“The site and my blog are part of my work to inform, equip, and inspire people to live in ways that honor the diversity of life on planet Earth. This work results from a lifetime of seeing how we are all connected by natural systems. ”
As a grassroots movement, Lutherans Restoring Creation aims to support and advocate Creation Care work throughout ELCA communities. At our June 20, 2020 Board of Directors meeting we officially recognized the significance of Presiding Bishop Eaton’s 2020 Earth Day message (read in full here).
“…thanks Bishop Eaton for her Earth Day message and her lifting up of Lutherans Restoring Creation.”
excerpt from Minutes of June 20, 2020 LRC’s Board of Directors’ Meeting
We are eager to grow together with church-wide offices in this critical ministry as Creation Care Ambassadors and Coaches flourish, more Congregations sign Covenants with Creation and the emerging ELCA Sustainability Table guides collaborative and action-based progress.
Being church together doesn’t have to mean we have one mind. Listening to the Holy Spirit within each of our stories can help us move beyond disagreement and confusion. There is no one way to help us along this journey, but there are many resources to help us find common ground. Below are some suggestions – please let us know if you have experience with these or other tools you want to share.
Talanoa Dialogue – Read the history (click here) of this telling/listening process based on three foundational questions:
>Where are we now?
>Where do we want to go?
>How do we get there?
View sample workshop on how to share this method (click here).
World Cafe Method – There is a whole community of facilitators with online advice (click here) who can help you figure out how to use this manner of group decision making. This is a great format when you have people together who already care about an issue but don’t know what steps to take next or feel like they aren’t hearing from all perspectives. Download an easy visual guide here.
Deliberative Dialogue – For a clear definition of this process of group engagement explore the National Issues Forum site (click here). For a whole toolkit using this process re: Climate Choices (click here).
- Communication tools from ecoAmerica’s BlessedTomorrow
- Find a Speaker near you to serve as an expert on how our faith can direct our actions – see map here.
- Request a Creation Care Ambassador to speak in (or virtually) to your congregation/community.
- Explore these recordings which can help you see these efforts in action or offer a shared experience to start a conversation.
As there has been continuing conversation and controversy emerging since Michael Moore’s film: Planet of the Human, we decided to share some feedback from a Lutherans Restoring Creation member. Thanks to Josh Thede, an active member of the Central States LRC Mission Table.
Our LRC community plans to discuss the broader challenge of how to make progress in this ministry when consensus on solutions seems vague, if not conflicting. Join our next Connection Call.
Both Project Drawdown and Pachamama Alliance have good resources to move forward.
This TED talk is a great overview of that concept (click here).
There may be a worthwhile conversation about infinite growth and GDP as a takeaway from the film. There is some interesting progress around “Donut Economics” (click here for TED talk).
More reflections in response to the film and considerations when moving towards a host of energy solutions:
The Rev. Sarah Locke and her son share how Caring for Creation expresses our Freedom in Christ:
Some of us bemoan the fact that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has not committed to entirely divest from fossil fuels as many others have (see latest cohort of 42 religious institutions). Some of us are wary of pulling out entirely from shareholder positions when we may be able to have more leverage to make change having a seat at that table. Others have a deep concern for all who are dependent on these economic systems, which many of us are complicit in driving every time we use a device or heat up our dinner.
There are many facets (explore below) involved with this complex issue which we are called to discuss and act on as people of faith. There are ways to move forward before we reach a church-wide consensus. Below are some of our responses, thus far, from regional resolutions to individual members lifting up a moral calling.
Where are you called to next?
Click on each below to hear stories and information we hope will inspire you to act and bring others with you:
- Reduce the demand for energy.
- Can your church or synod funds be divested? Contact other ELCA groups which have made this happen.
- Consider what a “Just Transition” would look like for the communities currently dependent on the fossil fuel industry.
- Ensure your pastor knows how to select the “green” Portico retirement funds.
- Learn about Carbon Pricing proposals in your area and discuss how legislation may affect the most vulnerable populations.
- Become a Creation Care Ambassador to share message of urgency and hope to move past controversy.
- Find out what local action is happening near you and encourage fellow members of your church to join you.
The general call to to action is simply: “Stay Home”. However, many can’t heed that call, even if they wanted to. When we are asked to care for our neighbors by stepping back, what are other ways we can lean in to understanding each other and practice moving forward in action?
The following is a selection of conversations, reflections, and emerging information. Consider what realities we have learned about our neighbors’ insecurity, the adaptability of humans under stress, the impact of policy decisions on our daily lives… and what does our faith give us as tools to fight any crisis?
Thanks to Tracey DePasquale, Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania who joined our Connections Call on May 6th, 2020 to help discern the definition of politics. Hear her commentary here, followed by a discussion including insight from Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA Advocacy, Director of Energy & Environment.
Resources mentioned and related to the call:
- May 19th – DETAILS & REGISTER (click): Join us for a conversation on the latest ELCA draft social message, Government and Civic Engagement: Discipleship in a Democracy, with the Rev. Dr. Roger A. Willer, Director of Theological Ethics in the ELCA.
- See a sample of the detailed considerations that come before official “statements”. Here are transcripts from Ruth Ivory-Moore May 7th in response to the ongoing rollbacks to EPA regulations during the pandemic. Download – click here – examples of Advocacy Office Work/Research
A Video Series by the EcoFaith Network,
NE MN Synod
Listen with us to the haunting Easter hymn, Now the Green Blade Rises, Look with us throughout this Jubilee year of Earth Day for the green blades rising in and for a wounded creation.
We hope that the Pacto Congregacional de Cuidado para la Creación will be useful to support Spanish-speaking congregations to reflect together about all the ways our faith is reflected in how we treat each other and share resources. The step-by-step supporting materials for this covenant can be found here (click).
Download pdf here: Pacto Congregacional de Cuidado para la Creación
For some more theological reference and guidance into next steps as you work through this process, download more here: Support For Covenant in Spanish.
From ELCA’s World Hunger team – a guide to start a church Community Garden (click here for Spanish version – free download!)
Contact us if you find other useful resources in Spanish or other languages you think we should highlight!
Atonement Lutheran Church - Overland Park, KS
From Lawrence Ryan
In honor of the Redwoods of John Muir Woods
For those who advocate & steward well for the Earth!
With love for the North Shore of Minnesota!
Thanks to the people of Creation Keepers Ministry at St. Andrew’s Lutheran, Columbia, MO
Your stories, your wisdom, your dedication, your friendship.
Big Bend National Parks
For my Grandchildren
In gratitude for our life-giving rivers and lakes
Matthew 6:26-29 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to your life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.”
- In honor of Zulu Davidson -
May we treasure all our elder creatures!
In honor of Jane Affonso, co-chair with me of the Southwest CA Synod Green Faith Team.
Psalm 104:14-21 You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.
In Honor of Dad & Mike
For all of your dedication, friendship, and hard work. :)!
Psalm 1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Phoebe Morad for her awesome job as Executive Director of Lutherans Restoring Creation!
Thanks to all the passion from the North West Pennsylvania Synod Green Team!
Genesis 1:20-23 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Pastor Dan, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fairfax, Va
As we recognize 50 years since the first Earth Day in 1970, supporters from across the nation say thanks by giving a donation to Lutherans Restoring Creation and lifting up the people, scripture, places, creatures which remind them of God’s love shown through Creation and our vocation to care for it:
On our April 2020 Connections Call, we lifted up numerous ways we can represent what the ELCA’s Creation Care stance offers and how to implement action from where we are each planted. Since we are all living in very different spaces and each know our own audiences best there seems to be a spectrum of resources. Below is a sampling which we can add to and will continually evolve. While there is no one size which fits all, we can all work in harmony to lift up the common language our faith offers.
From protesting to preaching to praying:
- Rev. Jonathan Barker’s new book: “Jesus Would Demand a Green New Deal”
- Debt: The First 5,000 Years – explains the concept of Jubilee in context.
- Some context (via resolution from Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod) of the Earth Charter as a framework for ELCA to follow since signing.
- Ideas behind a time of Jubilee via Rev. Kristin Foster of the NE Minnesota Synod (shared rough draft of brainstorming – click here)
Hi House of Prayer family (and any visitors!)
During this time of patchwork efforts as we navigate new tools and ways of being together I offer this “place” for now to keep adding tools so that you can take what you wish and utilize for an at-home worship/meditation. I hope that it helps to hear Pastor’s voice, know that the piano music comes from Lenae’s fingertips, and Kristen’s consistent efforts are still guiding us through worship every week in the attached bulletin. Our efforts in the community will only continue to be needed – and YOU are a part of our strength. Keep feeding your spirit so that you can be a help to others. Even apart, we are at work together through the body of Christ.
Below are this week’s (March 22. 2020) resources to pick/choose from. Just click on each and it should open automatically. Please contact me if you need help opening something. – Phoebe at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pastor Henry’s Sermon (should start automatically)
- Bulletin for 4th Sunday in Lent
- All of the music as you follow along with the bulletin (each one must be selected separately by double-clicking on the title)
Please remember friends – especially when we all aren’t there in person, your donation is a way to contribute your gifts to our community even while at a distance. Here is an easy link to make a secure online donation to House of Prayer. Or just send a check to 916 Main Street, Hingham MA 02360.
Since there are so many members of our ELCA community who live in agricultural areas and we all depend on food to sustain us; let’s explore how we can deliberately share the spectrum of ways our churches can inform members of opportunities, practice mindful eating, and love the wide array of neighbors who help feed us.
- Incentives for farmers to take on sustainable practices.
- How can YOUR church start a Community Garden – ELCA World Hunger gathered inspiration and practical tools: in English (click) or Spanish (click).
- Bring your faith to the table and act our your care for our farming neighbors.
- Thoughts on mindful eating from Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Nicole Newell, from March 2020 Connections Call (starting at minute 16)
- How can soil health slow climate change?
- What does Hunger have to do with Climate Change?
- What are alternatives to industrial/corporate farming and what does it take? The Biggest Little Farm can offer a great youth group or adult education activity.
- Consider what our fellow church communities in rural areas face as farmers are increasingly stressed-(read here).
- Compared to the idealized image of a farm, how do these images reflect the difficult and risky labor that goes into feeding others? How can you take these images with you to make decisions at the grocery store or next time you pray before a meal?:
While many are anxious and isolated during this time of response to a pandemic, we offer these reflections on this week’s readings. (If there are other recordings you wish to share as a balm to soothe and inspiration to act for the common good please submit them here.)
For such a time as this … Lexington Theological Seminary’s new Creation Care Continuing Education option for pastors and congregational lay leaders prepares you for more effective leadership as we unpack issues that directly impact ministry today. This six-course series is designed to meet the needs of today’s leaders in the church, allowing you to study online and earn 8 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within a 12-month timeline, culminating in a Certificate in Continuing Education. Beginning in September 2020, Creation Care will consist of the following courses:
- Sallie McFague Environmental Theology (September 2020) Dr. Emily Askew
- Climate Change: Caring for Our Planet, Caring for Ourselves (October 2020) Rev. Dr. Richard R. Coble
- Church, Society, and the Ethics of Global Warming (November 2020) Rev. Dr. Christy Newton.
- Food and Faith (March 2021) Rev. Dr. Wilson Dickinson,
- Creation Crisis Preaching and Worship (April 2021) Rev. Dr. Leah Schade
- Womanism, Creation Care, and Justice (May 2021) Dr. Mitzi J. Smith
Tuition – $1,100 + fees, with option for monthly payments and lump sum discount.
Applications must be completed by July 15, 2020. apply.lextheo.edu
- Video-stream a Care-for-Creation-themed worship for the whole community: explore samples and resources here.
- Ask your Council to commit to a Covenant with Creation – forward this link. Ask other churches in your synod to join you. (Short info-video: HOW to get started in your congregation!)
- Plant a tree! It can be that simple. Or for a whole curriculum connecting climate action to faith check out: “For the Love of Trees”
- Invite fellow members to complete a personal assessment of their relationship with God’s gift of creation: Print outs and online forms available for free here.
- Join an upcoming live Connections Call – or just listen in on some from the past. Each starts off with a group devotional of joy discovered.
Some Lutherans Restoring Creation have decided to take on a challenge of inviting at least 50 Congregations in their synod to make a Covenant with Creation in honor of Earth Day turning 50! Want to take take the challenge? Follow these steps below and let us know how it goes!
- Print out this invitation letter and Covenant (ask us if you want a word document to edit).
- Mail/e-mail it directly to ELCA churches in your area or create a spreadsheet to share the task with others (go to the ELCA Directory to get addresses in one place).
- Call their office within a week to ensure it was received and ask who in their church would be the best to follow up with personally. That person should make a date to present the Council with the Covenant (that process may take months – but a great way to get everyone thinking about this ministry!)
- Send your contact the Congregational Self-Organizing Kit if they are responsive to the idea. (A printed version would be good to share with their Council, but the whole kit is online too.)
- Encourage folks to submit their goals on our shared Action Plan form here so that we can connect folks locally and topically.
- Let us celebrate every step with you! Congregations with Covenants signed will be posted on our map and Goals Met/Events Hosted can be shared here.
- NOTE: a Covenant isn’t necessary to start a Creation Care Ministry in your area – just one way. Look at our Upcoming Events to see many expressions of how you can get involved.