Food & Sustainability
At Westminster, we engage such questions as: “How can we ensure that all people have access to healthy food? Are our daily eating practices reflective of our spiritual beliefs? How can food be a vehicle for putting those beliefs into practice?” To help guide us in our pursuit we strive to act on the precepts stated by the Enough for Everyone ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program:
“Our scripture and our tradition call us to care for the natural world so that all may live abundantly. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seeks to live in accord with the call to environmental justice (and) to assist individuals in living a just life that honors God.
At the heart of Enough for Everyone is deep concern for global economic justice and a commitment to live out our faith in Jesus Christ with integrity. We are called to proclaim release to those held captive by human structures and injustices. Living as global disciples means evaluating our lifestyle choices. Adopting changes for individual and congregational lifestyle integrity witnesses to our commitments to mission and justice for God’s people and God’s creation.”
Putting our Beliefs about Food & Sustainability into Action
Westminster Presbyterian Church invites you to our monthly Vegan Potluck (usually the third Thursday of most months, August through April). This meal is a great opportunity for Westminster members, Wooster community members, and College of Wooster students to enjoy delicious food and fellowship while learning more about sustainable living. Just bring a potluck dish containing no meat, dairy, or eggs (no need for students to bring a dish, but always welcome). Join us as we enjoy a variety of foods and flavors available in a plant-based diet. Read more here.
Westminster is part of this nationwide movement as we advance community gardening and partner with the Wooster Community Hospital's GreenPoint Garden. The garden is situated in town, but in an attractive, serene country setting just a quarter mile north of HealthPoint on Friendsville Road.
Fair Trade Coffee
Westminster serves Equal Exchange coffee at our Fellowship events and makes a difference cup by cup. Equal Exchange partners directly with over 40 small-scale farmer cooperatives around the world, and by serving their coffee we join a movement that is building a more just, equitable, and sustainable future together. We also purchase and use recyclable paper products like cups, napkins, and plates in an effort to try to minimize waste as much as possible.
Eco-Palms during Holy Week
Westminster makes intentional efforts to ensure our worship and liturgical practices sustainable as well. In preparation for Palm Sunday, Westminster orders palm branches through a company called Eco-Palms, which is a partner of Lutheran World Relief. This organization aims to ensure the harvesters of palms are paid fairly, while helping protect important forests and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities.
Typically, large floral export firms encourage over-harvesting: They pay by volume for palms and then throw away large amounts that aren’t "export quality." This over-harvesting damages forests where the palm plants thrive and impacts critical wildlife habitats in the process. Additionally, forests are depleted and palm-selling communities (often indigenous or working poor communities in tropical or sub-tropical regions of the world) lose this important source of income. What makes Eco-Palms different is how they're harvested in a socially and environmentally conscious way. Harvesters are paid a fair price per palm based on quality, so fewer palms are taken out of the forest, which protects important nature reserves and wildlife species. Community members sort, package, and sell the palms themselves — not via middlemen — so more of the money paid for the palms stays with the people who worked the hardest to provide them. These practices work to ensure a more ethically responsible treatment of forests and habitats and economic security for the workers who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.