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Church litter challenge a success

Litter cleanups may not be within the traditional purview of churches, but we think they are just the right project for churches to take on that will benefit their communities and God’s creation all at the same time.

Ten churches got involved this fall in the Church Cleanup Challenge organized by Keep Suffolk Beautiful. They coordinated cleanups — some churches did more than one — and brought 141 volunteers who may not have otherwise found a connection to a litter cleanup effort to pick up litter on the city streets.

Keep Suffolk Beautiful Chairwoman Kathy Russell said the committee believed it would be a worthwhile effort because churches are leaders in the community.

“They helped make our city a cleaner place to live, work, play and pray,” she said.

The churches that deserve the thanks for participating in this effort are Balm Church East Campus, Perfecting Saints COGIC, Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, Covenant Community Church, Oakland Christian UCC, St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Family Harvest Church, Bethlehem Christian Church, Trinity Christian Church and St. Paul Reformed Zion.

Litter cleanups are perhaps not the most common form of community service for a church, but we’re pleased to see these churches took the challenge seriously and embraced the project.

After all, the very first chapters of the Bible describe God’s creation of the world and everything in it, and He commanded the first humans to have dominion over it. It is the job of humans to ensure that the waterways, land, atmosphere and animals God created are well cared for.

Sadly, humans cannot be said to have done a good job at this task, and the reason litter cleanups are needed in the first place is a prime example. While most humans dispose of their trash responsibly, the detritus from those who do not seems to add up so quickly that volunteers cannot keep up.

These church leaders and volunteers, however, went out into the community, collected the things that were making it look dirty and threw them away, making the earth look new again. There’s an object lesson there about what Jesus did for us on the cross.

We appreciate the church leaders and volunteers who participated in this project and hope to see it again next year.