Tag Archives: Archived

St. Olaf Natural Lands Play an Important Role in Conservation Efforts for Native Species

A story in the Star Tribune newspaper highlights how St. Olaf College’s 350 acres of natural lands not only serve as a hands-on learning laboratory for students, but also play an important role in conservation efforts for native species like the bluebird. “The 143-year-old Lutheran college is part of a greater survival story to rebuild Eastern bluebird populations that had declined in the 1960s and ’70s due to loss of savanna – their preferred habitat – and competition from nonnative birds,” notes Star Tribune writer Shannon Prather. Since 1989 the college has conducted extensive natural habitat restoration projects on hundreds of acres of land it owns adjacent to the campus. This includes a bluebird trail comprised of 64 specially designed birdhouses through woodlands and prairies. For more information on St. Olaf’s natural lands, click here.



Concordia College in Moorhead Hosts Successful Community Tree Planting Event (2017)

A recent community tree planting event was a huge success. More than 60 students, faculty, and staff helped plant trees on the east side of campus. With shovels and good spirits, the campus community jumped into the tree planting project Oct. 14.

Overcrowded and diseased trees just south of the high tunnel garden near the soccer fields were removed last spring. They were replaced with 52 trees — each more than 8 feet tall. Volunteers, organized through the Student Environmental Alliance, were given a tutorial on tree planting by college horticulturalist Jerry Raguse before getting to work. “I’m amazed so many people would come out on a cold Saturday morning to plant trees,” says Haylee Worm ’19, organizer and SEA co-chair. “It is cool that there are so many different groups of people here that have a passion for the environment. It really demonstrates that they do care.”



Capital University Utilizes “Green Thread” Environmental Sustainability Platform

Through Green Thread, Capital University’s environmental sustainability platform, innovative and efficient solutions are brought to life. Green Thread helps employees and customers minimize environmental impacts in their operations and in their communities. Green Thread places special emphasis on responsible sourcing, waste minimization, efficient operations, and transportation management. Green Thread also measures the university’s impact, holds them accountable, and enables continuous improvement.


Augsburg Awarded $475,000 to Help Infuse Sustainability Into All Facets of College Life (2017)

In 2017, Augsburg University launched initiatives to build capacity for integrating environmental sustainability across all curricular, co-curricular, and operational aspects of campus life. The initiatives are made possible by a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. The Minnesota-based foundation believes that college and university campuses can serve as models of operational sustainability for the society at large, testing practical solutions that others can adopt.

Augsburg University President, Paul C. Pribbenow, believes that efforts to achieve sustainability must give consideration to the environment, the economy, and issues of equity. “As a college of the Lutheran Church, we’re called to prepare our students to address and overcome global challenges such as climate change, hunger and food insecurity, and limited access to clean water,” said Pribbenow. “As a liberal arts institution embedded in a diverse, urban environment, we’re accustomed to collaboration across disciplines and beyond the classroom. These important initiatives will better position us to meet these challenges head on.” For more information on this initiative, click here.

Know trash? No trash! Try this youth program!

Put on a youth program about Trash!
How well do you know your trash? How can your youth group become more eco-friendly on the congregational level?
Lutherans Restoring Creation and Lutheran Community Foundation (now InFaith Community Foundation) worked together to provide an exhibit about Trash at the National Youth Gathering. 
Would you like to host a similar exhibit in your home congregation? 
Use our Know No Trash Manual as a launching off point (this PDF can also be downloaded from the bottom of this page). 
Movies about Trash
Additional Resources to explore your human footprint


New England Synod Takes the Challenge (2013)

At the New England 2013 Assembly, June 7-9, voters agreed to urge the restraint of hydraulic fracturing and request an eventual divestment of church funds from fossil fuel companies. LRC Synod Trainer, Nancy Urban, was also there to challenge everyone passing by to see how “cool” their congregation was with a game giving points to those who have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Beyond winning a delicious piece of Fair Trade chocolate as an reward for playing the game, we learned as a community that we are ready to take on the most meaningful challenges of caring for creation. While progress was made on paper and good conversation, it must be seen how the actions of our members and congregations enact the good intentions of these statements.  See full versions of what was voted on here and here.

Upper Susquehanna Synod Assembly Lutherans Call for Repeal of “Fracking Loopholes” (2014)

On the recommendation of a bipartisan task group, the Upper Susquehanna Synod Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted on June 20, 2014, to call for all environmental and public health exemptions on shale gas and oil drilling and its related processes, known as the “Halliburton loopholes,” to be repealed and all processes related to shale gas and oil extraction and processing to be subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974), the Clean Air Act (1990) and Clean Water Act (1972). Download the press release here.

Caring for Creation: An Environmental Workshop for People of Faith (Erie, PA Synod Workshop 2014)

Lutherans Restoring Creation of the Northwest Pennsylvania Synod held a workshop (Caring for Creation: An Environmental Workshop for People of Faith) on September 13, 2014 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Erie, Pennsylvania. The workshop was advertised for all people of faith.

The workshop was planned and organized by three people (Janet Bischoff, Dennis Groce, and Rev. Kenneth Laber) who had received LRC training in the previous couple of years at Gettysburg Seminary. Since that training, we have had several events at an ELCA camp (Lutherlyn) and two synod assemblies. Attendance at the camp events was limited (perhaps due to travel time / expense), but the attendance at the three 50-minute synod assembly forum events was promising.

Based on the experiences at the synod assembly workshops, we decided to develop an event based in Erie, which has the largest concentration of ELCA members in our synod. The workshop was 3 ½ hours in duration, which we felt was enough to provide an introduction to the topics, but not so long that people would be reluctant to attend. We adapted a sample agenda in the LRC materials.

The response was fairly good. In addition to the three organizers and two invited speakers, we had twenty-two attendees, including twelve from seven ELCA congregations (7 ordained and five lay). The other denominations attending were Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Unitarian. We received organizing support from congregations in each of the three Erie County clusters.

The two invited presentations were great, and the three organizers each led one or more portions of the other presentations. Rev. Amy Reumann (Lutheran Advocacy Ministries of Pennsylvania) spoke about the theology of earthcare and public advocacy. Cricket Hunter (Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light) spoke about opportunities for purchasing clean electricity and other ways of practicing earthcare in life at home and work. The discussions were also good, with some good questions and exchange of information.

One of the non-ELCA participants was an especially good source of information, with his primary message being to make an energy audit one of the first building/grounds earthcare actions. One of the participants said the workshop will lead them to emphasize “educating the congregation and to use products that don’t pollute.” We plan to follow up with the participants the weeks following the workshop, and then in a few months to see what progress they have been able to make.

In addition to the workshop described here, we have previously organized:

  • A showing of the movie, “Chasing Ice” at Lutherlyn Camp, Prospect, PA
  • A discussion and partial viewing of the ELCA “Earthbound” videos at Lutherlyn
  • Two synod assembly forum events (2013 and 2014) that provided a 50-minute overview and discussion of earthcare basics for congregations
  • One synod assembly forum (2013) with an invited speaker specifically addressing climate change and the likely impact on hunger.

For more information, please contact Dennis Groce / 814-725-9115 / d_mgroce@labs.net.



Youth Gather and We All Grow!

Back in the summer of 2018 hundreds of youth and group leaders visited our Lutherans Restoring Creation space in the Interactive Educational Area during the National Youth Gathering in Houston.

Every visitor was asked to spend about 5 minutes walking through a “tour” of their typical day and consider how their daily decisions impacted their global neighbors. 

Thank you Notes to GOD – for all the gifts given to us that we don’t have to pay for.

We don’t have to let it end there though!  Get your youth group (or adult forum, or bible study, or family…) to read through the tour with pledge form in hand (or on screen) and find solutions in a prayerful way of living.  If you use our online form we can stay on touch with you and let your synod leadership know what you’re aiming for.

Click here to download the “walk through” program – share it as a power point or print it out to pass around. Pledge form in pdf form can be downloaded here (let us know how it goes!) 

The two most requested tools for Youth Groups to use as follow up to this discussion starter:

Story of Stuff 20 minute video. (Ask your group what challenges they have with their “golden arrow.”)

Know No Trash Program


Climate Change Begins at Home: Life on the Two-Way Street of Global Warming

Climate Change Begins at Home: Life on the Two-Way Street of Global Warming by David Reay (New York: MacMillan, 2005).

Packed with provocative case studies, calculations and lifestyle comparisons, this entertaining and authoritative book makes the complexities of climatology understandable and challenges readers to rethink their notions of ‘doing their bit’. The paperback edition features a new preface from Mark Lynas, author of High Tide: News From a Warming World

A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming

A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming by Michael Northcott (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2005).

In this groundbreaking book Northcott examines theological attitudes to climate change, from the complacent to the apocalyptic, and the ethical implications for all Christians.

Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth, July 15-July 29, 2018

Who: Theologically curious high school students (rising sophomores through graduated seniors)

Caring for God’s Creation: Thinking Theologically About Ecology and Justice
Students will study the ways in which Christians through history have thought about nature and the earth that we say is entrusted to our care. More importantly, the Institute will consider how Christians think about the natural environment today and what we can do about the profound changes that are occurring on earth. The Institute will also explore the impact of environmental changes on our common home and human relationships.

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

Lessons for Year B (Pentecost – 8th Sunday after Pentecost 2015)

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Tom Mundahl)

The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Tom Mundahl)

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Tom Mundahl)

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Leah Schade)

The Third Sunday after Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Leah Schade)

The Second Sunday after Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Leah Schade)

Trinity Sunday in Year B (2015) (by Leah Schade)

The Day of Pentecost in Year B (2015) (by Leah Schade)


Retreat Center in Georgia hosts LRC Retreat – Winter 2018

February 2-4, 2018 in Tallapoosa GA ( @ LutherRidge Retreat Center) 
Over the course of two nights and three days 26 people from 8 different states gathered to equip one another with the spirit of Resurrection before Lent even got started! Check out our agenda and let us know if you think something like this would be helpful in your area. We will be following up with these participants to ensure they follow through on the action plans they put into to motion. Thanks to Region IX Stewardship Council & ELCA Domestic Mission, Stewardship for your support!

Climate Change Revival – New England Congregations Unite (2013)

The weekend that Boston’s Copley Square re-opened after the devastating Marathon Bombings brought healing and refreshment in many forms. A large gathering of ecumenical environmental groups gathered for worship and networking all day of April 27th. LRC was one of many featured groups at a poster session. New England ELCA Bishop Hazelwood was part of a panel discussion commenting on critical nature of climate change as a social justice issue.

Carers for Creation Collaborate in the Northeast to Support the Earth and One Another (2015)

Check out the list of assets all these people bring to the table and how many forces are represented here! (Download notes from our January 2015 Gathering at Hartford Seminary by clicking this link). Watch out despair – this alliance remembers how to put hope into action!



Nurturing A Network: NW Minnesota Creation Care Team 2013

The mission of the Northwest Minnesota Synod Creation CareTeam is “to nurture a growing network that inspires our congregations and their members to live out God’s call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation.”

At the 2012 synod assembly, the Synod Creation Care Team conducted a survey to learn how it might support the creation care work of congregations.  Many congregations asked for more training. In response, the team is offering annual retreats to equip congregational leaders on how to integrate God’s call to care for the Earth into the core elements of congregational life: worship, stewardship, education, and outreach.

The first training retreat was held at Camp Hiawatha on February 22-23, 2013.  The focus was on worship and the Season of Creation liturgical resource because, in the words of the team, “worship is at the heart of everything we do and are as the church.”

During the retreat, thirty-four participants from 12 congregations, two camps, and one campus ministry experienced the Season of Creation in worship, learned how other congregations are practicing creation care, shared success stories, and went home equipped with many resources.

“It was a rich experience that provided a lot of encouragement,” according to one participant.

Pastor Karen Foster, team co-chair, said, “This retreat is clearly the beginning of nurturing a growing network through which our congregations, camps, and campus ministries can encourage, inspire, and support each other in this vital focus!”

Training schedule, training brochure

SCCT Training Retreat Letter:

NE MN Retreat on Worship: Letter of Invitation
Northeastern Minnesota Synod Creation Care Team

Greetings from your NEMN Synod Creation Care Team, and an Invitation to participate in:
Creation Care 2013
The Season of Creation: A Retreat to Equip Congregational Leaders
February 22-23, 2013 at Camp Hiawatha

At this year’s (2012) synod assembly, the Synod Creation Care Task Force conducted a survey to learn how congregations are involved in creation care efforts and how our task force might support that work. From these surveys, we gathered names of some of the congregations who desire more information and training. We are encouraged by what congregations like yours already do and by your desire to network and grow with other congregations!

Many congregations asked for more training in living God’s call to care for creation. In response to this interest, we are offering the congregations of our synod an annual retreat to equip congregational leaders. These retreats will focus on integrating God’s call to care for the Earth into the core elements of congregational life: worship, stewardship, education, and outreach.

The Synod Creation Care Team invites your congregation to assemble a team of key leaders to participate in the first training retreat on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at Camp Hiawatha in Deer River. Since worship is at the heart of everything we do and are as the Church, this first retreat will focus on worship, specifically on a season of the church year called the Season of Creation. Developed by the Lutheran Church in Australia and adapted for use in the ELCA, this is a four to six week liturgical season typically inserted mid-way through the green season after Pentecost. It corresponds to our three year lectionary cycle with weekly themes that include, for example, earth, sky, mountains, humanity and world communion.

During the retreat, congregations will experience the Season of Creation in worship, learn how other congregations are practicing creation care, share success stories, and go home equipped with many resources. Registration starts at 4:00 p.m. with introductions at 5:00, supper at 5:30, and opening worship at 6:15. It will conclude about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. The cost for the retreat will be $50 per person, which cost includes dinner Friday night, overnight accommodations, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday. We are seeking scholarship assistance to help defray the participant cost. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

This is a great opportunity for pastors and other key congregational leaders to become better equipped to lead their congregation in implementing God’s call to be stewards of the whole creation. We hope to hear from you and see you in February. For further questions or to convey your interest in this synodical initiative, please contact either of our team co-chairpersons: Pastor Kristin Foster at 218-741-7057 or Pastor David Carlson at 218-722-3381.

Yours in Christ,

NEMN Synod Creation Care Team

P.S. For more information, check out the web site at http://www.letallcreationpraise.org/season-of-creation.

The NE MN Synod Creation Care Team Mission: To nurture a growing network that inspires our congregations and their members to live out God’s call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation!
(*formerly Synod Creation Care Task Force)

NE MN Synod Retreat on Creation Care Worship, 2013 Retreat Schedule

Season of Creation Retreat: February 22 and 23 at Camp Hiawatha

Northeast Minnesota Synod

Friday, Feb 22, 2013

4pm                  registration

5pm                  welcome/introductions

5:30pm             supper

Evening            opening worship – TBA

                        Season of Creation overview – Krehl

                        Team building – Joel

                        First Sunday in the Season of Creation: Lakes Sunday – Dave & Rosie

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013

8:00am             Breakfast

Morning            Sundays in the Season of Creation – Dennis (as general resource person)?

                        Second Sunday: Fauna Sunday – Tom, Vicki (& Anders?)

                        Third Sunday: Storm Sunday – Kristin, Mark

                        Fourth Sunday: Cosmos Sunday – Krehl (& Steve?)


Afternoon         Relationships and resources

  • Lutherans Restoring Creation – Mark
  • Additional Resources – All

                        Congregational Planning – Kristin

                        Sending worship – TBA

3:00pm             Depart


Walk through each of the four or five Sundays of the Season of Creation for the year of Luke.

Consider approaching each Sunday in multiple ways, starting with mini-presentations from the team and then providing one or two small group/team reflection times for each session.  It might look like this

Do the Season of Creation overview on Friday evening before or after team building.

Do 3 or possibly 4 seasons on Saturday morning, 45 minutes each.

Season of Creation Overview: The Wisdom series from Luke

  1. The three year season of creation cycle
  2. Year of Luke perspectives: the Wisdom tradition
  3. Preview/intro on science, art, music

Ocean/Lakes Sunday

  1. Sing a related hymn and one piece of the Dakota road earthkeeping liturgy
  2. Assign people/volunteers to read the lectionary readings to the whole group
  3. Small group discussion #1 – diving into the lectionary
  4. Share insights, mini-presenter draw from those and highlight anything else
  5. Science and/or other contemporary perspective on the topic
  6. Small group discussion #2 –  Worship possibilities, including art and music
  7. Large group sharing
  8. Youth, education, and outreach possibilities – seed with some ideas, then back to small groups/teams


  • The lectionary
  • Science
  • Music

This way the “congregational planning” piece would be an ongoing process, and then provide some wrap-up planning time toward the end of the retreat.

Series C: The Wisdom Series

Wisdom is a deep impulse within all parts of creation, designing their mysteries, guiding their purposes, and mentoring their functions. The Wisdom series correlates with the Luke series of the church year.

First Sunday in Creation
Theme: Ocean Sunday
Old Testament Job 38:1-18
Psalm Psalm 104:1-9, 24-26
Epistle Ephesians 1:3-10
Gospel Luke 5:1-11
Second Sunday in Creation
Theme: Fauna Sunday
Old Testament Job 39:1-8, 26-30
Psalm Psalm 104:14-23
Epistle 1 Corinthians 1:10-23
Gospel Luke 12:22-31
Third Sunday in Creation
Theme: Storm Sunday
Old Testament Job 28:20-27
Psalm Psalm 29
Epistle 1 Corinthians 1:21-31
Gospel Luke 8:22-25
Fourth Sunday in Creation
Theme: Cosmos Sunday
Old Testament Proverbs 8:22-31
Psalm Psalm 148
Epistle Colossians 1:15-20
Gospel John 6:41-51



This retreat is a model for grassroots leadership in the congregations of our synod and will be led by the whole creation care team, including:

+Joel Abenth (Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry)

+Anders Meier (Camp Onamia)

+Pr. Mark Peters (Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in MN)

+Pr. Krehl Stringer (Faith United, Iron)

+Rosie Loeffler-Kemp (Good Shepherd, Duluth)

+Pr. Kristin Foster (Messiah, Mt. Iron)

+Tom Uecker (Gloria Dei, Duluth)

+Pr. David Carlson (Gloria Dei, Duluth)

+Pr. Vicki Taylor (Northeastern MN Synod)


… we hope to include you!