Jim Craig wears many hats at Asbury UMC including Church Leadership Team and Chair of the Asbury CDC Board. He was recently able to share with Michigan IPL regarding the ministries and goals for Asbury UMC and the benefit of participating in the Sacred Spaces program.
Asbury UMC began a sister non-profit organization called Asbury Community Development Corporation, which operates one of the largest urban farms in Michigan, with 17 hoop houses.
Mr. Craig, what can you tell us about Flint Asbury UMC?
Our congregation has been in existence at its current location since 1926. We have a sister non-profit organization called Asbury Community Development Corporation, which operates one of the largest urban farms in Michigan. Our church site has been a major distribution center for food and water since the beginning of the Flint "Water Crisis" many years ago that resulted in city water being contaminated with lead poisoning.
What is your congregation's spiritual or religious inspiration for practicing earth stewardship?
Flint city government has re-zoned large tracks of abandoned residential land into "Green Zone" land which now is a site of one of the largest urban farms in Michigan. Our congregation is proud to be part of this new stewardship of re-purposed land.
How do you understand environmental justice?
Our congregation responded to the crisis of lead poisoning in city drinking water by opening up our church site for the distribution of bottled water and nutritious food to residents affected by the contaminated municipal water system.
What’s one key take away that you hope your congregation and/or community gains from your participation in Sacred Spaces?
Our participation in the Sacred Spaces program will allow this congregation and the community it serves to benefit from much needed energy improvement measures, such as the replacement of an antiquated boiler and more energy efficient lighting.
Michigan IPL is very thankful to help Flint's Asbury UMC as they make needed upgrades to lighting and heating systems. With the financial savings through efficiency upgrades, there will be more available funds for vital outreach to the Flint community, and the many ministries and outreaches offered at Asbury UMC can continue to flourish!