Four groups participated:
Women's Friendship Circle of St. Andrew's Episcopal in Seattle, WA
Book Bunch of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Waterloo, IL
Book Club of Retired/Current Teachers of St. Matthew's School in Seattle
Salon Cerchio Book Club
Below is a summary of each of their projects with pictures.
SAE distributed the books to three groups in their church: Women’s Friendship Circle, Sacred Grounds, and Creation Keepers, as well as to staff. On April 7th, SAE hosted a discussion about the book, using the discussion questions at the back of the book as a guide for the time. I joined them both for the meeting where they gave the books away and discussed the project in general, and for the meeting where they discussed the book questions after reading the books. SAE coordinated the earth care project with their church’s Sacred Grounds committee, which is in the process of revisioning their church property. SAE decided to plant a plum tree in honor of the earth as a result of reading the book, and as something that would provide additional fruit for their food ministry and burgeoning organic gardens on site. They wrote a paragraph about the unfolding project a few times in their church e-newsletter. Here’s a newsletter that contained a summary paragraph on the project (scroll down). After the discussion group, some of the TGWAG books they received were passed along to new individuals and donated to libraries (the SAE church included) to continue to spread this mustard seed project to others!
SPUCC has a Book Bunch that regularly reads and discusses books, so they chose TGWAG as their selection for February and they discussed the book with me over Skype on March 22nd.
This is a summary written by Rev. Thelma Burgonio-Watson, who led the discussion, and was published in the church newsletter.
“After a lively discussion, we pledged to do the following, partly in response to the conditions of receiving TGWAG from the author, a free copy of the book for each Book Bunch member, and ultimately as an authentic and sincere response to what we as readers were moved to do to care for “Mother Earth”:
1. On our own, we pledged to remember to use recyclable or cloth shopping bags, instead of plastic and invite others to do the same.
2. On a short term and to increase public awareness: On Earth Day/Earth Week, in April, we will request St Paul to publish on the church marquee, these words of the Vietnamese Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh: “Real Change will only happen when we fall in love with the earth”.
3. On a longer term and to invite St Paul to join us in this concern: we will request our church to publish one action item to care for the earth, every Sunday in the worship bulletin for 50 Sundays.
4.One time: One day this summer, one of our members will invite Book Bunch and others to get out and clean up a “road”.
5. Long term: Book Bunch will adopt a road as a “Book Bunch Road” to care for. We will invite others to join us.
6.Very long term, in participation with a church-wide dream: we will join in this dream to convert one of the church parking lots that is seldom used into “raised-vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for Martha’s Kitchen-Mary’s Heart and local food pantries. We invite and welcome anyone who is interested to join us in this attempt to care for the earth, for herein lie our own healing, wholeness and joy and those of the seventh generation.”
Others who read the book but who couldn’t attend the discussion also added suggestions such as stop using Styrofoam, and bring in Fair Trade to church.
Here are pictures from the discussion group.
SMBC read TGWAG in January and then discussed the book with me in attendance at their group on February 26th. They decided to do an earth project in memory of one of their members who had recently died. Her name was Mary—a wonderful synchronicity with the characters and story of TGWAG. The earth project they did was to help beautify the earth and they did so by donating a St. Francis statue that holds birdseed to her private garden and planting flowers around it. They memorialized this earth project with a ceremony and ritual, which was written about by another of their members here.
Here are pictures of the group discussion group and memorial ceremony.
The Salon Cerchio Book Club read and discussed the book in May. They felt overall it was a great and interesting story and outside their office space in Bellevue, WA they are putting up a bird feeder (pine cones with peanut butter and seeds). Next week they will be planting a tree in Lincoln Park in Seattle, WA.
Here is a picture of most of the readers!