Green & Sustainable Ministry

Earth Stewardship: Environmental Justice

In 2012, this congregation voted to adopt an eco-theology covenant by church vote.

Look for many green aspects to blossom as we live out our covenant with the Earth!


COVENANT: The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof:   (Psalm 24:1) In your creation is our redemption. In your living water is our abundant life.

Yet we have fallen, from generation to generation, in fears of scarcity, and in the fever for power, into excess and abuse of these promised lands. We cherish Christ’s image of the kingdom as a sheltering, fruitful tree.  (Lk 13:18-20) And so we covenant: to the hard work of discerning ways to live in harmony with creation; to new understandings

  • of how we may feed ourselves and all who hunger,
  • and how we may protect the waters and the creatures in them,
  • and how we may develop clean energy to meet our needs
  • and guard the air the whole earth needs; to a vision of abundance which is social, spiritual, physical, and for all creatures, as a Family of God.

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. May we rejoice and be glad in it.


Past Environmental Justice/Sustainability Events:

  • UCC Mission 4/1 Earth
  • Community Garden
  • Winter Fuzz Fest (Natural Fibers)
  • Carbon Footprint Awareness column
  • Locavore Church Supper
  • Annual Veggie Garden Tours
  • Compost Bin
  • Bike Rack at Church


UCC Mission 4/1 Earth  50 Days of Earth Stewardship 2013. 

( weekly email) Week 1: Films

Ok, so you saw the UCC Mission 4/1 Time Card in the pews last Sunday and in the April newsletter, and you are thinking you should start to do something about getting some hours in. Let’s start nice and easy by sitting on the couch watching a movie.

These movies below are free, online, and streaming. Watching any of these will give you one hour to log on your time card. Even though two of the films are only minutes long, I say take credit for the full hour because you saved gas by not going out to rent a movie packaged in a plastic sleeve. My personal favorite was the 16 minute sci-fi film “Mister Green.”. I spent 16 minutes watching it, and another 44 thinking about how weird it was!

If you click on a link and can’t seem to get it to run on your system, just stop by the church office. Renay has several other green documentaries, and she can lend you one for a couple of days. (The list is at the bottom.**)

Happy Earth Month/Day!    The Green & Sustainable Cmte

(All links from a free streaming online documentaries website. You just have to put up with a few commercials.)


(1.5 hours). Eco-evangelist Josh Ticknell, takes us on a hip, fast-paced road trip, in a van powered by French-fry grease, into America’s dependence on foreign oil. Combining a history lesson of the US auto and petroleum industries and interviews with a wide range of policy makers, educators, and activists such as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. Animated by powerful graphics, FUEL looks into our future offering hope via a wide-range of renewable energy and bio-fuels. Winner of the Sundance Audience Award.


Young Agrarians

(7 minutes). Created as a tool to introduce young people to a new way of looking at agriculture and food production. The project grew out of several concerns: the demise of family farms in America, the rising average age of farmers (65% of U.S. farmers are over 55), and the fact that young people are unaware of the many opportunities in sustainable agriculture and local food systems. The film relates the stories of small-scale farmers, ranchers and market gardeners of all ages and backgrounds who have been drawn by their love for the land to undertake the most noble of occupations – growing food.


Mister Green

(16 minutes, sci-fi)) Dr. Gloria Holtzer’s ecotech company has developed an entirely new way to confront the challenge of catastrophic global warming — by changing the very nature of the human race itself. And Mr. Park, the uber powerful politician, has become her test subject. The futuristic MISTER GREEN is a parable about change — both personal and political.

BONUS: Portsmouth Music Hall is having an environmental film-fest of shorts on Friday, April 26

**Films the church owns, and are in the office to borrow: Revenge of the Electric Car, Gasland, Tapped, Flow, No Impact Man, King Corn,  Dirt, History of the Chicken, Food INC.,  The Cove

More “Earth-Thursday” Tips to Come Next Week….


 Week 2: Local Green Groups

Hello again! This week I want to introduce you to some very local folks who are doing green things:

They might even be your neighbors, as in Exeter Freecycle, the website functioning as an online yard sale  -where everything is free! Saves dump space. This is the site the church uses to give away things like 300 used mini candles from Christmas Eve, or extra pledge envelopes, etc… Still good!

Or how about up-to-the second news online at Exeter Patch? They cover a lot of green news too and no paper to recycle. Speaking of recycling, do you need to recycle your old prescriptions? The Exeter police are taking them back on April 27.  Last recycling tip: If you are having a yard sale, did you know that Wonderland Thrift shop will come and take away your leftovers?  And don’t forget to bring your own dead electronics to the parsonage on Saturday, April 20, where Peter Merrill will take them as a fundraiser for our Appalachia Mission Trip.

Now, changing subjects, our friends at the Blue Moon/Food & Health Forum host many wellness classes and they have one coming up on Permaculture.  Phillips Exeter has a Sustainability Dept., and they host a green film series thru the school year.  And very close by up in Portsmouth there is the Green Alliance, who are doing a great job promoting local green businesses (I am member, are you?).

And something new-wave to wrap your mind around: Valley Time Trade is creating a Portsmouth chapter. It is a bartering service, no money is passed, just time is spent.  What????

Continue keeping track of your Mission 4/1 Earth Hours, the time cards will be accepted in the offering plate during church on Pentecost Sunday. If you click into any of the links above, and decide to use any of them, well log that down on your time card too. Nice job!

BONUS: is hosting a climate adaptation series regarding sea-level rise effects in Exeter

More “Earth-Thursday” Tips to Come Next Week….


Week 3: Packaging & Waste

Q. Where do things go when you throw them “away”?

A. There is no such place as “away”.

Here is a really great humorous and informative video about a trash system in Florida that really does it right. Tape a sign on your trash can that states: “There is no such place as away.” See what happens…..

1: are you are going to need a bigger recycle bin,

or 2: will you begin to choose your purchases based on the least packaging?

Fact: Did you know the average American uses 500 disposable plastic bags a year? And that less than 5% of those are recycled after only one use? Recycling your bags back at the market count towards your Mission 4/1 timecard the church will collect on Pentecost Sunday…………And we interrupt this email with a special 5-minute nature mockumentary by Jeremy Irons: Lifecycle of the plastic bag

Bonus: Bag-Diet Challenge. Can you reduce your consumption of plastic bags by 25%? What about 50%? Just say NO at the counter and put your purchase in your pocket, or BYO cloth bags. Tip: keep totes handy in your car, like this one.

More “Earth-Thursday” Tips to Come Next Week….


Week 4: Local Food

Local food requires less packaging and less gas, and spring means the return of fresh local food! On May 1 Applecrest opens their ice-cream stand featuring fruits from their farm and 14% cream from happy, pasture-fed cows.  The spring Exeter Farmer’s Market will also be starting in May down on Swasey, and their website has a wealth of foodie information, like where to get farm-fresh eggs today.  And did you know we have our own fish-monger in town, just across from the Agway store; Fresh Fish Daley. Check out his website video that gives you a peek inside the shop.

On a sweet note, at least three of our church members keep bees, and you may be able to get some local honey by calling Dick & Ellie Hugo who, all summer long, run a little farm-stand in front of their house at 131 Giles Rd, E. Kingston. They are in our church phone book. Don’t have one? Reply and Renay will email you one.

This summer the church will host the “4th annual Veggie Gardens Tour.” We give you a map and you go around on your own to five or so church member’s homes to look at the big gardens in their backyards and get tips. If they can grow it, so can you. Dick & Ellie’s garden is always on the tour.

BONUS: Why not buy a blueberry bush this spring and plant it amongst your flowers? After all, the blueberry is a cousin of the azalea and rhododendron, it flowers in the spring and has red foliage in the fall! It doesn’t get more local than growing food in your own yard. This would count in the “plant a tree” section of your Mission 4/1 Timecard.

More “Earth-Thursday” Tips to Come Next Week….


 Week 5: Energy

Did you know that last year ReVision Solar opened in Exeter, and came over to the church and gave us a quote for solar panels? Have you ever seen a solar quote? Look at ours. Bottom line was we were not a candidate at this time due to the steeple and some trees. But some of our church members were, and did get solar installed recently…

  • Karen & Bob Prior got a solar hot water heater unit installed by (ReVision in Exeter)
  • Kate Miller also had a solar water heater installed (by Go Green Industries in MA ).
  • Lew Hitzrot has nice south facing roof on his barn in Maine, and had solar electricity array installed to power the house (by ReVision in ME). Note the two beehives beside the barn. Nice!

Now, Peter Merrill has taken all of this a few steps further. Quite a few steps. Every year October his home is listed as a stop on the National Solar Tours.  Here is a note from Peter:

“Janet and I have been using renewable energy for many years.  When we built our current home, we designed it to be ‘Fossil Fuel Free’ and over the years we have implemented many different strategies.

 Originally, all heating was done by a Deep Well Geothermal Heat Pump and augmented with Thermal Mass Stove, because almost everyone loves a fireplace in the winter!

 However, we wanted to do more to reduce our ‘Carbon Footprint’, so …

 In 2002, we installed a small wind turbine to bring electricity to our ‘chicken house’ (which doubles as a garden shed).

  • In 2008 we installed a solar water heater to reduce our electricity needs.
  • In 2009, we installed a solar air heater to bring supplemental heat to the home, (it worked so well, we installed a second unit was installed in 2011).
  • In 2010, we installed a solar electric array that produces over 8,000 kWh per year.
  • Currently, we are installing an expansion of the solar hot water system with ‘hydronic loops’ to heat the home.

 The home should be ‘NET Zero’ (eliminating Carbon Footprint and energy that needs to be purchased from the utility company) when this last portion is completed sometime this spring/summer.”

BONUS: Maybe we should all go on the solar tour to his house this October!! ~ The Green & Sustainable Cmte

 More “Earth-Thursday” Tips to Come Next Week….


Week 6: Sunday of Service is June 2

June 2nd is our church-wide Sunday of Service at church There are activities for every age. We hope everyone will participate! Continental breakfast at  9 a.m. Worship service at 10 a.m..

Service projects begin after the worship ends at 10:30 am, and include:

  •  Trail clean-up, location: Little River Dudley Trail. Leaders: Jodi Pellerin, Pat Pine, &  Carol Dawson.
  •  Advocate letter writing to politicians, location: vestry. Leaders: Beverly Gustin & Jane Abbiss
  •  New “Cutting Flower Bed” planting, location: parsonage. Leader: Cindy Baker
  •  Food donations to the breakfast are needed.

Please visit the Mission & Action committee display in the vestry after church this Sunday to sign up for any one of these items. We are very excited about this all-church project which is a direct outcome of our recently adopted eco-covenant.

Bonus: Bring your own ceramic or travel mugs for coffeehour, as a first step to replacing the paper cups we use for coffee after the service each Sunday.

Final “Earth-Thursday” Tips to Come Next Week….






Events we have held in the past, or are ongoing, include:

Annual Veggie Garden Tours - We role model how to grow your own food in NH by hosting a tour route that goes to a few very local micro-farms. Meet at church to get map at 10:30 am on Sunday, July 21, 2013. Free & Open to the public!

“Feed My Lambs” Community Garden created to feed food-pantry patrons. Using the Square Foot Gardening method in 5 raised beds, we are growing “salad”. We also created a beautiful old-time herb patch. All foods go to the pantry on Tuesday monrings. (Stop by for a tour if your church is thinking of doing this.)

Locavore Church Supper – Held on’s climate change awareness day- Local turkeys from Kellie Brook Farms, and veggies from gardens all over Exeter. (Year 1: Locavore chef Ted McCormack roasted local chickens and  produce for 150 people. Year 2: Church co-chefs Connie and Vickie did the same.) Foodie Workshops - Learn how to shop and cook from the Farmer’s Markets, right in our kitchen.

Winter Farmer’s Markets - Launched indoor markets for the farmers. Then they just got too big for our church! Check their website to see where they are holding their huge winter markets this year. Buy local!

“Fuzz Fest” - An annual natural fiber festival of weavers, spinners, felters, knitters, and more. Held each February.

Bike Rack Donation - parishioners may pedal to church now.

12 Zone Heater - we replaced our old heater with a 12-zone beauty.

Compost Bin Donation - Food scraps from church suppers and coffee grinds from Sunday’s mingle together in our new Earth Machine.

Tomato Seedling Gifts - 10-inch plants given to all children at Children’s Sunday Service.

Canning Classes - Participants were taught how to “put up” their fruits & veggies.

Basket Weaving Classes - Participants are taught how to make baskets of willow strips.

Eco-Palms - Fair trade palms are featured at our Palm Sunday Services.

Fair Trade Coffee - is offered at any of our events, and each Sunday. Buy a bag!

Ceramic coffee mugs option at coffee hour - Think how many paper cups we have used since the 1970s. The waste is mind-boggling! This is still under discussion. Make your voice heard! Ask for a ceramic cup this Sunday, we have many in the cabinets! Bring your own!!


 We The People free lecture/film series

…on sustainability issues.

  • Bill McKibben lecture: Climate Change lecture, held here in January of 2012, by Bill McKibben, the great environmentalist of our age.    Click here to see a short video of the night.
  • Dr. Amory Lovins lecture: World renown energy physicist spoke on a new vision of energy, at PEA Assembly Hall.
  • The Exeter River Watershed, lecture with discussion panel.
  • No Impact Man, film by Colin Beavan
  • King Corn, film with director Ian Cheney in attendance.
  • Food Inc., film by Robert Kenner
  • Flow, film by Irene Salina
  • Fresh, film by ana Sofia joanes