“The site and my blog are part of my work to inform, equip, and inspire people to live in ways that honor the diversity of life on planet Earth. This work results from a lifetime of seeing how we are all connected by natural systems. ”
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
This blog by Michael Ochs began in March 2011, and is adopted from his Creation Corner Column, appearing since 1997 in the print and on-line monthly ecumenical newsletter of the United Churches of Lycoming County, Williamsport PA.
Ochs earned a B.A. from Gettysburg College (1965), and a Master’s from Lock Haven University (1989), where he studied the international Green Party movement.
Be sure to “follow” if you’d like to be alerted when Ochs writes more! For recent and all past posts see his Blogspot page here!
Reflections on “Public Witnessing” with your children
by Phoebe Morad, Lutherans Restoring Creation
As someone who has worked in some facet of environmental action for over 20 years, you’d think that fear, guilt, and longing would consume my anticipation of what world I leave for my children. Fortunately, since I found my place among faith-based communities looking for solutions through eco-justice minefields, I’ve been able to see past the numbness of daunting objectives. I’ve also been able to bring my kids along for the journey.
Earth Day 2016, my daughter was 8, armed with her stuffed animal tree frog and outfitted in her hand-written “end plastic pollution” t-shirt and in silent (yet fervent) agreement with the small cohort who gathered at Senator Ed Markey’s office. We came as representatives from area houses of worship who wanted to emphasize the moral imperative to protect 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.
Thea’s patience was tried when waiting from April to September to hear the results from the petition she took part in – but what a result! The first marine monument on our eastern shores made into a sanctuary to act as a nursery for more fish to feed people and an undisturbed ocean bed as researchers only just began to explore the gifts in this underwater Eden. I wanted to grab this 4th grader by the shoulders before she went into school shouting triumph and warn her: “It isn’t that simple: just because we talked with our representatives, stated our case, and joined others in laying out the importance of this matter – that doesn’t usually result in seeing anything actually changing.” But I bit my tongue and hoped that this would mean exactly that.
Then 2017 happened. The Antiquities Act being used as a tool for upholding Theodore Roosevelt’s intentions to preserve natural treasures is up for debate as the tide of leadership shifts. Was Thea paying attention to my one-way conversation with the news on the radio as Sec. Zinke re-assessed the validity of “our victory”? I decided to keep her on the roller coaster for the rest of the ride. Off we went again to the JFK Federal Building in October to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office to speak with her staff alongside the Creation Justice Ministries team and others who had worked with local fishing coalitions and marine biologists. Our appeal was to hold firm to conserving the area: an investment in the future of our fishing industry and the collective impact of ocean care as a climate change mitigation had to trump the short-term worry over economic impacts.
I’m so glad Thea brought her sketchpad to take notes as we spoke with the voice on the speaker from Warren’s DC office; “…fisher people did not feel invited,” she notes alongside drawings of happy fish. That particular point was certainly contended, but the feelings remain. Everyone knows how it feels to not be invited to something, not to be heard. The conversation emerged from our hour in Warren’s office that faith-based groups are uniquely situated to bring together disparate factions and help foster healing interactions. Our next twist on this roller coaster is going to be a long climb: encouraging relationship building between a broader faction of the fishing economy and the faith leaders in their midst to consider how to provide for their loved ones while acting as stewards of the natural gifts meant to share with other generations.
As we left Warren’s office Thea and I were excited to see some of her “adornments” on the shelves. She has a rock collection too! There are a few stuffed animals among her books. Being able to relate to Senator Warren’s gender and interests may be the first hook to my daughter’s aspirations, but I hope that isn’t the part that lasts longest. I’m grateful that she gets to see that progress is no straight road. She’s just had a glimpse as to all the diverse interests we need to consider in discovering “justice”. The Elizabeth Warren she will see on campaign ads soon, is not the one and only person to look for all our answers. That is not a true leader’s role. So many, many people are part of the efforts to make a better common home for all. I pray that we can all find a unique role in serving our neighbors needs as St. Paul refers to in his letter to the Corinthians:
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 17-20)
Dr. Rev. Leah Schade has provided us with commentary on the lectionaries for years and recently opened up her audience to the entire progressive Christian audience in her Patheos blog.
Lutherans Restoring Creation greatly appreciates the volunteers who keep the following resources updated. We are also blessed to have a ELCA Stewardship and Advocacy teams who manage a standing library of resources ranging from public policy how-to’s to every social statement in entirety to study guides to talk about holistic stewardship practices in your church:
The following sites are great for referencing material and tracing the history of this work. However, there are many broken links and out-dated contact information. Please use these resources with that in mind and ask firstname.lastname@example.org for any updates.
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.
ELCA Advocacy Office Relections
Living Earth Reflections from ELCA Advocacy offers writing from staff and guest writers on a variety of issues. Search on the ELCA Advocacy site to download reflections and use for Adult Forums or Bible Studies or as a preaching resource.
“Stirring the Waters: Faith, Science and Action!”
Pennsylvania – Tracey DePasquale, Interim-Director
LAMPa partnered with ELCA Global Mission and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg for two days of worship, service, learning and advocacy on April 17 and 18, focused on the theme “Stirring the Waters: Faith, Science and Action!”
Sunday’s events featured outdoor learning, service, an interfaith blessing of the waters and a meal, music and climate-change lecture in the Capitol rotunda. All events were open to the public. More than 150 people participated in the day’s events, which focused on our mutual call to care for the earth that sustains all of us. Highlights included tree- planting that kicked off a Reformation service-and-advocacy project and a canoe trip led by Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Lutheran Camping Corp. supplied canoes, recruiting and staff for that event.
The second day featured workshops and advocacy training around a variety of topics, with a special focus on the links between science and the issues on which we advocate. The event was an official part of the seminary’s Spring Academy Week. The day also featured a celebration of advocacy successes and recognition of advocates from each of Pennsylvania’s seven synods.
We also unveiled a sample of a video on making advocacy known among our congregations. The video features advocates telling their stories, as well as an introduction by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia theologian and LAMPa policy council member the Rev. Dr. John Hoffmeyer.
Visiting the beautiful area of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic this past September brought competing emotions of extreme joy and anguish. If you walk far enough along the beach you see, not lush palm trees, but the waves from the ocean beating against the shoreline and against palm trees with exposed roots—a picture of the impact of climate change. [Read More]
“We can’t grow by repeatedly following prescriptions. We can grow only by making new choices. We are the sum total of the choices we have made in the past. We can change what we are in the future through the choices we make today. Think about that. Who do you choose to become? What do you choose to accomplish?”
This quote from Nido Quebein resonated with me. I had just left a Care of Creation Retreat at the serene, peaceful setting of Luther Glen located in Yucaipa, CA. [Read more]
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]