Public Witness/Policy Advocacy: “Church exists to serve the world”
Hands-on project. Learn what environmental projects are happening in your area and what organizations are sponsoring them. Recruit members of your congregation to partner with them in the effort. Restore a habitat, clean up trash, plant trees.
Informational forums. Learn what environmental organizations are in your community and invite a representative of one or more to present a forum on their program. Promote the ways that your congregation can support their efforts. If you feel called to speak on climate change, there are tools available to help you communicate about the issue effectively according to behavioral science studies. Go to ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow site for a Moving Forward guide and consider taking their course to train others ineffective climate communication.
Legislative forum. Invite the head of the Lutheran Public Policy office in your area to preach and present a forum at your congregation. Or invite a local official familiar with local state and regional issues around the environment. If there is a critical issue in your area, plan a forum for information and conversation about it.
Action alerts: Invite members to sign up to receive action alerts via e-mail from ELCA e-Advocacy Network: http://www.elca.org/en/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Advocacy/Get-Involved. The process for contacting legislators is made very simple.
Partner with other faith communities. Join with others seeking to green their congregations. If no such organization exists, start one by asking the green team of one or more other congregations to meet with you and share ideas. Or, if you have been active for several years, offer to mentor another congregation in becoming a creation-care community.
These ideas are also shared in our congregational self-organizing kit. For more details, visit this page.
by Terra Schwerin Rowe
Five hundred years ago the Protestant Reformation inspired profound theological, ecclesial, economic, and social transformations. But what impact does the Protestant tradition have today? And what might it have? This volume addresses such questions, focusing on the economic and ecological implications of the Protestant doctrine of grace. In the spirit of ecotheologies resonating with the best of the Reformation tradition, this book develops a fresh reading of Luther’s theology of grace and his economic ethics in conversation with current reflections on concepts of the gift and gifting practices.
Read description and order in either hardcover or ebook format
EDUCATION: Adult Forum and Bible Study, eco-theology
Edmonds, WA – Edmonds Lutheran Church (ELC) installed a solar photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy for their facility in mid- February 2016.
The system was in part donated by A&R Solar, who has been working with the church for more than a year to make this vision a reality.
“Donating a system is our way of saying ‘thanks’ and giving back to a community that supported us, while also raising awareness to the fact that solar works in western Washington,” says Dave Kozin of A&R Solar.
Edmonds Lutheran was selected by the Solarize South County Community Coalition, a volunteer group of individuals who led the award selection process. The competitive application process took into account the suitability of the facility to generate solar electricity on site and to serve as a public educational tool.
Rev. Dr. Julie Josund, pastor at Edmonds Lutheran Church has had a vision of making ELC a more eco-friendly building for many years. “We believe the caring for God’s creation goes hand-in-hand with Christian faith. Having solar panels on our church actively visible is a perfect way to get the word out about renewable energy options to many people. We are thrilled to have this partnership with A&R Solar and look forward to a fruitful collaboration in sharing the benefits of solar energy to our friends and neighbors in Edmonds.”
“Doing social good is baked into our DNA at A&R. We believe that solar energy can make the world abetter place in a very fundamental way. The problem is that current incentives make it hard for the people that would benefit from solar energy the most–those in need and the non-profits that support them–to adopt the technology. We’re committed to helping those organizations and those people gain access to solar energy by donating our time and a share of our profits to projects such as the one for the Edmond’s Lutheran Church and Annie’s Community Kitchen,” said Reeves Clippard, Co-Founder of A&R Solar.
Statement of the Rev. Amy Reumann, Director, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania at the EPA Hearing on Proposed Methane Emissions Reduction Rule for Oil and Gas Operations.
*On June 28, 2017 there was a follow-up to this meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren – read here*
Working their Beliefs into the Public Sphere
On Earth Day 2016, a small group of people of faith visited Massachusetts’ Senator Ed Markey’s office in Boston to detail their hopes for the protection of a special part of the Atlantic ocean habitat. Months later, these advocates, and thousands of their peers, were grateful to hear that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts area was declared a Marine National Monument by President Obama as part of the Antiquities Act. While some faith leaders had been in the activist role before, there were a couple young people initiated into the practice of public involvement for the first time. Lydia Holleck, an 8th grader from Harwich MA and, Thea Morad, an 8 year old from Braintree, MA were at the table, as people of faith, proclaiming the moral imperative to steward our oceans. Upon hearing the news of the President’s determination from her science teacher earlier this fall, Lydia was blessed with a feeling few citizens get to have in their lifetime. Read her story below (and make one of your own!).
Below is the account of one 8th grader’s experience joining a small group of people of faith into the office of a U.S. Senator on Earth Day 2016. Thanks to Lydia Holleck for taking the time to write this and to Senator Ed. Markey’s (MA) office for the warm welcome and thoughtful conversation.
From Lydia Holleck, Harwich MA:
I would like to tell you about an eye-opening experience that helped me learn that citizenship and the environment go together.
On Earth Day, April 22, 2016, I went to the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston to do environmental advocacy. I was nervous at first about talking with important people. My mom encouraged me to speak up and I did. I talked about the 7th grade ELA MCAS test I had just taken a month before. The first reading was about protecting sea grass, a habitat for endangered seahorses, and other small sea creatures in our oceans. I told the Senator’s staffer that we should protect our waters for endangered animals and their habitats. She was very impressed that I had paid attention to that part of the state testing, and had remembered it. I noted that what I said at the beginning of the meeting were the first notes she wrote down.
I thought it was really cool that I was part of this small religious group that went, and even more so that I was one of only two kids. The other young girl that was there was only eight, and we understood most of what was being said. This was a really important part of my life for me. Most people I know don’t get to stand up for what they believe, and talk to Senator Markey’s staffers about it.
I was really proud this fall when my grade eight Advanced Science teacher mentioned the exciting news that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument had been created. When I told Ms. Fleischer that I had been a part of this she also thought this was an influential experience, and also critical to leadership and citizenship. I learned that it is important to be a leader and a citizen by speaking up for what you believe, and by taking part as a role model for others.
Also testifying was Pastor Rebecca Knox:
“I firmly believe that God created the universe in which we live, and we are entrusted to it’s care keeping in balance growth, productivity and prosperity without destroying the natural balance or dishonoring the sacred nature of our planet.” [Read More]
Pennsylvania Lutherans had also turned out to testify when the EPA draft rule was released in Spring 2014. Read the testimony from Lutherans at the EPA hearings in Pittsburgh.
On Saturday, December 12, 2015 leaders from 195 nations concluded the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris by approving a global agreement to address climate change. This agreement includes a commitment to keep global warming well below 2 degrees. The ELCA welcomes the Paris Accord, and we renew our own commitment to care for all of God’s good creation.
“We stand at a critical moment, when the world has come together to decide the framework for our shared future,” said Interim Advocacy Director Mary Minette, who traveled to Paris last week as part of a delegation representing ACT Alliance, of which the ELCA is a member.
“People of faith showed up in unprecedented numbers for the climate talks in Paris because we believe that this moment includes a moral obligation to our most vulnerable neighbors, to future generations, and to all of God’s creation to act on climate change.
The Paris agreement sets the world on a pathway to stewardship, justice and sustainability. All countries have, for the first time, agreed to take concrete steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to review and increase their commitments over time.
The Paris agreement includes financial pledges to help developing countries adopt clean energy technologies and adapt to already-occurring impacts of climate change. It also includes provisions that will help the most vulnerable countries avoid the worst of human suffering from irreversible climate damage in the future, and it sets the world on a more sustainable, low carbon, development pathway.
The outcome of the Paris talks reflects momentum brought by a growing global movement of people and communities around the world, including communities of faith, who are leading the way in pushing for a better future.
As we leave Paris and return to our own communities, we must continue to act in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable to climate change, with those yet to come, and with all of God’s creation.”
Along with membership in ACT Alliance, the ELCA is also a member of the Lutheran World Federation and World Council of Churches. Together these organizations had a delegation of over 100 in Paris for the summit. You can read ACT Alliance’s response to the Paris Accord here.
To learn more about the Paris summit and how the ELCA continues to be involved in caring for God’s Creation, visit http://www.elca.org/advocacy and read Mary’s updates from Paris on our ELCA Advocacy blog.
ADVOCACY: national/global advocacy, public witness
Issue-based advocacy, climate change
Teaching Environmental Ethics: Feeding “The Good Wolf” by Dr. Leah D. Schade
Celebrating Earth: The Waters of Baptism
By Laura Heller, Minister of Word and Service and Creation Care Ministry Coordinator for the Delaware-Maryland Synod.
The National ELCA Office of Advocacy offers updates from what’s going on in our capital and news from various affiliate offices around the country. Be sure to stay up-to-date with your area by signing up for these – CLICK HERE.