Portland churches join ‘plastics fast’ for Lent


Some people try giving up chocolate for Lent. Some people try letting go of anger or fears after their foreheads are dotted with Ashes at the beginning of the six-week holy season.

But several Portland churches, spurred on by First United Methodist Church, will be attempting to care more for their planet by reducing their use of plastics during the season of Lent.

“It’s a theological issue,” said Rev. Josh Kingsley, minister of discipleship from First UMC PDX. “We are in relationship with everything around us.”

Kingsley said the idea started with a couple of the creation care teams at their church and then, knowing that there were similar groups at other churches, they reached out and found First Unitarian Church, First Presbyterian Church, and Lincoln Street UMC all had interest and passion for supporting this effort.

“It was a network of people who knew people,” Kingsley said.

Using a “Plastics Free Pilgrimage” calendar originally developed by the Church of England, Kingsley said local churches participating tailored it to local ideas and give people daily and weekly things to think about.

“It’s sort of like an advent calendar,” Kingsley said. “Every day there is a new thing to look at.”

The six weeks are divided up into different parts of one’s home and the plastic consumption to consider in each, as well as food and grocery consumption.

The suggestions might be as simple as bringing reusable bags to the grocery store or, when thinking about the plastics used in your bathroom, consider switching from throw-away razors to ones with reusable blades.

“Ultimately it’s a tool for observation,” Kingsley said.

Download the calendar and join the plastics fast.