Tag Archives: Facilities

50 Covenants for 50 Years of Earth Day

Some Lutherans Restoring Creation have decided to take on a challenge of inviting at least 50 Congregations in their synod to make a Covenant with Creation in honor of Earth Day turning 50! Want to take take the challenge? Follow these steps below and let us know how it goes!

  • Print out this invitation letter and Covenant (ask us if you want a word document to edit).
  • Mail/e-mail it directly to ELCA churches in your area or create a spreadsheet to share the task with others (go to the ELCA Directory to get addresses in one place).
  • Call their office within a week to ensure it was received and ask who in their church would be the best to follow up with personally. That person should make a date to present the Council with the Covenant (that process may take months – but a great way to get everyone thinking about this ministry!)
  • Send your contact the Congregational Self-Organizing Kit if they are responsive to the idea. (A printed version would be good to share with their Council, but the whole kit is online too.)
  • Encourage folks to submit their goals on our shared Action Plan form here so that we can connect folks locally and topically.
  • Let us celebrate every step with you! Congregations with Covenants signed will be posted on our map and Goals Met/Events Hosted can be shared here.
  • NOTE: a Covenant isn’t necessary to start a Creation Care Ministry in your area – just one way. Look at our Upcoming Events to see many expressions of how you can get involved.

Stewarding your Church “Property” as an Earth Community

by David Rhoads

I recently participated in the spring convocation at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (April, 2012). The convocation centered on the theme of “Getting Green Faithfully,” and it included such notable speakers as Gil Waldkoenig (Professor of Church in Society at Gettysburg), Cynthia Moe-Lobeda (Professor of Environmental Studies, Theology, and Religious Studies at Seattle University), and Fletcher Harper (Executive Director of GreenFaith). All of the lectures, workshops, and worship were meaningful and invigorating. I was challenged by all of them.

The reflections that follow were stimulated by Gil Waldkoenig—as a way to begin to extend his conceptual reflection on land use among churches with some practical suggestions. His lecture (see the Fall, 2012 Cross Currents issue devoted to eco-theology)  was called “From Commodity to Community: Churches and the Land They Own.” In this presentation, he challenged the ELCA “to affirm greening that has been taking root in its congregations, to reorient to creation, and to join the public efforts for environmental restoration and wilderness participation.” He outlined a number of steps to take as means to think ecologically and theologically about land that belongs to congregations (and other church organizations) and how that land might be assessed and stewarded in wise ways.

I want to begin by honoring the folks in every parish who serve on the committee that cares for the (building and) grounds. Often it is a thankless job, with hard work that needs to be done on a regular or seasonal basis—mowing, raking, shoveling, sowing, weeding, harvesting, trimming, clearing, cleaning, among many other things. Many of these folks have specialized skills and use them wisely in their commitment to their congregational vocation and their exercise of good stewardship. They see their work on the grounds of the church as a sacred trust, and they take pride in their work.

Generally speaking, however, we are all caught up in a treatment of land that comes from the culture rather than from our theological traditions. As Gil’s title suggests, we see our land as a commodity. We look at church “sites for development.” We consider its commercial value. We talk about “owning” the land, and we have “Property” Committees. We “maintain” the property based on various cultural values of attractiveness—which lead us often to treat the lawn with weed-killing toxins and to plant non-native trees and shrubbery based on appearance alone.

Now we need to “reorient” our views, as Gil says, in order to see ourselves as stewards of land that is God’s good Earth. In the biblical creation stories, God made the land and called it good before creating humans. Creation was valued for its own sake, apart from human use of it. God created humans last to exercise responsibility for Earth, and God commissioned humans “to serve and to protect” creation. Our Lutheran theology affirms the goodness of the material world. We claim that the movement of God is toward becoming incarnate in, with, and under creation. We consider God to be present and creating in an ongoing way by “working for good in all things.” As such, God is earthbound, and the Earth is filled with God’s glory. We Lutherans have a sacramental theology affirming that the “finite can bear the infinite.” Our sacraments witness to the conviction that since Christ is present in such ordinary elements as grapes and grain and water, then we can be sure that Christ is present everywhere—in all places, in all things, and on all occasions. And our theology claims that the Holy Spirit is the giver and sustainer of life.

The consequence of these convictions is that we see our church land and all living things that share this space together as sacred. Land is not simply the measured square footage with 8 inches of topsoil dirt. Land is not soil apart from the microbes, worms, grubs, beetles, that inhabit it, the trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses that are rooted in it, the insects, birds, small mammals, and rodents sustained by it—including the humans who depend on the soil and on all that lives out of the soil for sustenance, beauty, and breath itself.  This is an Earth community, and we are part of it.

Because all of it is sacred, we who share this space are enjoined to treat the land of our congregations with reverence and to care for it in such a way that all of life thrives there. Our reverence for the land is the right basis for our use of that land. We need to have knowledge of the plants and animals on the land and to understand our impact on their habitat. We need to be aware of the impact of our choices on other humans, especially the vulnerable in our society and in the world. We need to understand the principles and actions of conservation and preservation. And we need to see our relationship with life around us as one of kinship and communion.

Furthermore, we are called to pray to God and give praise to God in accompaniment with the soil and the elm trees and the rhododendrons and the tulips and the grackles and the raccoons and the mice that share this land with us. Just as the Bible calls all living things to worship by thriving in their space, so too we are commanded to worship together with them: “Let all creation praise the Lord” or “All creation! Praise the Lord!” Such a reorientation in our relationship to life around us will lead us to echo the words of Jacob when he wrestled with the angel: “Surely God was in this place and I did not know it.” Now we know!

Gil affirms the importance of place when he lifts up the question God asks Adam and Eve in the garden: “Where are you?” Our answer to that question is this: Here we are—an integral and inextricable part of this garden Earth. Ecological thinking affirms such a reorientation toward the land. Everything is connected to and interrelated with everything else. We share a common heritage in the universe. We are all made up of stardust. We share similar DNA with other higher primates. We have an intimate communion of interrelationships with all things, whether we are aware of it or not.  Beyond our commonalities, each church community holds a particular time and place in this larger system of things. We can see ourselves and the life immediately around us as a small piece of Earth community in which we acknowledge ourselves as mammals and embrace our kinship with all other creatures. We can recognize our human dependence on the land for food and on the life of the land for oxygen that enables breath itself.

This perspective leaves us with a deep sense of place. The mandate is this:  Know the region of which you are a part, learn its geological and natural history, and understand how your land relates to and inter-acts with the larger terrain around and how it is part in the local watershed. Know the ecosystem of your church land—its native trees and other plants, the insects, birds and other small animals that share this sacred space with you. Draw on local experts to get an assessment of the land and soil and native species as a basis for making decisions that impact the land. Consider land use around the church in its urban, suburban or rural context. Be aware of the green spaces around you—or the lack of them! Assess your proximity to corporate or industrial processes that affect the land in your neighborhood and city.

This entire reorientation means that we are part of an Earth Community that shares our land together and that we know this land as the true sanctuary in which we gather and worship. One congregation includes pictures of trees and birds and small mammals from their land as part of their church directory of “members.” Another church took pictures of their trees, enlarged them, and framed them as artwork for the church—so that people would notice their trees as creations of beauty. Churches can cultivate an awareness of and a love for all things natural around them.

So what practical actions might a congregation take to show reverence for the land and all its flora and fauna and to serve and protect it with humility, gratitude, and grace? Here are some ideas to consider.

  1. Know your space: Learn all that you can about the land, its plants and animals, and its make-up and history.
  2. Preserve and restore the natural state of the land. Identify the native plants, and protect and nourish them. Planting trees or shrubs or flowers or grass for appearance sake alone does not foster the life of the native eco-system. A Japanese flowering tree draws virtually no native life to its vicinity. By contrast, Douglas Tallamy of the University of Delaware estimates that a native oak tree will attract 252 native species of insects, birds, mammals, rodents, and other plants!
  • Plant a prairie area: Many churches have taken a segment of their land and turned it into prairie. This requires careful planning and some maintenance, but it restores the land and reminds us that life will thrive everywhere when there are wild places somewhere.
  • Design a beautiful landscape of native trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass. This will create a rich eco-system to celebrate. Planting native does not mean that the results are wild or unruly looking. People thrive in the midst of natural beauty.
  • Plant appropriate trees to clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
  1. Serve and protect your lawn.There are many resources available to build an attractive lawn in Earth-friendly ways.
  • Native grasses will root deeper, stay longer, require less water, and need less mowing.
  • Avoid pesticides or herbicides or toxic weed killers
  • Learn and use Earth-friendly techniques of sowing and natural fertilizing for developing a healthy and attractive lawn.
  • Consider Earth-wise driveways and parking areas: Install permeable cover, use gravel, or space some islands of trees and drainage areas throughout the parking areas.
  1. Gardens
  • Vegetable garden. Practice organic gardening. Share produce with food pantries. Local movements that focus on food and gardening will provide plenty of master gardeners to teach you. Engage the entire congregation, the neighbors, and especially the youth in the garden work. Partner with a church that has little access to land. Where possible, plant seasonally. Even a small garden bears a witness to good land use. Treat the land with reverence so that it will be nourished and re-nourished. Let the land lie fallow every seven years!
  • Flower gardens of native species. To enhance beauty. For selling to raise money for a food bank or giving to shut-ins. To decorate the altar rather than getting flowers that have been shipped from a distance and preserved with refrigeration. Put potted flowers throughout the church.
  • Plant an orchard, small or large: A story goes that Martin Luther was once asked what he would do if he knew that the world would end tomorrow. He reportedly replied: Plant an apple tree.” Now there’s an investment in the future! Again, this is for the hunger needs in your community.
  • Roof top gardens: depending on your roof and access to it, consider rooftop gardens to make the most of the space and to moderate building temperatures in all seasons.
  • Container gardens. If you have unused blacktop, consider small plastic swimming pools or wood frame containers along with intense gardening techniques to give members or provide neighbors with a space to plant some food for their tables.
  • Greenhouses. Churches are beginning to extend their growing season and maximize their garden productivity with greenhouses.
  • Rain gardens: Rain gardens are small, strategically-placed areas (often near roof run-off) in which native plants with deep roots are clustered. They absorb water deep into the ground so that the water is cleansed by nature—rather than carrying toxins on the surface into the local watershed. Rain gardens also serve to minimize the accumulation of water in flood plains. Local environmental organizations or universities can assist in setting these up, providing plants, and even perhaps offering a grant.
  • Specialized natural spaces. Some churches have set up space with selected native plants to serve as a butterfly garden or as a way-station for certain migratory birds.
  • Peace garden. Many churches are setting up small or large peace gardens with lovely native trees and plants to form a kind of sanctuary with benches for small-group worship or personal meditation. Sometimes they include a labyrinth as a guided walking meditation.
  • Memorial garden. This may be a way to maintain a cemetery. Some churches have places for the burial of ashes or simply an inscribed brick or plaque to commemorate a loved one. Soon churches will be setting space aside for natural (green) burials.
  1. Best Practices.
  • Local foods. When you have coffee hour with healthy snacks and potlucks, seek to encourage the offering of fruit or dishes made from foods grown locally. These can sometimes be accompanied by recipes designed to encourage seasonal cooking with locally grown foods. Also, consider wine for communion from a regional winery and bread from grain grown in the area.
  • Compost. Some churches provide compost for their garden from lawn clippings, leaves, and food scraps. One church has a very large worm compost area for members to bring food scraps for composting.
  • Rain barrels. Rain barrels strategically placed under downspouts can collect a large amount of water for use on gardens and church lawns. They are not expensive and can be installed easily.
  • Church schools, kindergartens, child and adult day care programs. Incorporate and teach Earth-friendly perspectives and practices in the programs you sponsor as a congregation.
  1. Extend your commitment beyond church land
  • Farmers market: My own church has such a large garden that they began a farmers market, badly needed on our side of town. Now seven or more vendors come to our parking lot each Thursday afternoon in the summer months. In addition to selling produce, church members make baked good and crafts for sale. Much of the proceeds go to a food bank. Again, a farmers market encourages eating locally grown foods.
  • Community Supported Agriculture. Supporting local farmers and the eating of locally grown foods are both outcomes of the Community Supported Agriculture programs, which match individuals, cooperatives, and organizations with local farmers. Your church may serve as a weekly drop-off point.
  • Urban food production. Some churches are working together to transform vacant lots into community gardens, raising vegetables in an hydroponic context indoors, and raising fish in indoor pools.
  • Gardens and lawns at home. Sponsor classes or workshops for members and the local community that teach organic gardening for home gardens and lawn care. Develop a pledge for members to make—a “covenant with creation”—that solidifies their efforts to carry out best practices for their yards and gardens.
  • Local projects: Engage members with opportunities to restore natural habitats, carry out reforestation, or plant trees in the city. Support your community in becoming a Bird City or a Tree City. Cooperate with local environmental organizations in the effort to strengthen the Earth community in your larger neighborhood.
  • Avoid unnecessary waste in the local landfill. Reduce, reuse, and recycle as thoroughly as possible. Use ceramic plates and utensils or purchase ones that decompose (and do not discard them in sealed plastic garbage bags!) Avoid the use of toxic cleaning products in the church that will go into the landfill or watershed. Avoid use of or properly dispose of all dangerous products.
  • Throughout the ELCA. Work to extend the practices you have developed so that they may be used on the land of other organizations and institutions of the church—colleges and universities, outdoor ministry camps and retreat centers, social ministry organizations, synod offices, and so on.
  • Spread the word. As opportunities arise, let your commitments and practices be known throughout the larger community through news outlets and word of mouth.
  1. Land trust:Consider placing your property in a permanent land trust, whereby it will be preserved from development in perpetuity.
  2. Public Witness:
  • Local Advocacy: If your church or community is near mining industries or fracking sites or land development or agribusiness sites or logging or brown fields, consider leading or joining conversations or protests that work toward safe environmental practices. Be especially aware of the human cost in ecological injustice and environmental racism.
  • National advocacy: Connect your efforts to be good stewards of your land with efforts to support laws and policies that maintain national parks, preserve wilderness areas from development, protect endangered species, and support efforts on behalf of clean air, pure water, and fertile land.
  • Global advocacy. Become aware of the problems created on lands around the world from global climate change, degradation of land from agribusiness, stripping of rain forests, and use of toxic spray to enhance food production.
  • Places of moral deliberation: Where controversy exists, seek to have your congregation become a place where the issues can be discussed in respectful and constructive ways.
  1. Cultivate a relationship with nature. God made nature for God’s own delight. When we despoil nature, we diminish the capacity for nature to praise God by thriving. When we restore nature we magnify God’s pleasure.
  • Enhance health. A relationship with nature improves the health of mind, body, and soul. Blood pressure goes down, recovery from illness quickens, and depression can lift in the time spent in natural settings.  See a relationship with nature as part of the church’s ministry.
  • Enjoy nature. Love it for its own sake. Worship outside. Display a nature map of your land and make an inventory of all that is on it. Encourage members to learn the trees and plants so that they can appreciate them and worship with them. Have a naturalist give your members a walking tour around your land or your neighborhood.
  • Celebrate your gardening. With a sowing celebration in the spring and a harvest festival in the fall. Have a meal, provide activities, and invite the community. Raise funds and gifts of food for the poor.
  • Bring nature into the church building and the worship space. Trees and plants purify the air and delight the senses. Consider an aquarium or gerbil cages.
  • Go to local green spaces: organize outings to local nature preserves or parks or the zoo. Talk about your experience. Hold a council or congregational retreat in a natural setting.
  1. Learn about nature. Martin Luther said there were two books of revelation, the Bible and nature. In the 16thcentury reformation, Luther put the Bible into the hands of the laity. Now it is time to put nature into the hands of all of us.
  • Educational programs. Incorporate a relationship to the land in the educational program of the church for all ages: adult forums, Bible study, book groups, youth activities, and vacation church school.
  • Stewardship. Revise your vision of stewardship to see care for creation not as an add-on but as the larger conceptual framework in which all other stewardship takes place. Incorporate care of creation into annual stewardship programs.
  • Church library and reading groups. Stock the library with books and videos that explain our eco-systems on Earth and inspire us to action. See the list brief below.

In sum, we need the conceptual theological framework that teachers like Gil Waldkoenig are providing us as a theological basis for our care of the land. We also need some practical ideas to carry out the mandates that arise from such reflections. In all of this, the goal is to create an ethos of Earth-care embedded in the identity and mission of the whole congregation—such that members are able to say: “This is who we are. And this is what we do!”

Selected List of articles, books, and videos

See the article: “Means and Scenes of Grace” by Gilson Waldkoenig in Dialog: A Journal of Theology (Winter, 2011) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-6385.2011.00633.x/abstract. The issue is dedicated to eco-theology and includes articles by Norma Wirzba, Christopher Chapple and Whitney Bauman. A follow-up article to “Scenes and Means,” tentatively entitled “From Commodity to Community: Churches and the Land They Own,” will appear in the forthcoming Cross Currents Fall 2012, which will also be dedicated to eco-theology.

Norman Habel, David Rhoads, and Paul Santmire. The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary (Fortress, 2011)

Ben Stewart, A Watered Garden: Christian Worship and Earth’s Ecology (Augsburg Fortress, 2011)

Douglas Tallamy. Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants [latest edition} (Timber Press, 2007).

Anthony Westin, Back to Earth: The Environmental Movement in the Twenty-first Century (Temple University Press, 1994).

Jeff Wild and Peter Bakken. Church on Earth: Grounding Your Ministry in a Sense of Place (Fortress, 2009).

Norman Wirzba. Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

David Rhoads, ed. Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet (Continuum, 2007). Contains a number of sermons directly dealing with our relationship with the land.

 “Dirt! The Movie.” Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, this movie explores the soil beneath our feet. Interviews with Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, Alice Waters, Majora Carter, and others trace connections between dirt, food, community, spirituality, social justice, and environmental sustainability.

 “The Journey of the Universe” An epic story of cosmic, earth and Human transformation. For information, go to www.journeyoftheuniverse.org.

“Earthbound: Created and Called to Care for Creation” (2009).Earthbound is a six-part series on DVD that looks at Christians’ complex relationship with God’s creation. Many Lutheran voices and case studies of the greening of Lutheran Institutions.  The series is available from Seraphim Communications http://store.seracomm.com/.

“Urban Roots” (2011). Directed by Mark MacInnis, this film tells the uplifting story of dedicated and diverse citizens, allied with environmental and academic groups, who are reclaiming post-industrial Detroit by growing food and cultivating community.

So We Can Restore Creation

While caring for the environment can feel overwhelming, it’s when we stand together, each doing our part, that we find hope, gain strength, and make a difference. Find a tool below to help celebrate God’s gifts to us!

Download (Click Here) the information shared from Portico and Lutherans Restoring Creation at Churchwide Assembly 2019 to celebrate our progress and map the long way we still need to go to restore creation.

Join Up

Adults, start by taking the LRC Personal Covenant.  In 5 – 10 minutes, complete your covenant with creation. You’ll start to receive LRC’s monthly Good Green e-News linking you to other Lutheran earth-keepers and helpful resources.

ELCA Retirement Plan members, invest consciously using Portico’s ELCA social purpose funds. Call a Portico Financial Planner at 800.922.4896 to learn whether you’re in the social purpose funds and how to make that choice.

Children, take the Child’s Pledge With Creation.  Print out this out and discuss with your family. Tip: Frame your completed pledge using a larger piece of cardboard like a cereal box and decorate it with magazine photos that are important to you.

Teens, take the Youth Pledge. Then, walk through the Your Day experience, reflecting on how your daily decisions can impact others with whom we share this planet.

Inspire Others

Rally your congregation to take the Congregational Covenant with CreationThen, use LRC resources to create an action plan with support from LRC mentors.

Active Earth-keepers, become a Green Shepherd in your synodAs your synod’s point person for LRC and ELCA Advocacy and Stewardship outreach, learn to identify, connect and motivate other “green sheep” in your synod.

 

EPA’s Energy Star Congregation’s Guide

The United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® program and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) collaborated through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Commercial Buildings Research Group to create this workbook.
This workbook serves as a resource and planning guide for clergy, staff, and laypersons of houses of worship who want to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities by implementing realistic and cost effective energy improvement projects. Download the guide and appendices for free below.  Be sure to also find out who near you  (see map) has become a part of the EPA’s Protfolio Manager program +/or has tried some of these suggestions in their house of worship.

EPA’s Energy Guide for Congregations

Appendices to support EPA Guide

Disclaimer

All energy, water, and monetary savings listed in this document are based upon average savings for end users and are provided for educational purposes only. Actual savings will vary based on energy, water, and facility use, national weather data for your locality, energy prices, and other factors. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are calculated based on emission factors reported to the U.S. EPA by the electric utility provider serving your ZIP Code. Data referenced in this document is provided by the U.S. EPA and the U.S. DOE’s NREL

This is Church and You Are Needed Inside & Out

Watch this message from our churchwide leaders and fellow members across the country who recognize the tough, uncomfortable work of being “called out” into the world.  It is an empowering 7 minutes – worth the watch for all of us, not just the voting members who will be sitting in the conference rooms.

For those wanting to embolden their sense of calling to Creation Care for All as ministry inside and outside the church – you don’t need to have a resolution ready,  join a march, or preach on climate (yet). Start here:

 

Energy Stewardship

Lutherans have had a tremendous history with being good energy stewards – but we have a LONG way to go.  There is a broad range of steps to be taken that all make progress in the long run for the environment and for a congregation’s budget.  Our houses of worship can either be a beacons of sustainability to our neighbors or a draw on the community’s power  – what does God call of us?

  • Find out if there is an Energy Steward you would like to contact within our ELCA networks in facilities and investments who could give you advise by looking at our Map (click here).
  • Explore the FREE EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program (which has more Lutherans registered users than any other denomination – so far). Check out (click here) their entire pdf guides here for free.
  • Be inspired by reading about stories from the ELCA realm who have had great experiences saving energy while freeing up more money to be used in other ministries!
  • Reach out to your local utility and/or regional Interfaith Power and Light for insight as to local support for energy savings and alternative choice options.

 

Gettysburg Campus Kitchen Continues to Cook Up Great Food for a Great Cause

Gettysburg College opened its doors in November 2007 as the first Campus Kitchen in Pennsylvania! The project was initiated by Louisa Polos ’07 and is currently managed by the Center for Public Service and student Program Coordinators. Louisa first learned about The Campus Kitchens Project as a volunteer of DC Central Kitchen. She left inspired by the experience and wanted to start a program at her school, so she made it happen!

Campus Kitchen has served 57,260 meals since its origin in 2007. In this time, the organization has also recovered 110,928 pounds of food, all through 7,334 total hours of volunteer work. To read more about how this organization works at Gettysburg College, visit the Campus Kitchen website.

Congregation celebrates “green graduation,” invites wider community (2017)

Members of LCI gather on the steps of the California Capitol to join California Interfaith Power and Light’s Lobby Day. They advocated for passage of SB 350, which aims to increase California’s renewable energy mix to 50 percent and doubles the energy efficiency of existing buildings. 

Church invites all to its ‘green graduation’ celebration
It’s a little early for graduation season, but Lutheran Church of the Incarnation is celebrating its own commencement of sorts.
Last year, LCI successfully completed the GreenFaith Certification Program, earning official recognition for its work to care for God’s creation. LCI is only the second Lutheran congregation nationally to earn this recognition, and one of only two faith communities in California.

The GreenFaith organization maintains the program that urges faith communities to step up their efforts to integrate sustainability into their ministries and operations. They provide support, resources and a clear road map to achieve the distinction as a sustainable sanctuary. GreenFaith’s independent verification of accomplishments ensures that the certification is meaningful.
LCI believes that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility. But the church doesn’t just preach about it, it is a common thread throughout all of its ministries and activities.
LCI’s final report to GreenFaith chronicled 139 distinct activities over the two years of the program, in the categories of spirit, environmental justice, action, education and communications.
Church members see themselves as the hands who do God’s work, so they are working to reduce their environmental footprint.

For example, the use of sustainable materials, water-conserving landscapes and energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling and appliances helped them to expand the LCI facility at 1701 Russell Blvd. in West Davis, while cutting the energy that would have been used after the expansion by 15 percent and minimizing use of resources.

After the renovation, LCI was honored to receive an award for Energy Efficiency from California Interfaith Power and Light recognizing its achievements.

LCI’s worship service also reflect this theme with liturgical art, music and prayer that inspire caring for creation, as well as frequent sermons that call parishioners to approach God’s gifts with a sense of reverence and stewardship.

The child, youth and adult education programs include experiential learning about sustainability. For example, the children planted an organic vegetable garden, and served the harvested food at a lecture on “Food and Faith.”

 

 

Sunday Evening Conversations on Creation Continue… (July 29, 2018)

Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church invites you to a monthly environmental education web meeting series whose theme in 2018 is Stewardship
Sunday, July 29, at 6 p.m. (Central Time)

Houston’s Green Building Resource Center

Steve Stelzer, Program Director, Green Building Resource Center

In July, we welcome Steve Stelzer, Program Director for Houston’s Green Building Resource Center. Steve is an architect with 30 years’ experience who is focused on making Houston a greener place to live and work.

He will discuss the center’s work to educate the public on healthy and energy, water, and material-conserving design & construction. This mission is accomplished in a number of ways: a showroom highlighting building components, water conservation, site, and energy efficiency, monthly educational seminars on a wide variety of topics, and plan review services to suggest strategies to conserve energy and water, save money, & create a healthier building environment. The center also hosts a green book discussion group, holds periodic rain barrel and composter sales, offers Master Composter classes, educates on Drawdown (ways to combat climate change), how to achieve zero waste, and many other green living topics.

Come learn how the center can help you to go green not only with building design and construction, but also operations & maintenance, whether for a residential or commercial property. Get all your green building questions answered!

Please register for this talk, and you will receive an invitation to the web meeting.Contact Lisa Brenskelle at gcs.lrc@gmail.com with any questions.

 

Numerous Schools Offer Students the Opportunity to Live in a Community Committed to Living More Sustainably

There are currently eight ELCA schools that seek to promote sustainable living in community by designating on-campus houses.

Here is the list of links to active houses and residence hall floors that dedicate themselves to living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle:and residence hall floors as “sustainable”. The students living in these houses and dorms make a commitment to improve their daily practices in a way that will reduce their impact on the environment.

 

 

 

Carthage College Strives to Practice Sustainability by Using Environmentally Friendly Building Materials

Carthage College practices sustainability by choosing to renovate and build with sustainable building materials. Carthage installs bamboo flooring instead of hardwood flooring, and has chosen this environmentally friendly hardwood alternative since 2001. Bamboo is a renewable resource: Bamboo grass takes only five years to grow to maturity. Other floors at Carthage are Forbo Marmoleum. Marmoleum is made with natural ingredients, contains no harmful VOCs or other toxic chemicals, and is installed with solvent-free adhesives or no adhesive at all. It has no adverse health effects during production, installation, use or disposal, and has been certified as a sustainable product. Furniture in residence halls is made from sustainable plantation-grown wood, not primary first-growth timber or non-plantation grown teak. Also, 50 percent of the turf on Art Keller Field is made with recycled material. For more information about Carthage’s sustainable building practices, click here.

 

Creation Care Congregation: Building and Grounds Ideas

Building and Grounds: “The church as an alternative community”

Energy Stewards Initiative. LRC program for congregations to reduce your energy use/costs and carbon footprint, with online tracking of energy data via the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio, an action plan, and consultation and accountability through regular webinars. Or get an energy audit and follow steps to reduce energy. For more info contact your local utility or visit: https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/owners_and_managers/congregations

Comprehensive Environmental Guide for Churches, Their Buildings and Grounds. Use a checklist along with the full guide for an overall environmental inventory of your congregation, and take action. Download the entire guide – some details may be outdated, but the ties to faith and ideas are timeless. www.webofcreation.org/Environmental%20Guide.pdf

Choose a specific project: Replace all incandescent bulbs; retrofit fluorescent lighting; develop a recycling program; reduce paper use; purchase green cleaning products; make Earth-friendly food choices; eliminate Styrofoam; develop Earth-friendly lawn care, among others.

Use of land & water: Community garden; restore to prairie; preserve natural habitats; plant trees; create a sanctuary or peace garden; nurture animal life. Phase out fertilizers and pesticides use for lawns. Many free resources, stories, samples and readings to share throughout the LRC site, but local experts are best to build on existing relationships. Consider sharing a broader understanding of our relationship with soil by researching the “Kiss the Ground” program. This educational movement has the potential to involve those interested in agriculture, science, history, gardening and climate change.  Watershed discipleship resources are plentiful and offer a safe entry point for many who may not feel called to other issues in creation care.

Know your property as an “Earth community.” Get to know the trees, plants, animals, insects, birds, and other creatures who live with you on this space. Live in such a way that all of you may thrive together. Pray for them. Worship with them. Include some in your church directory as your creation family. For directions, go to: http://www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org/stewarding-your-property-as-an-earth-community.

For more information about Becoming a Caring-for-Creation Congregation, visit this page.

Edmonds Lutheran Church is Going Solar

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.”

Pastor Tim Oleson and Rev. Dr. Julie Josund,
pastors at Edmonds Lutheran Church

“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.

Evangelical Lutheran leaders argue for Ohio energy efficiency and renewable energy

The president of a major Lutheran seminary and one of the three bishops overseeing the 550 Ohio congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are opposing a bill that would stall efficiency programs and the further growth of wind and solar power mandated since 2009. [Read More]

Congregational Covenant and Organizing Kit

What can you do? 

AFFIRM: Personally, with your church council, or entire synod, review our ELCA’s 1993 call to action and commit to engaging in steps to live into that calling.  Sign and submit the Covenant with Creation to be part of our accountability and celebration network.

ACT TOGETHER:  Reach out to all church members and share the ideas listed specifically for the area/committee they already work on: Action Plan Ideas.  Goals without specific people and dates may remain elusive. Use this form and our ELCA network to help make a path.

Use the online version of the Organizing Kit to the right or download the pdf here: Congregational Self-Organizing Kit

NOTE: We often make updates in the resources and connections. Please refer back online often and let us know if you have any suggestions!