Category Archives: About Us

Thanks to Bishop Eaton for her Earth Day Message!

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.

Christyn Kochmann

Christyn is a second-generation ordained ELCA pastor and first-generation environmental activist. Her experiences at a Lutheran summer camp in Ohio led her to seminary in Berkeley, California, where she met her husband and also her love for environmental stewardship. She’s especially passionate about using modern media and Christian theology to share the good news of caring for creation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese language and philosophy from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Camp Tomah Shinga (ELCA), Junction City, KS, and has previously served as a Bishop’s Associate in the Central States Synod.
Christyn’s current call is as a hospital chaplain outside of Kansas City, where she also serves as co-pastor alongside her husband in an ELCA redevelopment congregation.

Herb Wounded Head III

Campus Pastor at University Lutheran Center – South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota

I enjoy being involved in a larger organization and network with people who have a similar interest in advocating for justice in God’s creation.  It’s challenging to think on a broader level of how we can impact the lives of the next generation and to use our gifts for good.

Part of my personal theology is creation care and care for the environment.  I see the Lakota spirituality of Mitakuye Oyasin (All are related) as primary in how I view my neighbor and in how I view the creation.  All things are related and we need to treat each other, and the creation as God’s good gifts to us.  We cannot follow Christ fully if we are unable to faithfully care for all that God has made. 

Inspirations and gratitude: a Thank You Card for God’s Good Earth

In honor of the High Peaks region of the White Mountain National Park, N. Conway, New Hampshire

From Lawrence Ryan

With love for the North Shore of Minnesota!

Thanks to the people of Creation Keepers Ministry at St. Andrew’s Lutheran, Columbia, MO

David Rhoads!
Your stories, your wisdom, your dedication, your friendship.

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.

For those who advocate & steward well for the Earth!

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

Phoebe Morad
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.

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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:

 

Katrina Martich

Katrina Martich is a speaker, trainer, and consultant, who helps organizations find holistic approaches to today’s environmental challenges. To this task she brings over twenty years of practical experience as an environmental engineer in public and private sector positions.  In addition to running her own environmental consulting company, Katrina has been an adjunct instructor for The University of Texas at Arlington and completed an internship with the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy.  Katrina grounds her approach to environmental challenges in the justice tradition of the Abrahamic faiths, with a focus on personal and business practices that allow all people and life to thrive in this world.

Katrina has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from Auburn University and a Master of Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.  In 2013, Auburn University’s Department of Biosystems Engineering (formerly Agricultural Engineering) honored Katrina with its Outstanding Alumna Award.  She is a consecrated deaconess by the Lutheran Diaconal Association, a licensed professional engineer in Texas and New Mexico, and a Certified Professional in Sediment and Erosion Control.  Katrina lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband and three rescued cats.  In her spare time, she volunteers at an equitherapy facility and enjoys hiking, working in the yard, and watching birds.  Contact her at 817-471-0520 or contact@katrinamartich.com

Johan Bergh: Luther as Environmentalist

Download, read, and share widely this brief reflection from active disciple, Dr. Johan Bergh.  In his piece, published in the Trinity Review (2013), Bergh relates the framework of grace and neighbor love with how we are to understand the role of public action in our church.  Read more recent reflections on his blog: www.greengracepostings.blogspot.com

“God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does.” – Martin Luther

Download the six-page excerpt from Trinity Seminary Review here: Johan-Bergh-Published-Journal-Article-Luther-as-Environmentalist.pdf

Dr. Johan Bergh, ACC

Johan serves as Pastor for St. Philip Lutheran Church, Mt. Dora, FL., and is an International Coach Federation ACC Coach, ELCA Coach and Coach Mentor and ELCA Licensed Coach Trainer. He volunteers his service by coaching ELCA leaders and mentoring ELCA Coach-In-Training rostered leaders. He currently serves as Coaching Ministry Coordinator for the Florida-Bahamas  Synod and serves on the ELCA Churchwide Coaching Ministry Team as well as a level II Natural Church Development Coach. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 2006 with a concentration in Discipleship and Leadership (M.Div., Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH 1981). His Bachelor of Science, Natural Resources, Environmental Interpretation (The Ohio State University) degree provides an environmental studies background for his current work as a Green Faith Fellow (www.Greenfaith.org)

He and his wife Janet have been married 39 years and have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.  He enjoys golf, running, hiking, fitness exercise, reading, biking, spinning, and good friends!

-Life and Missional Coach: http://www.beinganddoingmatters.com

-Coaching Ministry Coordinator, Florida-Bahamas Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: http://www.fbsynod.com

Energy Stewardship

Lutherans have had a tremendous history with being good energy stewards – but we have a LONG way to go.  There is a broad range of steps to be taken that all make progress in the long run for the environment and for a congregation’s budget.  Our houses of worship can either be a beacons of sustainability to our neighbors or a draw on the community’s power  – what does God call of us?

  • Find out if there is an Energy Steward you would like to contact within our ELCA networks in facilities and investments who could give you advise by looking at our Map (click here).
  • Explore the FREE EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program (which has more Lutherans registered users than any other denomination – so far). Check out (click here) their entire pdf guides here for free.
  • Be inspired by reading about stories from the ELCA realm who have had great experiences saving energy while freeing up more money to be used in other ministries!
  • Reach out to your local utility and/or regional Interfaith Power and Light for insight as to local support for energy savings and alternative choice options.

 

Sarah Habermehl Locke

Campus Minister, Jacksonville Campus Ministry

Sarah Locke is currently the campus minister for Jacksonville Campus Ministry in Jacksonville, Florida. Previously she served in various capacities at Jacob’s Porch (Ohio State’s Lutheran Campus Ministry), and Gamecock Lutheran (University of South Carolina’s Lutheran Campus Ministry). In 2012 she began seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in South Carolina where she met her husband Daniel. They now both serve in Jacksonville as pastors and try to keep up with their son Bennet and husky Cooper.

Nick Utphall

I’m pastor of Advent Lutheran in Madison, Wis., a congregation paired with Community of Hope UCC as the ecumenical partnership Madison Christian Community (www.MadisonChristianCommunity.org). With a purpose of “living faithfully and lovingly with God, neighbor, and creation” the MCC practices a variety of environmental initiatives with solar panels, pantry gardens, prairie restorations, occasional honeybee residents, and more. I am a bike commuter, mediocre birder, inattentive gardener, and simple camper. I keep track of some of my words at https://utphall.wordpress.com/ nick@theMCC.net

 

 

 

Map of LRC Care for Creation Ministries

Explore our emerging LRC Green Teams, meet a “Green Shepherd” near you,  get help from someone who has experience saving money and resources as an Energy Steward, contact a church who has made a Covenant with Creation and support one another in your Action Plans, or find a local eco-faith group that can build bridges in your community.  Please feel free to contact any of these LRC liaisons for more information about the work they are doing!

For other ways to learn from and share with Lutheran creation care ministries in all their forms—like our connection calls—visit our connection page.

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Lutherans Restoring Creation’s YouTube channel

Visit our Youtube Channel to see “liked” videos, uploaded videos, and playlists. Or scroll through our playlists linked here:

 

Dennis Ormseth

Dennis Ormseth served from 1991 to 2005 as pastor of Lutheran Church of the Reformation in St. Louis Park, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that emphasizes care of the earth as part of its mission. In retirement, he has served on the executive committee of Congregations Caring for Creation, an interfaith network promoting care of the earth as integral to spirituality and social justice in Minnesota congregations of faith. Holding a Ph. D. from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Dr. Ormseth is also a graduate of St. Olaf College and Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He taught religious history and the history of Christian thought at Luther Seminary and Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was campus pastor for Lutheran students at Purdue University in Indiana. Article in the June 2011 issue of The Lutheran magazine about Lutherans Restoring Creation, featuring Dr. Ormseth.  dennisormseth@gmail.com

Praise for Dr. Ormseth’s Commentaries
“The good thing about what Dennis is doing is that there might be some people who would want to do kind of a green overlay on the texts, but Dennis is doing this from the assumption that care of God’s creation is one of the very bases of Trinitarian faith. This is not an extra little tidbit we could add, but this is in fact something that we have missed in our looking at the texts from the beginning. I use [the commentaries] as part of my sermon preparation along with other commentaries and reading the texts and doing the language study myself. So it’s just one more thing I look at.”

The Rev. Tom Mundahl, Lutheran Church of the Reformation in St. Louis Park, MN

“I respect Dennis and a lot of his insights, so I want to pay attention to what he’s paying attention to. [The commentaries] stimulate my thinking and also my sermon preparation. I look at them most of the times that I’m preaching. I preach about the environment on occasion, and I try to weave this into both sermons and prayers. Dennis comes at the texts from an interesting angle or a different angle than a lot of other places, other resources do. And so it’s a good way to see both the richness of texts as well as to think through the wholeness of creation.”

– The Rev. Erik Strand, Edina Community Lutheran Church in Edina, MN

Kim Winchell, Deacon*, ELCA:

I am a life-long Lutheran and have been involved in a variety of ELCA efforts to promote the care of creation since the early 1990’s. Back then, my professional work was as a Medical Technologist [B.S. Univ. of Michigan, 1976], and I worked in a hospital laboratory for 24 yrs.

But my increasing passion for, and work in, faith-based environmental advocacy and organizing efforts [conferences, workshops, climate change work] ultimately drew me into what was (then) the diaconal ministry roster of the ELCA. I remember having a feeling akin to Jeremiah’s “fire in my bones,” and that “earthkeeping ministry” was something I just had to do. I earned my M.A. in Pastoral Ministry in 2004, and was called and consecrated as a Diaconal Minister for Earthkeeping Education & Advocacy in 2005, for the N/W Lower MI Synod of the ELCA. I served in that role, within my synod and beyond, from 2005-2013.

Though I am currently on leave from call, I was fortunate to have been a voting member at the ELCA 2016 Churchwide Assembly. In that capacity, I participated in moving forward a resolution to call for the choice of fossil-fuel-free investment options in ELCA investments and pensions. Over the years I have also written several reflections, articles, and the small group study guide, Awakening to God’s Call to Earthkeeping (2007). I have felt so very blessed to be able to share my passion for tending and mending creation with others, especially through the work of Lutherans Restoring Creation, as we all work together to more faithfully answer God’s call to earth-keeping.

*By action taken at the 2016 CWA, the ELCA has changed the name of the lay and diaconal rosters to now be termed “Deacons” and “Ministers of Word and Service.”

Richard J. Perry, Jr.

Richard J. Perry, Jr., professor of church and society and urban ministry, has been on the faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago since 1996. After his ordination in 1977, Perry served Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gary, Ind., for three years. His experience in urban and multi-cultural ministries was honed as director of inclusive ministries for the North Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, and as director for Black ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). In 1999, he co-chaired the International Planning Committee for the Conference of International Black Lutherans held in Wittenberg, Germany, where he presented the paper “Justification and Racial Justice.” He was also a presenter at the first consultation between African and African-American Lutheran Theologians in Harare, Zimbabwe; and chaired the working group on racism in the church and society at the Lutheran World Federation’s Seventh Assembly in Budapest, Hungary.

H. Paul Santmire

H. Paul Santmire has been a leader in the field of ecological theology and ethics for more than forty years. Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), he has served as a teaching theologian, churchwide activist, and parish pastor. He is the author of Brother Earth: Nature, God, and Ecology in a Time of Crisis (1970), The Travail of Nature: The Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology (1985), Nature Reborn: The Ecological and Cosmic Promise of Christian Theology (2000), Ritualizing Nature: Renewing Christian Liturgy in a Time of Crisis (2008), Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality (2014), and Behold the Lilies: Jesus and the Contemplation of Nature (2018). He was one of the theological writers of the ELCA’s 1993 social teaching statement on the environment, Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice. Paul has been a critical voice for ecojustice and the celebration of nature since he first completed his Harvard doctoral disseration on Karl Barth’s theology of nature in 1966 and subsequently became a champion of ecofeminism at Wellesley College, where he served as Chaplain and Lecturer in Religion for twelve years. He is eager to continue to support the commitments of a new generation of church ecojustice advocates and activists.

Keith A. Mundy 

With more than twenty years of experience in stewardship ministry, Keith A. Mundy currently serves as Assistant Director for Stewardship Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  For more than ten years, Keith has served ELCA congregations and synods by engaging leaders in the formation of healthy and missional congregations.  This ministry has included earthkeeping and caring for creation as part of a holistic understanding of being a steward. In his own words, “I think of myself as a servant of Christ with a passion for God’s creation and growing faithful stewards.  As we continue our faith walk, we become more aware of how God is calling us to act justly and walk humbly with God in caring for creation.”