United Methodists receive award for protecting Lake Superior
|A UMNS photo by Greg Peterson
Rev. Margaret West (right) and church member Joanne Mingay (left) wrap
old computers at Marquette (Mich.) Grace United Methodist Church.
July 14, 2006
By Greg Peterson*
MARQUETTE, Mich. (UMNS) — In recognition of
several ongoing environmental projects, Upper Peninsula United Methodists have
received an international Environmental Stewardship Award from the Lake Superior
Thousands of northern Michigan church members turned in more than 320 tons of
electronic waste in April for Earth Day 2006 and participated in a similar 2005
project that targeted common household poisons and car batteries.
The award was presented to the interfaith signers of the Earth Keeper Covenant,
including the Rev. Grant Lobb, Marquette District superintendent of the United
Methodist Detroit Annual (regional) Conference, which has 8,372 parishioners and
60 northern Michigan churches.
“Appreciation for creation is very easy here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,
where the Great Lakes surround us with their beauty,” Lobb noted.
“We know that if the generations to come are to also enjoy these bodies of
water, we need to continue the efforts of preventing any further damage to the
lakes, and cleaning the area as well as we can,” he added.
Lobb said he was pleased that United Methodists of the Upper Peninsula, in
partnership with the Earth Keepers, have been recognized for environmental
stewardship. “We United Methodists understand that being good stewards of God’s
wonderful creation is a vital part of being committed Christians.”
The Earth Keeper project is coordinated by nine faith communities — United
Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Unitarian-Universalist,
Bahá’í, Jewish and Zen Buddhist — as well as two environmental groups, the
Central Lake Superior Watershed Partnership and the Cedar Tree Institute; two
dozen core team members across the Upper Peninsula; and the newly formed
Northern Michigan University student branch.
“The Watershed Partnership has never coordinated a more successful pollution
prevention than the Earth Keepers,” said Carl Lindquist, executive director of
the Central Lake Superior Watershed Partnership.
“Last year, they collected over 40 tons of hazardous household waste, then over
300 tons of electronic waste and we’re already planning future Earth Keeper
projects,” he continued. “Clearly, Earth Keepers is one of the most effective
public programs I’ve ever seen to help protect the Great Lakes.”
The Rev. Jon Magnuson, Earth Keeper Initiative co-founder and founder and
director of the Cedar Tree Institute, said the group will continue developing
projects to protect Lake Superior and its tributaries.
“Our efforts are part of a new awakening of a deep prophetic theme hidden in the
great religions of the world,” said Magnuson, the Lutheran campus pastor at
Northern Michigan University. “This award is a special sign of encouragement and
hope to continue this special work to protect and celebrate Lake Superior.”
The Lake Superior Binational Program was formed by the United States and
Canadian governments to protect Lake Superior and oversee uses of the largest,
deepest and cleanest of the Great Lakes.
|A UMNS photo by Will Shampo
than 300 tons of electronic waste was collected in April for Earth Day
2006 by United Methodists in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The Earth Keeper team received the environmental award in the community group
category for the United States because of its “outstanding efforts to restore or
protect the natural environment in the Lake Superior basin,” according to a
letter from Lissa Radke, the U.S. coordinator for the binational forum, a
citizen group for the Lake Superior Binational Program.
Primary funding for the Earth Keeper Clean Sweep project comes from a grant from
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with grants from Thrivent
Financial for Lutherans.
For information about how to organize a “clean sweep,” call Lindquist at (906)
228-6095 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Peterson is a local news reporter and volunteer media adviser for Earth Keeper.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or