Campus Pastor at University Lutheran Center – South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota
I enjoy being involved in a larger organization and network with people who have a similar interest in advocating for justice in God’s creation. It’s challenging to think on a broader level of how we can impact the lives of the next generation and to use our gifts for good.
Part of my personal theology is creation care and care for the environment. I see the Lakota spirituality of Mitakuye Oyasin (All are related) as primary in how I view my neighbor and in how I view the creation. All things are related and we need to treat each other, and the creation as God’s good gifts to us. We cannot follow Christ fully if we are unable to faithfully care for all that God has made.
Campus Minister, Jacksonville Campus Ministry
Sarah Locke is currently the campus minister for Jacksonville Campus Ministry in Jacksonville, Florida. Previously she served in various capacities at Jacob’s Porch (Ohio State’s Lutheran Campus Ministry), and Gamecock Lutheran (University of South Carolina’s Lutheran Campus Ministry). In 2012 she began seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in South Carolina where she met her husband Daniel. They now both serve in Jacksonville as pastors and try to keep up with their son Bennet and husky Cooper.
Back in 2006, I was certainly the only person in my UMass Boston cohort of Senate-aspiring public policy classmates to research a church as the focus of my case study. As an environmentalist growing up in the Lutheran church, I had always been frustrated by the assumption that I’m a bit of a hippy because I respect nature and conserve resources. In academic settings it was always unnerving to feel a need to muffle my faith in fear that it cast me as some sort of sheep following a herd. But, wasn’t it church communities in history that have influenced huge progress in the public sphere? Reformation, Liberation Theology, Civil Rights…
I was led to do a research project investigating the “social capital” of my congregation and tried to determine what factors were preventing my relatively liberal church community from simple changes like: ending the use of Styrofoam cups at coffee hour. After reading a lot of sociology and conducting a number of interviews with disparate factions in my church, I realized the lack of progress often came from simply having no catalyst. So, there was my calling: stop feeling isolated as the token “tree-hugger” and work to integrate some of my awareness into existing missions of the congregation, make it part of our faith conversation – not a guilt-trip or response to outside political pressure.
Six years later, after trying to instigate some changes in group behavior from my corner of the ring, I was invited to attend a Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) training in Chicago. I got to meet then diaconical minister (now Deaconess), Kim Winchell, whose work I referenced in my master’s research (she never expected anyone else to read her thesis, much less source it!). Since then, I have been so grateful to discover a whole network of fellow Lutherans who see this work as critical to our mission in caring for one another as God’s gifts. The inspired writings of theologian, David Rhoads, gives legitimacy and focus to our work. The opportunity to meet with one another across the country refreshes and empowers us, just as every worship service is supposed to do. While there are many other parallel faith-based organizations within the larger eco-justice movement, LRC offers a unique invitation for Lutherans to connect and empower one another to be proud “green sheep” in their congregations and help those who may not yet understand our collective vocation to care for God’s good creation.
A decade after meeting the founders of this grassroots movement I am honored to be its Executive Director as LRC moves into the next chapter of it’s existence. With a foundation of materials from theologians, educators and clergy our network is now prepared to ensure these treasures are used to help people connect and empower their congregations to live their faith into the world… for the sake of the world.
Ruth is ELCA’s Program Director for Environment and Energy. She has had careers in chemical engineering, as a corporate legal counsel, and brings legal specialties including environmental law and climate change. She is married to Chuck Moore. They have two children and two grandchildren. She enjoys travelling; spending time with family and friends; and particularly planning large family gatherings. She continues to beinvolved with Christian education leadership in her church. Her other volunteer work includes chairing a young adult and youth leadership summit in southern Virginia. She is a member of the board of Creation Justice Ministries and a member of ACT Alliance’s Climate Change Group. She has given speeches or various environmental and climate change subjects.
I have been involved with caring for creation from a very young age helping my Dad out with the family farm in upstate NY from 1963 – 1975. Most recently, as Executive Director of the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center (LOMC) in Illinois, I am responsible for not only caring for LOMC’s 640 acres that God has entrusted me with but to educate other leaders in the ELCA on how they can be better stewards of what God has given them. My real passion is helping youth discover their role in caring for creation.