CUMBERLAND — A Cumberland church is hosting a free earth-friendly festival Saturday to entertain and educate the public on a variety of environmentally conscious activities.

The Green Festival — billed as “a mingling of art, eco-justice and spirituality” — takes place from 3-6 p.m. on the grounds of Cumberland First Baptist Church, 116 S Muessing St. in Indianapolis, just west of the Hancock-Marion county line.

Nationally known recording artist Carrie Newcomer will perform in the church sanctuary after the festival from 6-7:30 p.m.

The church has built a reputation as an ecological leader in the historic Cumberland neighborhood, where it sits just a block south of the Old National Road.

The 3.2-acre church campus, called Sacred Earth @ Cumberland, features a walkable labyrinth, native prairie installation, pioneer cemetery, memorial gazebo, active bee hives and public art.

“We’ve been developing Sacred Earth @ Cumberland to be a walkable environment and artscape the public can enjoy,” said pastor Wyatt Watkins, who has led the church over the past 21 years.

While the church has no more than 150 members, Watkins said they are committed to being good stewards of the earth.

“We’re not a large church by any means, but we try to do our part,” he said.

“We deeply believe that the earth is the Lord’s and that we are here to preserve and care for it. We understand we’re at a critical juncture now in terms of creation itself, that creation is at its most vulnerable, and we want to be on the frontlines of those who want to do something about it.”

The new Green Festival was the brainchild of the church’s Cumberland Arts ministry, which hosted the Cumberland Arts Festival in the decade leading up to when COVID brought public events to a temporary halt.

The organization opted to change directions this year by offering an earth-focused arts festival to the community.

Watkins said the festival will feature lots of hands-on activities and exhibits for all ages.

“We have partnered with different advocacy groups around the neighborhood to promote environmentally responsible practices,” he said.

Visitors can take guided tours of the church’s 11-stage labyrinth and native prairie and watch beekeeping demonstrations.

Cumberland town historian Joanie Curtis will talk about the historic pioneer cemetery the church maintains while representatives from Flanner Buchannan will share information on green burial practices.

Members of Care for Creation, a ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, will be on site knitting single-use plastic bags into mats for those experiencing homelessness while Black Leaf Vegan will have a food truck promoting earth-friendly food options.

Solar United Neighbors, the national association of solar power owners and supporters, will be on hand touting the benefits of solar power, using the Cumberland church as a prime example.

“We have a 36-panel solar array on our roof, like quite a few churches on the east side (of Indianapolis) do, so we want to teach people more about that,” said Watkins.

Other festival exhibitors include Hoosier Environmental Council, Earth Charter Indiana, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainability, also known as SustainIndy.

Watkins said festival proceeds will help Victory College Prep, a low-income charter school on the near southeast side of Indianapolis, acquire a solar powered pergola for use as an outdoor classroom.

“This will add to their arsenal of outdoor learning,” said Watkins, who hopes the festival does the same for all who visit this weekend.

The festival is just part of the church’s year-round efforts to demonstrate and promote earth-friendly practices, said the pastor.

“We’ve done two pretty large-scale tree plantings through Keep Indianapolis Beautiful,” he said. “Just last year we planted 66 additional trees on the grounds. Other than driving our mowing crew crazy, it’s been a wonderful thing.”

Newcomer posted her excitment about the upcoming concert through her social media platforms.

The popular singer and environmental advocate, who has produced 19 solo CDs and received numerous awards for her music and related charity work over the years, expressed having a soft spot in her heart for the upcoming Green Festival.

While the festival is free, tickets to the concert cost $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-18. Those 5 and under are free.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit