Fort King Presbyterian Church Celebrates 10 Years as an Earth Care Congregation

Fort King Presbyterian Church in Ocala was the first church in our presbytery to sign on as an Earth Care Congregation in 2012. At this year’s Earth Day Celebration on April 24, they plan to have their congregation renew the Earth Care Pledge during their worship service. This year’s theme is “Tree-ology” with worship, music, and educational activities related to the wisdom and theology of trees. They collected names for a free raffle of a lovely pink and white azalea to be given away that day.  They also encouraged members to bring in one or more potted plants to be shared with others and put in a circle around the chairs which will be set up outside for Earth Day.

During April 2022, their book table (in the sanctuary) includes a wide variety of books on display related to trees, ecology, and gardening. Charlanne Brown, chair of Fort King’s Earth Care Committee, shared that other educational programs for the congregation and wider community have focused on topics related to Earth Care such as the Oklawaha River Restoration project, discussing green burials at Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, and God’s Wonderful Creation. The community-wide Art 4 All program is also committed to art projects which encourage reusing / repurposing art materials.

Fort King Church collects plastic bags and wrappings and Styrofoam which is then taken to be recycled. There is a recycling dumpster on the Fort King campus and they encourage members to use it if they don’t have recycling pickup at their homes. 

Fort King is blessed to have three members who have finished their training as master gardeners and answer questions for people in the community, help care for the Cooperative Extension gardens as well as the church gardens. They try to plant only Florida native plants and have taken out some invasive species. The church’s beautiful gardens are evidence of their hard work and commitment (see photos below).

As the congregation celebrates 10 years as an Earth Care Congregation, they remain committed to living out their pledge.

Contributors: Charlanne Brown and Pastor JoAnne Dyson