Tag Archives: board of directors

Pastor Sandi Olson Decker

Pastor Sandi Olson Decker serves as Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in King City, CA.

She and her husband, Chad, have two grown sons, Carson and Tristan. A 1990 graduate of the University of Oregon, Pastor Sandi is a native Oregonian with a deep dedication to her family and the Oregon Ducks. She has a deep passion for writing, animals, reading, travel, and good coffee.

After graduating from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, she served settled calls in the Midwest and Central California. In addition to her years of ministry experience, Pastor Sandi previously worked in the the finance industry with responsibilities ranging from investor services, compliance law, marketing, administration and personnel.

Pastor Booker Vance

Pastor Vance (62) is the Policy Outreach Coordinator for Elevate Energy.  He is a native of Houston, TX. He attended Bethany Lutheran College in Lindsborg, KS where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics with a concentration in Mathematics in 1980. He continued his education as he graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago (LSTC) in 1986 with a Master of Divinity degree. Immediately upon graduation from seminary, Rev. Vance served as the Pastor of St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Southside of Chicago in the Chatham Neighborhood for from 1986-2016.

Following his faithful and steadfast service at St. Stephen’s, Rev. Vance made his way to the Environmental Community as an Executive Policy Director for Faith in Place from 2016-2018. In this role, Rev. Vance was a prominent figure in proclaiming Environmental Justice and Ecological Transformation as a voice for the voiceless who continue crying out from the wilderness. He continues advocating for the economically disenfranchised and those who have been marginalized in the traditionally and overwhelmingly white environmental community.

After serving on the Illinois Climate Table and working with a diverse group of environmental leadership, Rev. Vance envisioned that the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act provided great hope and promise. He likes to see Ecumenical Interfaith Environmental Justice Communities engage in productive collaborative work. He was a part of the Chicago Climate Table Working group who helped shape and pass the FEJA – The Future Energy Jobs Act in 2016. He considers his time at Faith in Place as pivotal in his growth as Environmental Justice Advocate and Ecumenical/Interfaith Leader. He sees that primarily focusing on Workforce Development and Job Creation (where real people are connected with real jobs) has been a daunting task. However, Rev. Vance strives to focus on the historical trauma that has plagued environmental equity efforts in Environmental Justice communities. He dreams of expanding the scope of Workforce Development to include Returning Citizens and Foster Care Alumni as a high hope in present day legislation. He firmly believes that the passage of FEJA and the proposing of CEJA present a challenging implementation to the traditionally White Environmental Community.

Rev. Vance stands before the Traditional Environmental Community to say that Environmental Justice is not a passing fad and that the RDEI (Diversity, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) are not experimental theories but must be the core and central values that drive our work together. He is a member of the African Descent Lutheran Association and Recent addition to the Lutheran Care for Creation Organization.

A recent addition to the Elevate Energy Team as a Policy Outreach Coordinator. Serving as Pastor of St. Stephens Evangelical Lutheran Church on the South Side of Chicago for over 25 years before engaging in the intersection of Community Organizing and the Environmental Justice Discipline. He lives on the South Side of Chicago. He is the Father of Two Sons, Booker Jr. and Erwin. Erwin is married to Krystal and they are the parents of 3 children. Therefore Pastor Vance as he is affectionately referred to is the Grandpa of 3, Aniyah, Isaiah and Nia.

 

Henry Huntington

henryphuntington at gmail dot com
23834 The Clearing Dr.
Eagle River, AK  99577
(907) 696-3564

Current Position/Vocation/Location
Arctic Science Director, Ocean Conservancy (2017-)
Owner, Huntington Consulting (1996-)

Relevant Publications by Speaker

Huntington, H.P., S.L. Danielson, F.K.Wiese, M. Baker, P. Boveng, J.J. Citta, A. De Robertis, D.M.S. Dickson, E. Farley, J.C. George, K. Iken, D.G. Kimmel, K. Kuletz, C. Ladd, R. Levine, L. Quakenbush, P. Stabeno, K.M. Stafford, D. Stockwell, and C. Wilson. 2020. Evidence suggests potential transformation of the Pacific Arctic Ecosystem is underway. Nature Climate Change 10:342–348. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0695-2

Huntington, H.P., M. Carey, C. Apok, B.C. Forbes, S. Fox, L.K. Holm, A. Ivanova, J. Jaypoody, G. Noongwook, and F. Stammler. 2019. Climate change in context—putting people first in the Arctic. Regional Environmental Change 19(4):1217-1223. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-019-01478-8

Huntington, H.P., P.A. Loring, G. Gannon, S. Gearheard, S.C. Gerlach, and L.C. Hamilton. 2018. Staying in place during times of change in Arctic Alaska: the implications of attachment, alternatives, and buffering. Regional Environmental Change 18(2):489-499. DOI 10.1007/s10113-017-1221-6

Huntington, H.P., L.T. Quakenbush, and M. Nelson. 2017. Evaluating the effects of climate change on Indigenous marine mammal hunting in northern and western Alaska using traditional knowledge. Frontiers in Marine Science 4:319. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00319

Huntington, H.P., A. Begossi, S.F. Gearheard, B. Kersey, P. Loring, T. Mustonen, P.K. Paudel, R.A.M. Silvano, and R. Vave. 2017. How small communities respond to environmental change: patterns from tropical to polar ecosystems. Ecology and Society 22(3):9.

Huntington, H.P., R. Daniel, A. Hartsig, K. Harun, M. Heiman, R. Meehan, G. Noongwook, L. Pearson, M. Prior-Parks, M. Robards, and G. Stetson. 2015. Vessels, risks, and rules: planning for safe shipping in Bering Strait. Marine Policy 51:119-127.

Workshop/Lecture/Presentation titles

Traditional knowledge, science, and conservation in our seas: we’ll never know everything but we’re going to act anyway

Conserving abundance in the Arctic, or, how to avoid what has happened everywhere else

Faith & Understanding: climate change in Alaska and beyond Download (click) Sample Talk Outline

Some things I can’t explain, or, Why more social science studies are needed to understand human-environment interactions in the Arctic

Unknown knowns: recognizing how much we actually know when it comes to conservation and climate

“Can you send me a thermometer or something?” Functions and attributes of community-based monitoring

 

Current Personal/Public Activity relating to ecology

A career in Arctic research and conservation

As much time outdoors as possible!

Annual electronics recycling event at our church, Joy Lutheran

Links/Websites/Blogs highlighting work

https://oceanconservancy.org/people/henry-huntington/

https://www.arcus.org/researchers/35712/display

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/tek/henry-p-huntington.htm

Summary Quote from Speaker

“I can connect my faith to my work because it is important that we take care of creation. It is also important that we learn to understand and love one another, which means spending time outside of our comfort zones and being willing to question our ideas by looking at them from a different perspective.” Henry P. Huntington

 

Heidi Ann Michelsen

I´m currently an administrator and professor for the study abroad program of Valparaiso University,  (Praxis Center) located in Costa Rica.  I teach classes about Central American history, politics, religion, ethnicity, environmental issues, sustainable development and also Comparative Healthcare Systems.   In addition, I occasionally lead short term service learning experiences for U.S. universities.  In light of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on my work with college students, I´m also getting certified as a medical interpreter, which I hope to be doing online in the near future.

I served for 21 years in ministry with Lutheran congregations in Costa Rica which were located in squatter´s settlements with primarily Nicaraguan immigrants. I´ve also been involved in initiatives with the Costa Rican Lutheran Church for the past 6 years about climate change and with an ecumenical group of church leaders seeking to educate local congregations about environmental issues.  

In addition, I live in an intentional Christian community ( which seeks to be responsible stewards of the environment through a variety of local projects in our neighborhood.   I bring a perspective about how climate change is affecting vulnerable communities in Central America, and also some of the solutions and mitigation efforts that are being implemented in the region.

Check out the educational presentation Heidi has uses in sharing the connections between faith and climate justice: 

Climate Justice and the Church – Power Point Presentation

Pastor Jeff Schlesinger

Pastor, Heart of Illinois Lutheran Parish (First Lutheran, Lee, IL and Immanuel Lutheran, Compton, IL)

Creation Care has been a lifelong passion of mine and I am thrilled to stretch my network of fellow stewards of Creation beyond the walls of my own congregation and the borders of my synod. I  participate and am active in a number of secular organizations that tend to the environment and am happy to bring the perspective of a “concerned person of faith” to these tables, but relish chances to gather with others whose motivation to care for the land and critters and skies around us comes from a theological perspective. To do so with people throughout the country feeds me, helps me grow in my own understanding and actions and offer the same to others.

Christyn Kochmann

Christyn is a second-generation ordained ELCA pastor and first-generation environmental activist. Her experiences at a Lutheran summer camp in Ohio led her to seminary in Berkeley, California, where she met her husband and also her love for environmental stewardship. She’s especially passionate about using modern media and Christian theology to share the good news of caring for creation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese language and philosophy from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Camp Tomah Shinga (ELCA), Junction City, KS, and has previously served as a Bishop’s Associate in the Central States Synod.
Christyn’s current call is as a hospital chaplain outside of Kansas City, where she also serves as co-pastor alongside her husband in an ELCA redevelopment congregation.

Sarah Habermehl Locke

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.

Phoebe Morad, Executive Director

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.

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara R. Rossing

As professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, she loves to teach and preach about the Bible, including the Bible’s role in public life. An avid environmentalist, Rossing is involved with environmental initiatives at the seminary. She served as pastor of a congregation in Minnesota, director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church, pastor at Holden Village Retreat Center, Chelan, Wash., and chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School. Rossing has lectured and preached widely, including synod assemblies and global mission events for the ELCA, as well as ecumenical theological conferences. She has served on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation (2003-2010), and chaired the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. As a public theologian her media appearances have included “CBS Sixty Minutes” as well as The History Channel, National Geographic, Living the Questions, and numerous print and radio interviews. She is also an active member of our eco-reformation speakers bureau.

Ruth M. Ivory-Moore

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.

 

Jim Davidson, Board Treasurer

Jim has worked for both regional and national public accounting firms and was certified by the Massachusetts Board of Accountancy in April of 1989. Jim has also worked in the private sector as an Accounting Manager and as a Controller. With over thirty years of experience he brings a wealth of knowledge to LRC. His first LRC event was in 2011 at a New England Synod green team event. As a member of House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Hingham, MA his leadership has always incorporated the sacred needs of the earth when President of the church council. His spiritual connection to the natural world is also mirrored in his mentorship of confirmation classes at Calumet Lutheran Ministries every summer.

Pat Almonrode, Board Secretary

I’m a progressive attorney spending most of my time ensuring that workers who’ve been taken advantage of by their employers receive fair compensation. I also have extensive experience as an organizer, having played a leading role in organizing NYC protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline, and in organizing the faith community’s participation in the 2014 People’s Climate March in NYC and the 2016 March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia. I’m a longtime member of Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan, the Metro NY Synod’s Environmental Stewardship Committee, and 350NYC, a local affiliate of 350.org, the worldwide grassroots organization fighting climate change. I try very hard to take seriously the commitment we make in the offertory prayer to “dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that You have made.”

Russ Senti, Board Chair

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.