During the 2019 Churchwide Assembly the ELCA voted to officially sign onto the principals of the Earth Charter.
How does the Earth Charter fit into what ELCA has already committed to do and our way forward?
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Now what? How do we all make sure we live this out?
The Delaware-Maryland Creation Care Ministry group first started to shepherd this task for the ELCA Sustainability Table in the spring of 2020. Then by the fall, thanks to funding from the Stewardship of Life Institute, Organizing for Mission, and the Central States Synod (CSS) an inaugural group rallied together to be trained with organizing skills to see that churches know how to live out these principals. Within the first year the plan is to engage at least 20 churches within the MD/DE, CSS, Metro NYC and New England Synods. Learn more and follow this team on their group page:
Lutherans Embracing the Earth Charter!
See working group notes here (from May 2020) and consider how your synod (or just your congregation) may follow their lead:
As part of the Sustainability/Environment Table workgroup to implement the Earth Charter, the Delaware-Maryland Synod Creation Care Ministry decided to focus on principles 7.a. and 7.b. under II. Ecological integrity.
7. Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being.
a. Reduce, reuse, and recycle the materials used in production and consumption systems, and ensure that residual waste can be assimilated by ecological systems.
b. Act with restraint and efficiency when using energy, and rely increasingly on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
These were recommended because we believe these goals can be embraced and achieved by our congregations and because energy efficiency and adoption of renewable energy sources is critical to address our climate crisis.
As such, we developed an Eco-Resolution (see here) that was to be presented during this year’s Delaware-Maryland Synod Assembly in May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our assembly was cancelled, however we continue to share our message via digital means including videos we have produced.
Our Synod Council will vote on whether to pass the resolution and Larry Ryan produced a video to explain our objectives: YouTube link
- Awareness of the ELCA’s longstanding support of Creation Care and specifically the 1993 ELCA Social Statement on the Environment.
2. Awareness of the Earth Charter that was endorsed during Churchwide Assembly in 2019.
3. Implementation of portions of the Earth Charter working in cooperation with the ELCA Sustainability/Environment Table.
4. Engaging with congregations to help them be better stewards of creation as defined in our project “New Hope for Creation” that received funding from our Synod Connectedness Team.
In addition to our video on the Eco-Resolution, we asked Delaware-Maryland Synod Bishop Bill Gohl to produce a video that explains the Earth Charter at a high level : CLICK HERE
And as part of our outreach to congregations with our New Hope for Creation project, Charlie Bailey produced a video (click here) for his congregation that invites them to become better stewards of creation by becoming a covenant congregation, modeled after LRC’s Covenant for Congregation.
The Delaware-Maryland Synod Creation Care Ministry would be happy to engage with other Synods in implementing the Earth Charter and other creation care work.