1208 Rose Creek Dr, Woodstock, GA office@gslutheran.org +1 770-924-7286

Caring for Creation

Upcoming Events: Our next meeting is Wednesday, January 11, at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom.  All are welcome! Contact the office for the Zoom link.

“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts. With them we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen” (Lutheran Book of Worship).

As children of God, we recognize our call to care for creation.  Caring for Creation expresses a call to pursue justice for creation through active participation, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability, and states the commitments of the ELCA for pursuing wholeness for creation — commitments expressed through individual and community action, worship, learning, moral deliberation and advocacy.  Click the link below for the entire Caring for Creation statement:


Caring for Creation Covenant –(Read the approved covenant approved by the Good Shepherd Council)

This year our focus is on the education and communication of topics to help in reducing our impact on God’s creation.  We hope the information, events and resources listed below will be an inspiration and you will join us throughout this year of celebration!  Activities are currently being planned with the Fellowship, Outreach and Faith Formation committees.


We have regular meetings (via Zoom for now), monthly, on 2nd Wednesday of each month, at  7 PM. Contact Chairperson Reba Sumner, for more information. We typically meet via Zoom at 7 PM on the second Wednesday of the month.  Contact the church office or Reba for the link.

Read our most recent article about Sustainable Clothing:

Most of us have a tendency to buy what is being termed as “fast fashion” which refers to today’s trendy clothing that is intentionally designed to be consumed quickly and sold at low prices. We may wear them a few times and then throw them out for more trendier, inexpensive pieces.  Continue reading.

The fashion industry produces 100 billion garments annually—for 7 billion people
on earth. We send approximately 40 million tons of textiles to landfills or to be incinerated
every year. 60% of all clothing is made of synthetic fibers such as polyester, which is an oil
derivative containing high levels of microplastics. Washing synthetic clothing
releases microplastics and contributes to 35% of all ocean microplastic pollution.
As you shop….Continue reading

Hefty Energy Bag Recycling Program

Recently, you may have received promotional material in the mail for the Hefty Energy Bag program.  The material, which includes an orange plastic bag, gives the opportunity to recycle items otherwise not considered recyclable, such as plastic dinnerware and materials that fall outside the generally acceptable 1, 2, and 5 categories.

The program has been in existence for a couple of years, in test markets.  Early on, the program received negative feedback when it was discovered a lot of the materials turned in through the program were just being incinerated.  In response to the criticism, Hefty changed course, and now sends the materials through a process that ultimately make them available for other uses.

The marketing materials imply you can just put the filled bag with your other recycling. In Cherokee County, at least, this is not true. 

Ultimately, its better not to use plastic items at all.  Rather than use plastic dinnerware, use your standard dinnerware.  But, if you do use plastic, recycle as much of it as possible.  We encourage you to participate in the Hefty Energy Bag program.

We have a supply of these bags available in the Fellowship Hall for a donation of .50 cents per bag.  Fill the bags with hard to recycle items and bring back each month on the first Sunday of the month along with your Two-Can Sunday donations.

Click here for a link for many frequently asked questions, including what is acceptable in the Hefty Orange Bags.

Battery Recycling: 

We collect small batteries for recycling (size D and smaller).  A container is available in the Fellowship Hall.





Colgate Recycling Program

Please continue to bring in your old toothbrushes, empty toothpaste tubes, floss containers and all outer packaging.  This is a free program sponsored by Colgate, but all brands are accepted.  Please remove as much of the product as possible.  NOTE:  electric toothbrushes, battery toothbrushes and/or their parts are not accepted for recycling through this program.

Once collected, products are sent to TerraCycle where they are cleaned and melted into hard plastic pellets that can then be remolded to make new recycled products, such as outdoor furniture, playground equipment or other items.

Every year billions of pounds of oral care waste are sent to land fills.  Help reduce our carbon footprint.  We are caretakers of God’s Glorious Creation!

Reducing Single Use Plastics 

We can recycle many of these.  However, 90% of single use plastics are not recycled and go into our landfills.  We are looking for other ways to reduce these.   This letter from one of our members shows us there is another way.

Contacting a Company with an Environmental Critique, Suggestion, or Compliment

“So you’re not Greta Thunberg.  Not everyone can be an 18 year-old world-renowned, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and environmental activist.  But, you can still make a difference.

Next time you interact with a merchant put on your Greta Thunberg hat (the one made from recycled plastic or one that is sustainably produced), and ask yourself, “From an environmental perspective, how could this merchant do better?” Click here to read more…”

Other local recycling options include:

RECYCLING CENTER at Hobgood Park for glass, aluminum cans, cardboard, and recyclable plastic.

PUBLIX for Styrofoam egg cartons, trays, and fast food holders, think plastic, such as grocery bags, drycleaner bags, and film coverings on food items and paper including advertisements.

WAL-MART for ink cartridges and plastic bags LOWES for compact florescent light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, and plastic bags

BATTERIES PLUS for incandescent bulbs and non-alkaline batteries (They will recycle other bulbs and batteries for a charge)

Previous Caring for Creation Campaigns

Going Green in Cherokee County

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce is helping the county become more environmentally responsible through their “Going Green” initiative.

More details can be found at the Going Green section of the Chamber’s website: https://cherokeechamber.com/programs-events/.

At the website you’ll also find several valuable resources, including a guide to “reducing, reusing, and recycling” that is tailored to Cherokee County. It provides locations of local recycling facilities as well as general tips.

The Going Green initiative also encourages businesses to reduce their impact on the environment through its Going Green Recognition Program. You’ll find useful tips for saving energy and other resources on the Going Green Recognition Form on the Chamber website.

Love the Earth! -Share a Gift

Show your love for God’s creation.  Here are some helpful hints for some of the more traditional gifts:

Flowers: Rather than giving cut flowers, look for potted native plants that can then be planted in your yard or houseplants to enjoy through out the year.  Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water. In addition to providing vital habitat for birds, many other species of wildlife should benefit as well.

Chocolate: Be sure to look for Fair Trade chocolate. Fair trade certified products are free of genetically engineered ingredients, and must be produced with limited amounts of pesticides and fertilizers and proper management of waste, water and energy. In addition, cocoa used in fair trade chocolate is not harvested by children.  Often children are made to work in harsh conditions, some are forced to work and very few end up being able to go to school.  Locally, Sprouts and Whole Foods offer Fair Trade chocolate – and more stores are beginning to carry other Fair Trade items such as coffee, including Kroger and Aldi.

Diamonds or Jewelry: If you’re interested in jewelry, then select diamond rings/earrings/bracelets that were made using fairly traded diamonds.  Another jewelry suggestion is finding pieces made from recycled items or a beautiful vintage piece to complement your partner’s style.

Cards: Cards are a great and easy way to express your feelings to your partner in writing.  If you are looking to purchase or make a card, choose recycled or reclaimed paper products. Alternately, this year, use technology to show your partner how much they mean to you. There are lots of free e-card sites available so search one that you like and send it to your sweetie.

The best gift you can give doesn’t require you to generate any waste, just tell your partner three special words – “I love you.”

Happy New Year!

This month’s article is aimed at the youth of Good Shepherd and what they can to do to help care for creation. However, there is no reason all of us can’t practice these activities every day.

It’s that time of year when we think of changes we want to make or things we want to improve on in 2019. As a young person you may say what can I do? You can do a lot every day.

  • Save water:  Take shorter showers and turn the water off while brushing your teeth.
  • Straws: When you visit your favorite restaurant tell them no straw or ask do you have a paper straw?
  • Bottled water: Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste. Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, when you are playing sports or traveling.
  • Litter: Look around. If you see litter on the ground pick it up and put it in the trash can.
  • Borrow instead of buying:  Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.

These are just a few things that young and old alike can do every day to care for creation.

Watch this section over the next few months for more fun things we can all do.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Dinners

It’s that time of year again when families gather for delicious meals with one another over the holidays.  The Caring for Creation Team encourages you to try some of the tips below for an eco-friendlier holiday dinner.

  1. Plan your menu. Check to see what you already have in stock and only buy what you actually need.
  2. Buy in bulk what you can. Shop locally and try to use what’s in season with your dishes.
  3. While shopping, use reusable shopping bags (especially our fabulous Good Shepherd shopping bags). Try cotton or muslin bags for produce and skip the plastic altogether at the grocery store.
  4. Borrow items you may need from friends or family instead of buying new.
  5. In the kitchen, skip the foil pans and use real cookware. Replace parchment paper and aluminum foil with silicone baking sheets.
  6. For hand-washing and clean up, use kitchen towels or huck towels instead of paper towels.
  7. For decorations, use natural items like leaves, greenery and flowers.
  8. Use cloth napkins, real dinnerware and silverware instead of disposables at the dinner table.
  9. Invite guests to bring their own to-go containers.
  10. Store any leftover food in glass containers instead of using throwaways.
  11. Save scraps for stock (like soups) or toss into your compost pile.
  12. Recycle as much as you can whether it be packaging or food.

Sustainable Seafood: Eating for a Healthy Planet

 Wild fish populations are declining dramatically due to overfishing, lack of effective management, and over-consumption of various species. However, consumers can help sustain ocean life and reduce the pressure on over-harvested species by making wise choices concerning their eating habits. To assist in this effort, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has an educational program called Seafood Watch to help consumers make the best choices for the environment and for fish populations: www.seafoodwatch.org.

 The Seafood Watch website classifies seafood into three categories: best choices (fish that is well managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife), good alternatives (be aware that there are concerns with how the fish are caught or farmed), and seafood to avoid (species that are overfished or caught or farmed in ways that are detrimental to marine life or the environment). You can also search by name to see how a particular fish ranks. Download the Seafood Watch app for Android or iPhone so you will be fully prepared when you shop at the grocery store or eat out.

Those Ubiquitous Plastic Bags!

 Plastic bags, films, and wrappers are everywhere! But you can do your part to keep them out of the landfill – where they do not biodegrade. Think of the three R’s of environmental stewardship: reduce, reuse, recycle.

REDUCE: To reduce your use of plastic bags, carry your own Good Shepherd reusable tote bag (or similar bag) to stores when you shop.

REUSE: If you do find yourself with an abundance of plastic bags, you can often find ways to reuse them either at the grocery store, as trashcan liners, or to collect your kitchen scraps to take to your compost bin.

RECYCLE: Publix supermarkets offer bins for recycling of various items at their stores. They will take any brand of plastic shopping bags, as well as plastic sleeves from dry cleaning and newspapers, bread and bun bags, and even the outer plastic packaging from such items as toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, etc. All items should be clean and dry. In separate bins, Publix collects paper bags and Styrofoam meat trays and egg cartons.

Skip The Straw

Estimates vary, but millions of single-use straws and plastic stirrers are used every day, and they become trash that doesn’t biodegrade. Many end up in landfills, and they are among the top ten items of trash that are collected during the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Several corporations, including Starbucks, Marriott International, and American Airlines have announced that they will stop the use of plastic straws and stirrers. Do your part too, simply tell your restaurant server that you don’t want a straw with your drink, be sure to do so before the straw is put on the table because in many cases, for health reasons, once a straw is on the table, it can only be discarded – even if it is not used.

If you do want to use a straw, consider bringing your own. Stainless steel straws are becoming increasingly popular, so you can skip the plastic version altogether.

Want to do more with our Caring for Creation Team? Our next planning meeting is February 10th @ noon.

Tips To Care For God’s Creation

The caring for creation team would like to share with you some tips and information on how we can all take small steps to take better care God’s creation.  We hope the information below is helpful for you.

Check These Out:

“Green Team” SE Synod–Facebook Page

Lutherans Restoring Creation is a grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the ELCA.  The site contains information for Pastors, Congregations and Individuals – including a Personal Covenant, Devotions and many other resources available.

ELCA Advocacy works for change in public policy based on the experience of Lutheran ministries, programs and projects around the world and in communities across the United States.

Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GiPL) equips faith communities across the state of Georgia to care for creation through worship, education, and the stewardship of our natural resources.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.