The Central Cares for Creation (C3) Ministry Team of Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis wanted to do more for God’s Creation and be a model for its community and other congregations. The Team embarked on a “year of water” in conjunction with a storm water management project. A mandate from the City of Minneapolis required the roof drains of the church to be disconnected from the sanitary sewer and redirected to discharge outside onto grade or directly connected to an available storm drain. Central determined that a more extensive storm water management system would be a more environmentally responsible course of action. With the receipt of a grant for $50,000 from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization to assist with the project, a detention system was installed underneath the parking lot which allows storm water to soak into and be naturally cleaned by the soil. This reduced flow of water in to the City’s storm water system is helping to extend the life of the City’s system.
Another benefit for Central is the reduced monthly fees paid to the City’s storm sewer utility. The project serves as an ongoing showcase of Central’s commitment to sustainability while enhancing the environment by reducing storm water runoff and water pollution in the Upper Mississippi watershed. A key component of this project was education. A comprehensive year-long emphasis titled “Water: The Source of Life”, organized by the C3 Team, was launched with an adult forum on the storm water management project. The C3 Team taught four sessions on water as a resource to Sunday School children Age 4 through Grade 5 and junior and senior high youth were provided information on storm water management and water as a resource. The sessions were designed to help youth understand that common individual behaviors have the potential to generate storm water pollution.
The awareness generated through this project in the congregation has created an interest and sensitivity that will likely continue into the future. Members and friends have acquired knowledge about water and the environment that will impact future decisions individually and in the community.