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Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship

CONTACT INFORMATION:

2509 Berkey Avenue
Goshen, IN 46526
574-533-1729
office@berkeyavenue.org

Creation Care Advocate: Jennifer Schrock, jenniferhs@goshen.edu

About the congregation: Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship has an average attendance around 200. The congregation owns about 3.5 acres of land on the edge of a town of about 30,000. Corn and soybean fields begin just west of the church’s property. Many members of the congregation are white collar workers in the health or education sectors. A number are employed by nearby Mennonite institutions such as Goshen College and Mennonite Mutual Aid.

CREATION CARE ACTIVITIES:

Christian Education:
In 2007, Berkey Avenue sponsored a Vacation Bible School program with a creation care theme. The program was entitled, “All God’s Critters Day Camp” and focused on a “God’s-eye” view of food, water, other living things and human beings. Children began the week by making God’s Eyes (the Mexican craft) and also made birdhouses out of gourds. Each day, they spent about half their time on Bible study, singing, etc., and half of their time outdoors. They got acquainted with their own backyard and also visited an organic farm and a river.

Berkey Avenue attenders also studied the adult curriculum, Creation Care: Keepers of the Earth during winter quarter 2009.

Recycling: One result of discussions in the class mentioned above was a battery bucket. Someone suggested that the church help people recycle some of the less obvious objects that can be recycled. Batteries were an easy place to start. Because they can leach cadmium and heavy metals, batteries should be treated as toxic waste. The local toxic waste disposal site is 25 minutes away, so the congregation decided to pool their batteries and make fewer trips. It is a convenient way to encourage people to comply with best practices.

Gardening: In 2009, when a vote to build a larger building failed due to the economy, Berkey Avenue began a community garden for its members on its spare land. About two dozen people participated. This project generated a lot of good will and enthusiasm despite the weeds encountered. People were glad to be gardening with each other and happy that the land could be used for something positive since the plan to enlarge was not going to happen.

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