We are thrilled to announce that, through an ongoing partnership between the ELCA and ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow, a Creation Care Ambassador Training occurred in April, June and September of 2020 with over 160 participants from ELCA communities. These certified Ambassadors are ready to share their new skills and resources with your Lutheran church and community. See the dozens of “Certified Ambassadors” who have already committed to offering a presentation for free! If you are interested in having one of these Ambassadors speak with your church community please reach out to them immediately to see if a virtual session can happen soon! (Click Creation Care Ambassador on map list and then hover over each to find contact information.)
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
“I pledge to preserve, conserve, and protect the world’s natural resources to the best of my ability. Specifically, I will follow the three R’s of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in my local environment by doing as many of the following as I can, and I will encourage others to do so…”
This pledge began at Carthage College, Kenosha, WI, in October 2010. It is intended to serve as a model for college and university students and everyone else. Please feel free modify the text to fit your group or community and pass it along.
To view the rest of the pledge, visit Carthage Sustainability.
What can YOU do to get congregations in your area thinking about Caring for Creation as part of church?
- No need to start from scratch – we have many templates that you can use as is or add to. Also plenty of resources are available that connect with a broad range of themes depending on the synod’s theme. Contact us to have materials sent/attached to you directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If your gathering is looking for special guests – check our list of speakers and see what other “Green Shepherds” may be in your area.
- Incorporate care for creation into your synod worship services/ Explore our wide array of sample bulletins and services. Especially check out our ecumenical companion site: www.letallcreationpraise.org.
- See here examples of environmental resolutions offered by synods.
- Find out how and when resolutions are submitted for your synod’s next assembly directly from your synod office (look up the contact info here).
- Print out a few sample materials and be sure to have people sign up for more information (you can use this form [Sign-IN-at-Events-sheet.pd] scan/email it back to us and then we’ll send back a list of everyone in your synod who has interest in this ministry!) Set up a computer(if wi-fi is available) and share some video educational tools.
- Stories. Showcase examples of what is happening in the congregations of your synod and ask for more stories – from gardening together, to washing dishes rather than throwing them away. Celebrate what everyone has to offer!
- See our LRC guide: Planning and Carrying Out Green Events
The Southeastern Synod decided to enlist a caring for creation “task force” at their 2013 Synod Assembly and since then a small band of powerful people across several states have gained momentum. After meeting as a small group several times to set goals and evaluate personal assets, the team embarked on a two day retreat in March 2014 to brainstorm and educate themselves on the tools and challenges of this ministry.
In 2016 their assembly passed a memorial to go to the Churchwide assembly asking for more investments in cleaner energy. Reaching out and sharing their resources at the South Carolina Synod Assembly, this team is passionate about sharing significance of the vocation of being a good steward to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Most recently the team sent fifteen members in February 2018 to LutherRanch in Tallapoosa Georgia as a part of a regional retreat and training session. Since then churches in the synod have signed congregational covenants, stepped up their involvement in the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio and created new green teams.
Contact Mary McCoy, member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marietta GA and chair of the Task Force, or find someone on the Creation Care Ministries map who is closer to where you are!
Many voices come together to make big reverberations!
Twenty-nine Lutherans from across Pennsylvania and beyond gathered at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA, the last weekend in January, 2013 to become LRC trainers. They were empowered to return to their synods and congregations with the tools, connections and renewed faith to restore creation.
The workshop was fortunate to have several representatives from the “larger” church’s efforts in advocacy including: Rev. Leah Schade, founder of the Interfaith Sacred Earth Coalition of the Susquehanna Valley (ISEC), Alycia Ashburn, Director of Creation Care Campaign at Sojourners, Rev. Amy E. Reumann and Rev. Paul Lubold from Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa), and Director of the ELCA’s Washington Office, Rev. Andrew Genszler.
The training facilitator, Phoebe Morad, commented: “While many of us feel at times we are just one small voice, this gathering reminds us that we are not alone and that we are called by and supported with our Lutheran faith to carry out this work.”
As a result of this workshop every synod in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware is now equipped with a team of LRC trainers who are available and eager to share the techniques and insight necessary to integrate care for creation in every aspect of our Christian lives. Each LRC trainer left the workshop with a plan to reach out to interested congregations in their synod and will eventually hold a networking event for the region to continue the ripple effect of this awareness.
Congregations or individuals who are eager to have this training in their congregation or synod, please reach out to Lutherans Restoring Creation!
Explore our growing list of various expressions of ELCA members, churches, teachers, offices and affiliates are integrating Creation Care in the wider work of the church. LRC Green Teams work across a wide area and are eager to know of your interest. “Green Shepherds” are ready to help share their individual experiences working in this ministry. Creation Care Coaches are trained to help you become a leader for your team. Our Speakers Bureau can offer theologically-grounded talks. Certified Ambassadors can speak to your group about how to communicate controversial information regarding climate. Energy Stewards offer support on stewardship resources and energy savings. Contact a church whose Council has made a Covenant with Creation and support one another in your Action Plans. Find an Affiliate/Partner near you that can build bridges in your community.
Please feel free to contact any of these LRC liaisons for more information about the work they are doing! For other ways to learn from and share with Lutheran creation care ministries in all their forms—like our connection calls—visit our connections page.
Or… if you prefer words:
What is a Synod-wide LRC Liaison?
As a Synod-wide LRC Liaison, you are the point person for communication between Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC), Advocacy and Stewardship outreach from the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA), your local ELCA synod staff and any existing green teams/LRC-affiliated congregations and “Friends of LRC” within your synod. You should maintain and frequently share a digital list of the people who have expressed interest in this ministry at gatherings/assemblies/social media and ensure that LRC can connect them with information from throughout out network. LRC has official software which can maintain the privacy and integrity of the lists (none are shared or sold) and will relay contact information of local leads to you periodically.
Offering a quarterly conference call to connect the “green sheep” in your synod helps maintain interest and gain on momentum. Figure out what manner your existing flock is most interested in using to stay in touch with one another. Creating a Facebook page or Google group can aid in staying connected between calls. Ensuring a group presence at synod events and encouraging gatherings to follow an earth-keeping manner in assembling is another responsibility that you, or a member of your team, is encouraged to take on (and use the MANY templates on the LRC site to follow for an effective workshop).
Your role is to welcome newcomers to your group and ask for help in specific tasks if fundraising or outreach is needed. Also identify whether your synod would benefit from a retreat or training to equip, enlarge and direct more action within the synod or region. Contact Phoebe Morad to work out plans, find facilitators, make connections or just bounce ideas off of: 617-599-2722.
We are convinced that more than ever we are seeing planetary degradation that is threating all life on Earth as we know it and causing extensive disruption and dislocation in human communities. The most vulnerable among us are at the greatest risk with the least capacity to cope.
At the same time, we are convinced that the biblical and pastoral vocation to which God calls us in this time is for “the care and redemption of all” that God has made—all as a response to the grace given in creation, in the power and presence of the risen Christ, and in the renewing work of the Holy Spirit.
We saw that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation was a time to call for a reorientation of our denomination to address the ecological crises we are facing as a planet. As Bishop Eaton has asserted: “The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as faithful individuals and churches in solidarity with God’s good creation.” We believe that the ELCA as a whole can and must fully embrace creation care at the heart of God’s mission on every level—as individual members and as organizations of the church.
To this end we are seeking to provide resources to use as a way to incorporate and promote eco-justice ministry into the life of the church. One of these resources is a Speakers Bureau. This Speakers Bureau has been gathered to represent a number of informed leaders in the ELCA capable of serving as conference speakers, panel participants, and workshop leaders for events sponsored by congregations, synods, seminaries, ministeriums, colleges, and other agencies of the church.
We hope that you will find the following Speakers Bureau information helpful in planning events which promote eco-theology and that foster an eco-Justice reforming of the church.
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. Ask your Church Council to consider how Creation Care can fit into the context of your church. (Ask them to watch this!) 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 (click 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!