital campaign to assess and implement their carbon neutrality plan surpassed their original fundraising goal. Following a comprehensive energy audit, the church made efforts to reduce heating and cooling costs, improve insulation and plumbing, replace windows, and invest in alternative sources of energy. Members now bask in the sun’s energy collected by their 194 intentionally-visible solar panels, which provide 30% of the building’s energy while significantly reducing carbon emissions. According to one member, “This is a prophetic action. We want people to know that we value creation and we want to shout it from the rooftops.” Several inquiries about the solar panels each month speak to the power of Mayflower’s action.
Zero-waste is another facet of the carbon neutrality goal. Thanks to a grant from Hennepin County, Mayflower is implementing a revamped composting system, complete with new collection bins for recycling and compost. ‘Garbage Guardian’ volunteers are employed to encourage members to utilize this new system. Many other initiatives and values are highlighted in this powerful documentary, in which the depth and breadth of Mayflower’s journey to be carbon neutral by 2030 is brought to life.
Calling on youth to be leaders for the next generation of climate justice work, 17 Mayflower youth and adults ventured to Washington D.C. in July 2015. The week-long trip was centered around training youth to be leaders in social justice advocacy and faith-based community organizing. Meetings with Minnesota’s U.S. Senators’ offices, tours of national historic sites, lobbying training, and bearing witness to the reopening of the Cuban embassy provided platforms for youth to learn, raise their voices, and be heard.
Visit Mayflower’s website to learn more about their path to carbon neutrality.