Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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10 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay JUST LIVING What does the Lord require of you? Presbyterians are answering that prophetic question, working for justice and helping their neighbors in a variety of ways. Presbyterians Today shares their stories. and climate change." Doong is a Beltsville, Maryland, native and a graduate of the College of Wooster, where he majored in international relations with a focus on economics. He served as a Young Adult Volunteer last year in South Korea. — Rick Jones Collecting rain water to care for creation Flowers painted on a former Coke syrup canister. Grapefruit tree and lily starts waiting for their future owners. Monarch butterflies resting from their long migration on a stalk of milkweed. What does it all mean? The Webster Presbyterian Church EarthCare Team has been busy creating unique programs to be better stewards of God's creation, while engaging their family of faith and the surrounding community. The team has partnered with the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) to launch a rain barrel program on church grounds and has created and maintained a certified monarch but- terfly waystation using collected rain water. Webster is a suburb of Houston, where it rains a lot and then doesn't rain for a long time. The EarthCare Team decided to collect the water "when it pours" and to save it for the dry spells. Taking advantage of the Galveston Bay Foundation's rain barrel education program, the team learned about water conservation. The barrels at the church were donated to GBF by Coca-Cola. In their previous life, the barrels were used as giant syrup canisters. Now they are painted with local flowers and wetland birds native to the area, and are used to water the church's butterfly garden. Officially certified as a monarch waystation by the Monarch Watch UN program 'reaffirms' church's work When more than 1,000 young people from around the world gathered at the United Nations to attend the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly, Simon Doong, a former Young Adult Volunteer, was among them. The conference was orga- nized by the U.N.-affiliated Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which works to empower people through global education, youth leadership development and cultural exchange programs. Attendees had an opportunity to engage the environmental and partnership dimensions of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending poverty, tackling inequalities and combating climate change. "I've learned a lot about how the PC(USA) works to address problems like climate change and poverty through partnership and advocacy," said Doong. "I wanted to learn how we can enhance our work and further empower youth at the same time." Doong said the experience was "invigorating and reaffirming" of the church's work around the world. "One speaker stressed the role of civil society in reporting human trafficking efforts and taking preven- tative measures in local communities," he said. "It made me proud to know that such efforts are a core part of PC(USA) policy and mission partner efforts around the world." Doong hopes the church can be a space for youth to be heard while providing opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue. "The PC(USA) and many faith communities around the world already do the work the U.N. deems impor- tant," he said. "They provide unique opportunities for youth engagement and advocacy on issues of inequality PRESBYTERIAN MINISTRY AT THE UNITED NATIONS Simon Doong attends the Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations. COURTESY OF WEBSTER PRESBYTERIAN Rain barrels that collect water for Webster Presbyterian's butterfly garden are painted by the church's EarthCare Team.

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