Category Archives: Advocacy

Stewarding God’s Creation: Science Matters

By Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA Program Director for Environment and Energy

Divine wisdom is apparent in the created order and guides how we are to live in it….Human wisdom…allows us to make use of God’s gifts and deploy them in ways to give us a better understanding of this world; and to follow through on our mandate to be stewards of all of creation. We use wisdom in science to gather together scientific information and discoveries to further our understanding of our environment. [Read more]

 

 

 

Giving Voice to My Community and Bringing ELCA Advocacy Home

Giving Voice to My Community and Bringing ELCA Advocacy Home

By: Fumi Liang, Huntington Beach, CA

I am Fumi Liang from Huntington Beach California and I want to tell you a story about a group of senior citizens who are trying to make a difference in caring for the environment.

My friend Dick started a program called “Paper Rollers” many years ago. About 20 seniors came to church every Thursday to make 20 lbs of newspaper rolls and sell them to a floral company. When Dick passed away, nobody wanted to take over his job to organize this program. As a leader of a senior ministry at my church, I could have moved away from this project, but I didn’t want Dick’s legacy to die. So I took over and I’m glad I did, because I found out how much these seniors care about the land our God created.

The seniors in my church worry about how we’re not taking care of the land we live. They want to continue to do as much as they can to keep our land healthy for their next generation. They taught me, through their action, to be deeply concerned about our environment and the effect climate change will have on my grandchildren’s lives. I sincerely hope that through the Green Climate Fund, government can help combat climate change so we can keep the earth green and clean.

This is the message I gave when I met with the offices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Scott Peters on Capitol Hill as part of the ELCA’s Advocacy Convening in Washington, D.C. last year.

This convening occurred in the midst of Pope Francis’ visit to Washington. It was the time for the ELCA to get together with the Episcopal Church to share prayers, formation, and practice of our baptismal mandate to strive for justice and peace. This was the first time that ELCA Advocacy invited community leaders from across the United States to attend the event alongside ELCA bishops. I was one of 17 community leaders invited to attend and learn how to become an effective Advocate. Having said that, I was very nervous about participating because I didn’t have any idea about what I would be expected to do.

I knew nothing about ELCA Advocacy; who they are and what they do for what purpose. Everything was new to me. I just had to trust and asked God to give me His extra mercy to guide me through this new challenge.

I was impressed by one of the speakers who emphasized how important it is for us to be truthful when we talk about the issue that matters to us. I always thought that religion and politics should never mix together. However, I discovered during my time in Washington that it could work beautifully if the contact between religion and politics was not for the disputes of powers, money and fame but for the purpose of serving people. After all, people come to church for help and comfort. They want to find the answer of their needs and heal for their pains. If church cannot do that for them, who else can?

Through my participation in the 2015 Advocacy Convening, I realized that the ELCA’s Advocacy ministry can help provide opportunities to make a difference. While in Washington, we urged Congress to provide appropriate funding for global health and refugee services, emergency food assistance, and other development programs through the international Affairs Account; to promote robust structures that help developing countries adopt clean energy technologies and adapt to climate change impacts through the Green Climate Fund; and to protect children and families in Central America by investing in poverty reduction, human rights, and citizen security.

Prior to meeting with Congress, I received training on how to address your opinion effectively. I practiced and prepared my own story and its relation to climate change and environmental issues. It was a great challenge for me to deliver what I wanted to say within 2 to3 minutes. I was grateful that Bishop Finck, Bishop Erwin, Mark Carlson of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy California helped me shape my story and present it during our meetings. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would voice my concerns on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

After I returned from my trip, I shared my experience with my senior group on Thursday during their “Paper Rollers” time. They were so pleased to know that the ELCA is concerned about our environment and that I was able to give voice to my community’s experience. When I saw their delighted faces, I felt really blessed because I didn’t just attend a fun event in Washington, I was also able to bring ELCA Advocacy home to them by sharing my experience.

 

 

 

 

Water and Ecotheology: Articles by Benjamin Stewart

Watershed Discipleship

Watershed Discipleship is a website and organization based on the idea that the best way to orient the church’s work and witness is through bioregionally-grounded planning and action which focuses on the actual watersheds we inhabit. The website includes a blog, links to articles by Ched Meyers and others, and information about watersheds. Read more: Watershed Discipleship Movement and Resources

Stewarding the Gift of Water: ELCA Advocacy Fact Sheet

Theological background and information on water stewardship globally, nationally, and locally. Under the “Find Your Watershed” section of the Factsheet you can click on the link to the USEPA site and input your zip code and you will be able to locate your watershed.
or go to the ELCA Advocacy Resources page.

Our Watershed Moment, a toolkit from the EcoFaith Network of the Minneapolis Synod

Our Watershed Momenta toolkit from the EcoFaith Network of the Minneapolis Synod, introduces the concept of a watershed and includes resources for theological reflection, worship, youth, education, advocacy, and water stewardship in the home.

2016 Churchwide Assembly Resolution Urging Stewardship of the Gift of Water 

Noting “the many biblical themes of renewal and liberation that water affords,” and the importance of watersheds for environmental justice and creation care, the Assembly resolved to promote awareness, appreciation and stewardship of watersheds and water.  Click here to read the resolution

Motion C: Resolution Urging Stewardship of the Gift of Water

2016 Churchwide Assembly

ASSEMBLY ACTION CA16.05.24 To adopt Motion C. ­­­

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture reminds us that “the Holy Habitation of the Most High” includes “a river whose streams make glad the city of God,” and that “waters of the sea may become fresh, so everything will live where the river goes,” and that “the Holy Spirit descended on [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove” when he was baptized in the River Jordan; and 2016 Churchwide Assembly: Legislative Update Friday, August 12, 2016 Page 11 of 14

WHEREAS, a watershed is the ground that water flows within as it moves toward a stream, river or lake, and is a natural boundary within God’s creation, unlike arbitrary and haphazard geopolitical boundaries, and all of God’s creatures live in a watershed; and

WHEREAS, many of the watersheds in this country are degraded, and this environmental damage leads to water shortages and a crisis that disproportionately affects people of color and people with lower incomes; and

WHEREAS, the ELCA social statement “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice” states that “We see the despoiling of the environment as nothing less than the degradation of God’s precious gift of creation,” and the social statement also reminds us that “congregations have various opportunities during the year to focus on creation… Thanksgiving, harvest festivals, and blessings of field, water, and plants and animals,” and encourages us to “observe Earth Day or Soil and Water Stewardship Week,” so as to protect and restore “natural and human habitats, including seas, wetlands, forests, wilderness, and urban areas”; and

 WHEREAS, “watershed discipleship” requires that Christians acknowledge that water lies both at the center of our Christian rite of baptism and our current ecological and climate crisis, thus deserving deep theological treatment; therefore, let it be

RESOLVED, that the ELCA, in Assembly, requests the Church Council to direct the appropriate churchwide unit to provide every active rostered leader with resources to locate each congregation within its watershed district, so that waters may be named and known in worship and intercessory prayers, and that theological and biblical themes may build awareness, care and thanksgiving for the gift of these waters; and let it be further

RESOLVED, that the ELCA, in Assembly, requests the Church Council to direct the appropriate churchwide unit to provide resources to congregations and individual members to encourage and support conservation and prayerful stewardship of water resources; and let it be further

RESOLVED, that the ELCA, in Assembly, requests the Church Council to direct the appropriate churchwide unit to continue to develop strategies and provide resources to support areas struggling with natural or human-caused disasters that impact access to clean water, such as water contamination, drought and floods, with an awareness that the impact of our environmental actions have disproportionate implication for communities of color with lower incomes; and let it be further 

RESOLVED, that the ELCA, in Assembly, encourages congregations to plan events outside their doors and within their watersheds, utilizing the many biblical themes of renewal and liberation that water affords. 

GreenFaith: Mobilizing God’s People to Save the Earth

GreenFaith: Mobilizing God’s People to Save the Earth gives concrete examples and tips that will help people of faith and worshiping communities engage in Earth care—in bold, life-giving ways. Each chapter has questions to guide personal study and group conversation.

Solar on religious facilities. Mass, multi-faith mobilizing. Spirituality that really brings people alive. The religious-environment movement is an awesome story.

Nobody tells it like Fletcher Harper, our Executive Director.

This spring, Abingdon Press released Fletcher’s first book – GreenFaith. Get your copy today and use it in a discussion group in your house of worship.

GreenFaith tells about outdoor spiritual experiences.Eco-teachings from the great religions. Congregations protecting the planet and reinvigorating their faiths. Activism that’s makes a major impact.

And with each chapter – discussion questions for small groups, and ways faith communities can get involved.

This is a great book at a critical time. I hope you’ll get GreenFaith today.

In faith,

Stacey Kennealy
Certification & Shield Director

Creation Care: Faith to Action May 19th, 2018

MAY 19th, 8-12
Come and join us at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center for a day of learning practical ways we can all respond to God’s call to care for the earth
with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Barbara Rossing

Rev. H. Paul Santmire writes for the rest of us

Behold the Lilies: Jesus and the Contemplation of Nature:  A Primer  (2017)

Read a chapter: From Lake Wobegon to the Streets of Manhattan: Behold then Follow

Behold the Lilies, by the Rev. H. Paul Santmire, draws from the riches of the author’s long-standing work in the theology of nature and ecological spirituality, especially from his classic historical study, The Travail of Nature (1985), and from his Franciscan exploration in Christian spirituality, Before Nature (2014). In this new volume, Santmire maintains that those who would follow Jesus are mandated not just to care for the earth and all its creatures but also to contemplate the beauties of the whole creation, beginning with “the lilies of the field.” His first-person reflections range from “Scything with God” to “Rediscovering Saint Francis in Stone,” from “Taking a Plunge in the Niagara River” to “Pondering the Darkness of Nature.” Behold  the Lilies offers brief spiritual reflections that can be read in any order, over a period of time. This accessible primer will be welcomed not only by those who have already identified themselves with the way of Jesus but also by others who are searching for a contemplative spirituality attuned to global ecological and justice issues.

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda & Scott Thalacker on Access Utah

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, a professor of Christian ethics, is the author of the 2013 book, Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation (Fortress Press). She gave a lecture at USU in the Tanner Talks series from the College of Humanites and Social Sciences. Dr. Moe-Lobeda joins us for Access Utah today, along with Rev. Scott Thalacker, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Logan.

Listen here: http://upr.org/post/cynthia-moe-lobeda-scott-thalacker-access-utah

Caring for Shishmaref and All of God’s Creation

By Nathan Detweiler

“Climate change is the biggest challenge that we face. Because of climate change we are forced to relocate within three decades,” Esau Sinnok said during a recent phone interview about Shishmaref. Esau was born and raised in this village in Alaska. He has recently become an outspoken advocate for Shishmaref and environmental conservation. [read more]

ELCA calling from “Vision and Expectations”

Stewardship of the Earth

“The people of God are called to the care and redemption of all that God has made. This includes the need to speak on behalf of this earth, its environment and natural resources and its inhabitants. This church expects that its ordained ministers will be exemplary stewards of the earth’s resources, and that they will lead this church in the stewardship of God’s creation.”

—From Vision and Expectations for Ordained Clergy of the ELCA.

Water Conservation in Your Home

Why conserve water:

  • Fresh water is a precious and scarce commodity in the world.
  • Develop the habit of rationing water, because sustainable lifestyle requires it.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by using less hot water.
  • Lower energy use at water facilities plants.
  • Protect the local watershed from polluted runoff.
  • Save money for other ministries.

Efficiency, Conservation, and Protection.

  • Efficiency refers to products put in place to save energy and be Earth-friendly.
  • Conservation refers to human actions to save energy and be Earth-friendly.
  • Protection refers to human actions to protect Earth from degrading products and processes.

Efficiency actions:

  • Purchase Energy Star appliances.  www.energystar.gov.
  • Put low flow aerators on faucets in kitchen, bathrooms, and wash stations.
  • Install low-flush toilets. Or use toilet balloons in older toilets to reduce water use.
  • Check faucets (+outside) and toilets regularly for leaks and runs. Repair immediately.
  • Install push-button faucets in bathrooms.
  • Set hot water temperature at moderate rate (around 140 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Install on-demand water heating system.
  • Put blanket (at least 3 inches) around standard water heater.

Conservation actions:

  • Do not let faucet run.
  • Run dish washer only when full. Wash small loads by hand.
  • Rinse dishes for the dishwasher in a bowl rather than under running water.
  • Store drinking water in refrigerator. Do not let the faucet run until the water is cool.
  • Avoid bottled water. Use safe water bottle to be refilled with tap water.
  • “Bring your own” safe reusable water bottle to be filled for use outside the home.
  • Avoid use of disposal. It uses a lot of water. Compost food scraps.
  • Wash cars by hand (sponge and bucket) rather than in carwashes.

Water Outside:

  • Use rain barrels to collect rain to water plants.
  • Native grasses require less watering. Avoid watering lawn at all.
  • Set the mower high to preserve moisture in the soil.
  • Mow less often and leave the grass clippings on the grass as compost.
  • Plant trees to provide shade that preserves moisture in the soil.
  • Plant drought resistant shrubs and flowers.
  • Use watering can rather than hose for plants and flowers. Avoid sprinklers.
  • If you water at all, do so early in the morning or in the evenings.
  • Put bird baths to provide water for birds, when and where it is safe for standing water.

Protect the Environment:

  • Do not put toxic items down the drain: cleansers, bleach, detergents, and so on.
  • Do not put grease, fat, or cooking oil down the drain.
  • Make grease balls with nuts and raisin to hang for birds to feed on.
  • Avoid use of pesticides or herbicides or weed killers. These will run off into the water shed and pollute local waterways.
  • Plant a rain garden containing special plants with deep roots that absorb water so it does not runoff from roofs into the watershed or water ways.

Educational actions:

  • Get the family on board.
  • Put up reminder signs: Attend to water leaks. Do not let faucet run. Run dishwasher when full.

Advocacy and Public Witness:

  • Restore degraded water habitats such as local streams and lakes.
  • Promote the preservation of wetlands.
  • Learn about water problems around the globe.
  • Advocate for policies and laws to slow global warming.
  • Oppose practices of extraction for oil, gas, or minerals that threaten water resources.