Tag Archives: Seminaries

Continuing Education Certificate Offered in Creation Care – Lexington Seminary

For such a time as this … Lexington Theological Seminary’s new Creation Care Continuing Education option for pastors and congregational lay leaders prepares you for more effective leadership as we unpack issues that directly impact ministry today. This six-course series is designed to meet the needs of today’s leaders in the church, allowing you to study online and earn 8 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within a 12-month timeline, culminating in a Certificate in Continuing Education. Beginning in September 2020, Creation Care will consist of the following courses:

  • Sallie McFague Environmental Theology (September 2020) Dr. Emily Askew
  • Climate Change: Caring for Our Planet, Caring for Ourselves (October 2020) Rev. Dr. Richard R. Coble
  • Church, Society, and the Ethics of Global Warming (November 2020) Rev. Dr. Christy Newton.
  • Food and Faith (March 2021) Rev. Dr. Wilson Dickinson,
  • Creation Crisis Preaching and Worship (April 2021) Rev. Dr. Leah Schade
  • Womanism, Creation Care, and Justice (May 2021) Dr. Mitzi J. Smith

Tuition – $1,100 + fees, with option for monthly payments and lump sum discount.

Applications must be completed by July 15, 2020.  apply.lextheo.edu

Certificate in Climate Justice & Faith at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Announcing a new, non-degree eco-justice learning program with Lutheran theological foundations and on-going nourishment from a cohort-based model to ensure community engagement.

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary’s
Certificate in Climate Justice and Faith
(find out more here and apply for Fall 2021)

Hear more about the emerging Climate Justice Center at PLTS in this recording of the 2020 Founder’s Day Lecture – including the magnificent preaching of Dr. Melanie Harris and a talk with Bill McKibben!


Articles by Panu Pihkala, University of Helsinki

Tales from a Green Shepherd, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg (2013)

Participants under the Witness Tree on the Gettysburg battlefield, site of worship at the LRC Retreat.

The second week in August, 2013, about a dozen and a half Lutherans converged on Singmaster House at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg for a two-day seminar on caring for God’s creation. The training was led by Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) through a grant from the Lutheran Community Foundation (now InFaith Community Foundation).

Participants at the LRC Retreat at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg

We shared hopes and dreams – we talked about worship, education, advocacy, buildings, and grounds – we developed plans, as individuals and within our synods – good Lutherans that we all are, we talked and ate – and we worshiped together: an evening Taizé service in a living room with a slightly out-of-tune piano and candles on a coffee table and an afternoon service under a white oak “witness tree” (one that witnessed the Battle of Gettysburg) that also witnessed the sharing of our visions of creation. We left, hopefully, as seeds, to be planted and to grow.

So, why do Lutherans care for creation? Some excerpts and summaries from LRC information:

  • We affirm God as creator of all and cherish the continuing presence of God in, with, and under all reality.
  • The theology of the cross gives us solidarity with “creation groaning in travail;” our affirmation of resurrection offers hope for new life in this world.
  • We see the material as a vehicle of the divine, seeing Christ present in such ordinary elements as grapes and grain. We worship God with creation.
  • We believe that the church exists for the sake of the world, continually reforming in response to the needs and crises of this life.
  • We have an ethic of action created by faith in love for our neighbor and all of God’s creation.
  • With a heritage back to the Reformation, Lutherans have a history of social ministry to the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, of being a voice for the voiceless. This includes those people hurt by environmental exploitation and degradation as well as the damaged creation.

So, how do you care for creation? How should we care for creation? What seeds do you want to plant, and have planted within you?

Louisa Rettew, P.E., LEED-AP+BD&C



The Nature of Things: Rediscovering the Spiritual in God’s Creation

Edited by Graham Buxton and Norman Habel
Forward by David Rhoads

With contributions by David Rhoads, Paul Santmire, Celia-Diane-Drummond, Heather Eaton, Ernst Conradie and others, this volume highlights a diversity of perspectives on the spiritual in creation, both traditional and radical.

Download a copy of the flyer here.

Visit the publisher’s website to order

Coming Home To Earth 

by Mark Brocker

As a young Norwegian Lutheran teenager in rural Wisconsin, Brocker lay awake one night worrying whether he believed in Jesus enough to get to heaven. This getting-to-heaven anxiety reflected an excessive focus on individual salvation and a loss of concern for the well-being of the Earth community. A faith journey that leaves Earth behind is misguided.

Ever since those early teen years Brocker has been on a journey to come home to Earth.

Coming Home to Earth makes the case that there is no salvation apart from Earth and that Earth care is at the core of our identity and mission as followers of Jesus. The ecological consequences of a loss of concern for the well-being of Earth have been devastating. Brocker is especially concerned to determine what will motivate followers of Jesus to make radical changes in our way of life so that we can participate in the healing of wounded Earth and all of its inhabitants, both human and nonhuman. We are far more likely to make needed sacrifices for our fellow creatures if we share God’s delight in and affection for them, and cherish Earth as our home.

Read more and order

Synod Resolutions: Synod Actions

Resolution to become an LRC Synod
Central States Synod
Approved June 2015

Resolution to become a Green Synod
Northern Illinois Synod Assembly
Approved April 2008

Resolution on Establishing an Environmental Stewardship Committee
Metropolitan New York Synod, 2009


Central States Synod Assembly Resolution Calls for “Green Action” (2017)

At the 2017 Synod Assembly in Kansas City, voting members adopted a resolution that encourages “its leaders and congregations to make use of the resources of Lutheran Restoring Creation for faith-based congregational initiatives and addressing care of creation and the threat of climate damage.” Included in this call to action are efforts to conserve energy and/or the use of renewable energy, congregational educational programs and action plans that may include such things as installing solar panels to generate renewable electricity, utilizing the Lutheran study guide on the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis (Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home), and supporting policies that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to view the Lutheran study guide.

Further, the adopted resolution states “the Central States Synod recommends that all members of its congregations be active environmental stewards and ‘green disciples’ by engaging in prayer for guidance, study to gain a better understanding of environmental issues, and action to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

To help you and your congregation carry out this resolution, the LRC Mission Table will provide regular Green Action items in the Synod e-newsletter. For more information on Lutherans Restoring Creation, if you’d like to host a Creation Care workshop, or if you need help in your setting, please contact Noni Strand, the LRC Mission Table chair at nonistrand@gmail.com.



Synod Resolutions: Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Transition to Cleaner Energy Memorial
Upper Susquehanna (PA) Synod June 2015

Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod’s Creation Care Task Force pledges to investigate what divestment would mean for the synod and the world. June 2015

Metro New York Synod
Approved May 29, 2015
News Release 

Saint Paul, MN Area Synod
Approved April 24-25, 2015
Oregon Synod
Approved May 18, 2013.
New England Synod
Approved June 7-9, 2013

New England Synod’s Bishop Hazelwood Connects with Catholics over Climate (and other) Changes

On the heels of the Pope’s Encyclical encouraging caring for our common home, two religious leaders in New England came together this month in agreement that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is a time to see how churches can work together to solve some of our most pressing justice issues: including the state of our planet and those least capable of adapting to increasing natural disasters and public health concerns.

Read Boston Globe article here

Copy of Bilateral Letter from Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop Hazelwood’s linked here.

Oregon Synod Divestment Resolution (2013)

St. Luke Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution passes at Oregon Synod meeting

On Saturday, May 18th, 2013, the St. Luke Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution PASSED a vote at the ELCA Oregon Synod. Now it will be forwarded for consideration at this summer’s Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh.

In a meeting also attended by Secretary of the ELCA David Swartling, the synod Reference and Counsel Committee suggested an alternative “RESOLVED” clause that they believed had a better chance of being adopted on the national level. This alternative, mirroring one submitted at the NW Washington Synod meeting, requested an “opt-out of fossil fuel stocks” option for church employees in the Portico pension program.

St. Luke’s Pastor David Knapp, Council President Barbara Roady and Environmental Chair Michael Hall declined, stating that, given the magnitude and urgency of the issue, they wanted St. Luke’s request to fully encompass all ELCA-connected investment programs.

With two minor text adjustments, the resolution was allowed to go to the floor “with reservations” about its financial/legal ramifications and the feasibility of its requested actions.

Floor debate about the resolution was dramatic and the final outcome was far from obvious. In the end, the vote tally showed 102 in favor, 94 opposed and 14 abstaining.



Metro NY Resolution 2015 Release: Fossil Fuel Divestment



June 1, 2015 (New York, NY) – On Friday, March 29, the annual Assembly of the Metropolitan New York Synod, one of the most populous geographical divisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), resolved to divest from fossil fuels within five years. The Synod Assembly also voted to ask the national body of the church to do the same at the Churchwide Assembly in 2016.

Reverend John Z. Flack, pastor of Our Savior’s Atonement in Washington Heights, Manhattan, introduced the two resolutions from the floor of the Assembly. One resolution calls on the Metro NY Synod to “cease any new investments in companies whose primary business is the exploration, extraction, production, or refining of coal, oil, or natural gas,” and to “ensure that, within five years, directly held or commingled assets” in such companies “are removed from its portfolio.” The resolution also urges member congregations to follow these steps.

The second resolution calls upon the 2016 Churchwide Assembly “to urge that, by May 1, 2017, all ELCA congregations and independent, cooperative, and related Lutheran organizations and investment corporations” take these same steps to remove fossil-fuel investments from their portfolios.

Both resolutions passed with very little opposition.

The resolutions were the culmination of work begun shortly after the People’s Climate March, a gathering of 400,000 people in New York City last September, calling attention to what many now refer to as the “crisis” of climate change. As Gerard A. Falco, Chair of the Synod’s Environmental Stewardship Committee, explained, “Lutherans, from our Synod and from across the country, were deeply involved in organizing the People’s Climate March and making it the success it was. The march galvanized public opinion, and our committee decided to build on that momentum to get these divestment resolutions passed.”

About $289,000 of the Synod’s current investment portfolio will be immediately re-allocated in response to the Assembly’s action. Altogether, the Synod’s investments total about $12 million.

With the passage of these resolutions, the Metro NY Synod joins the New England and Oregon Synods – and many other congregations and religious bodies, both in the US and abroad – in divesting from coal, oil, and natural gas companies because of their damaging effects on the climate. This religious divestment movement parallels the strong student-led campaign to divest colleges and universities, and the growing campaign to divest state and municipal pension funds.

Robert Rimbo, Bishop of the Metro NY Synod, said “With this action, our Synod joins the chorus of those who acknowledge that ‘if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.’ This is a fiscally responsible step, but it’s also the right thing to do. As Christians, we are called to care for all Creation. As Luther himself wrote, ‘God is essentially present in all places, even the tiniest tree leaf,’ so ‘to do harm to Creation is also to assault God. And when humans assault God, there is only one outcome, and it is not a good one for humans.’ With these resolutions, we’ve taken a further step in living out our Lutheran vocation.”

The Metropolitan NY Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church covers the five boroughs of New York City and Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties. The Synod has approximately 64,000 baptized members in 190 congregations served by about 300 pastors and 100 rostered lay leaders. For more information, visit http://www.mnys.org/.


Sarah Gioe
Director of Communications
Metro NY Synod, ELCA

Gerard A. Falco
Chair, Environmental Stewardship Committee
Metro NY Synod, ELCA

Northeastern Pennsylvania to Study Divestment (2015)

The following resolution was passed at the June 2015 Assembly of the Northeastern Pennsylvania:
WHEREAS, Jesus calls us as his disciples to both love God and love our neighbor, and climate change is a direct threat to both God’s creation and God’s people, the church should be a leader in all efforts to preserve and protect creation;
WHEREAS, the current movement to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in sustainable forms of energy are an important part of the overall campaign to combat climate change and protect people and the planet;
RESOLVED, Resolved, that the Synod’s Creation Care Task Force be authorized to conduct a study to discuss and evaluate divestment from fossil fuels in preparation for a vote about possible divestment at the 2016 Synod Assembly.
For more information about issues specific to Pennsylvania go to the Lutheran Advocacy office in PA.

Memorial for Transition to Clean, Renewable Energy; Upper Susquenanna Synod Assembly (2015)

WHEREAS, God created heaven and earth and everything therein and proclaimed it good (Gen 1:1ff); and God has entrusted humankind with the care of the earth (Gen 2:15); and

WHEREAS, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has adopted social policy statements, “Caring for Creation” (1993) and “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood” (1999) that call for economic and environmental justice, to protect the health and integrity of creation both for its own sake and for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, and for economic justice, to consider how our actions affect the ability of all people to provide for their material needs and the needs of their families and communities; and

WHEREAS, in 1993 with the Caring for Creation social statement, we realized the urgency was already “widespread and serious, according to the preponderance of evidence from scientists worldwide [of] dangerous global warming, caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide” from the burning of fossil fuels, and that “action to counter degradation, especially within this decade, is essential to the future of our children and our children’s children. Time is very short;” and

WHEREAS, climate research is clear that there has been a rapid rise in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, with current levels (400 ppm) the highest in the past probably 2,000,000 years. This increase has occurred most rapidly in the past 200 years during the worldwide Industrial Revolution;[1]

WHEREAS, climate research is clear that burning fossil fuels is the major source of rising levels of carbon dioxide, negatively impacting our climate.[2] Consequently, the use of fossil fuels must be dramatically reduced; and

WHEREAS, the most recent report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims continued greenhouse gas emissions will cause “long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems;”[3] and

WHEREAS, in “Caring for Creation,” the ELCA declares that we will seek to incorporate the principles of sufficiency and sustainability in our life. Consequently: “We will, in our budgeting and investment of church funds, demonstrate our care for creation;” and

WHEREAS in 1990 and 2007 the ELCA Church Council approved an Environmental Social Criteria Investment Screen that recommends limiting investments made in corporations which are the most egregious in terms of damage to human health or the natural environment and investing in corporations which are taking positive steps toward a sustainable environment;[4] and

WHEREAS despite decades of shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies, the industry continues to spend nearly $2 billion dollars a day searching for additional fossil fuel reserves and over half a million dollars a day lobbying governments for subsidies and support for further extraction;[5] and

WHEREAS fossil fuel divestment can have a major influence on how society responds to climate change;[6] and

WHEREAS the ELCA has historically divested during periods of great social need, including the movement to end apartheid in South Africa; and

WHEREAS by divesting from fossil fuels, the ELCA joins with faith partners such as the United Church of Christ[7] and the World Council of Churches[8] as well as large institutional investors such as Norway’s $850 billion Government Pension Fund Global[9] and a growing list of colleges and universities, cities, religious institutions and foundations in the fastest growing divestment effort in history[10]; and

WHEREAS, un-burnable carbon stored in fossil fuel reserves presents a material financial risk to investment funds that provide capital to these companies;[11]

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA memorialize the 2016 Churchwide Assembly to call on the ELCA and its related institutions and entities, such as the ELCA Endowment Fund Pooled Trust – Fund A (hereinafter “Fund A”), the Mission Investment Fund, Portico Funds, colleges, seminaries, Social Ministry organizations, camps, synods, congregations and individual members to take leadership and make a public commitment to transition away from investments in fossil fuels to investments in clean, renewable energy sources as expeditiously as it is financially feasible to do so; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that by December 31, 2016, the ELCA follow its published procedure titled Social Criteria Investment Screen Policies and Procedures Development[12] to develop a social criteria investment screen designed to result in divestment of all fossil fuels investments held in Fund A,[13] which includes prayerful consideration of the following recommended components:

a)Publication of a list of the values of all fossil fuel investments currently held in Fund A;[14] and

b)Cessation of any new investments in fossil fuel companies with respect to Fund A; and

c)Ensuring that all securities of fossil fuel companies that are either direct holdings or holdings in commingled funds are removed from the portfolio of Fund A within five years; and

d)Publication of quarterly updates, available to the public, detailing progress towards divestment of Fund A as set forth herein; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Upper Susquehanna Synod memorialize the 2016 Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA, as part of the development of the new social criteria investment screen identified above, to direct the ELCA’s corporate social responsibility review team to consider and recommend to the executive director of the ELCA’s Congregational and Synodical Mission unit, for further review pursuant to the ELCA’s published procedure titled Social Criteria Investment Screen Policies and Procedures Development, the addition of a fossil-free investment fund that excludes the 200 largest fossil fuel companies as an option for ELCA retirement plan participants; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this synod memorializes the 2016 Churchwide Assembly to urge members of the ELCA and its related institutions to exemplify personal and institutional responsibility by practicing energy conservation, purchasing more energy efficient appliances and vehicles, investing in renewable energy systems, and advocating at all levels of government for public policies that support clean, renewable energy sources.

Respectfully submitted,

The Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, Pastor, United in Christ Lutheran Church, Lewisburg, PA


The Buffalo Valley Conference of the Upper Susquehanna Synod

[1] Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options, Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University. Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) over the last 800,000 years. Fig. 6, pg. 163. See http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/TBA–LTonly.pdf. 2007 IPCC Working Group. “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has continued to increase and is now almost 100 ppm above its pre-industrial level.” See http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-es.html. EPA: Causes of Climate Change. “Since the Industrial Era began, humans have had an increasing effect on climate, particularly by adding billions of tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.” See http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html.

[2] NRC (2011). Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to  Millennia. National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA. “Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate.” NASA: Global Climate Change; Vital Signs of the Planet. “Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by a third since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived “forcing” of climate change.” “Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).” See http://climate.nasa.gov/causes.

USGCRP (2009). Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Thomas R. Karl, Jerry M. Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson (eds.). United States Global Change Research Program. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, USA. “It is clear that impacts in the United States are already occurring and are projected to increase in the future, particularly if the concentration of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to rise.” See http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=UCg7inA-HksC&oi=fnd&pg=PA13&dq=USGCRP+%282009%29.+Global+Climate+Change+Impacts+in+the+United+States&ots=uXe7HdVN2I&sig=3OcIArtThzaK sX5JwzBrWNEj59A#v=onep age&q&f=false. NOAA, USGS: Climate change impacts to U.S. coasts threaten public health, safety and economy Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: A Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment. “…the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities’ social, economic and natural systems.” See http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130125_coastalclimateimpacts.html

[3] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5.

[4] ELCA Environment Screen: http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource


[5] Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp191fossil-fuelsfinance-climate change171014-en.pdf.

[6] Climate Change: Implications for Investors and Financial Institutions: Key Findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report. http://www.unepfi.org/fileadmin/documents/IPCC_AR5__Implications_for_Investors__Briefing__WEB_EN.pdf

[7] United Church of Christ: http://www.ucc.org/gs2013fossil-fueldivestment-vote.

[8] World Council of Churches:  http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/geneva 2014/reportofthefinance- policy- committee/@@download/file/GEN_FIN06_APPROVED_Report_Finance_Policy_Committee.pdf.

[9] Article regarding Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/05/worldsbiggest– sovereign-wealthfunddumps-dozens-of coalcompanies

[10] This website lists the institutions that are committing to divest from fossil fuels:  http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/

[11] University of Oxford: http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/research-programmes/stranded-assets/SAP-divestment- report-final.pdf.

[12] Policy is accessible at: http://www.elca.org/Resources/Corporate-Responsibility.

[13] ELCA Endowment Fund: http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource


[14] By using the current list of 200 coal, oil and gas companies found here: http://gofossilfree.org/companies/. Source: Unburnable Carbon, The Carbon Tracker Institute; http://www.carbontracker.org/wp content/uploads/2014/09/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev21.pdf.



Southeastern Minnesota Environmental Stewardship Resolution (2009)

Resolution 2009 – 03: Environmental Stewardship

1 WHEREAS, the ELCA adopted the “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice” Social 2Statement at the Churchwide Assembly in 1993 to address the church’s understanding of God’s 3 call to us to care for the earth; and,

4 WHEREAS, the ELCA has created materials to guide congregations, schools, and other groups 5 in conducting environmental audits; and,

6 WHEREAS, the knowledge and understanding of the impact of our individual 7andcongregational uses of natural resources is documented (for example, The 8MillenniumEcosystem Assessment) ; and,

9 WHEREAS, Scripture shows God’s love for creation and mandates humans to serve and keep 10 the earth; and,

11 WHEREAS, a Green Team can be a catalyst for transformation in a congregation; and,

12 WHEREAS, there is a relationship between global injustice and the degradation of nature. 13Our Companion Synods in the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Colombia and the Central 14Dioces in Tanzania struggle from the imbalance of the use and exploitation of the world’s 15natural resources,

16 THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Southeastern Minnesota Synod live out more 17fully the “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice” Social Statement actions; and,

18 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that each congregation of the Southeastern Minnesota 19Synod of the ELCA conduct the ELCA’s Environmental Audit; and,

20 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that congregations of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of 21 the ELCA study caring for creation issues in Sunday School and Bible Studies, to learn more 22 about our call to be God’s stewards of the earth; and

23 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA 24establish a committee or task force to address environmental issues in the synod and 25congregations; and,

26 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a goal be set for the year 2011 for 75% of all products 27 used by the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA office and its congregations be 28environmentally conscious. This goal would include attention to the use of fairly traded 29products.

Submitted by the congregational council of Bethel Lutheran Church, Rochester,Minn., authored and approved by the“BIGG Idea” team (Bethel Individuals Going Green) A similar resolution was passed by the Blue Earth River Conference Assembly.



Metro New York Resolution: Establishing an Environmental Stewardship Committee (2009)

Submitted by the Tappan Zee Conference, St. Luke’s (New Rochelle), St. John’s (Mamaroneck), Our Redeemer (Chappaqua), Chapel of Christ (Yonkers), St. Paul’s (Rye Brook), Trinity (New Rochelle), Grace (Yorktown Heights), Grace (Scarsdale), United Lutheran (Mt. Vernon), Ascension (Glendale), Trinity (Brewster)

Whereas, scripture teaches us that “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it” (Genesis 2:15) and that “The earth and its fullness are the Lord’s” (1 Corinthians 10:26); and

Whereas, the issues of climate change and threats to biodiversity and natural habitats are not simply scientific, economic, and social issues, but also fundamentally ethical and moral concerns; and

Whereas, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social statement “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice”

· decries “the despoiling of the environment as nothing less than the degradation of God’s gracious gift of creation,”

· calls for “action to counter (environmental) degradation” and “pray(s)… for the creativity and dedication to live more gently with the earth,”

· asks us to “commit ourselves to personal life styles that contribute to the health of the environment,” and,

· calls on our church community to be “a center for exploring scriptural and theological foundations for caring for creation” and “to incorporate the principles of sufficiency and sustainability in our life,” therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Metropolitan New York Synod will:

· educate our churches and members on issues of environmental integrity and creation care,

· encourage celebrations commemorating Earth Day, Rogation Days, Arbor Day and other environmentally conscious events as may be appropriate for Christian churches,

· promote and encourage specific actions each church community and its members can take to act with greater environmental responsibility, and

· promote and encourage actions synod-wide to “green” our operations, including energy audits, adopting cleaner and renewable energy sources, increasing our commitment to recycling and using recycled materials, reducing the amount of waste we produce, and working to protect the precious shared environmental resources of land, air, and water, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Metropolitan New York Synod, in support of the above ongoing efforts, will establish a standing committee on Environmental Stewardship. The Environmental Stewardship Committee may be formed immediately, but will be unfunded for the 2009 year. It will be financed out of the general budget beginning with the 2010 budget cycle.



Northern Illinois Synod Resolution to Become a “Green Synod” (2008)

WHEREAS, God’s first commandments to humanity are that we care for and take care of God’s good creation (Gen. 1:28 & 2:15); and

WHEREAS, Jesus came to bring salvation to the entire cosmos (John 3:16-17); and

WHEREAS, the Church, as the body of Christ in the world, is charged with calling the world to repentance and ushering in the kingdom of God; and

WHEREAS, “the whole creation is groaning” due to the abuse and misuse of God’s good creation by humanity;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Northern Illinois Synod become a “green synod” by taking the following steps:

Instituting all possible changes to improve energy efficiency in the synod office and other properties owned and/or operated by the synod, including but not limited to:
Performing a “green” audit (as per Green Synod Model proposed by Dr. David Rhoads, LSTC) that will make short and long term recommendations to lessen the carbon footprint on the earth,
Changing incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs,
Exploring and utilizing alternate, more environmentally friendly means of producing electricity and heat, and
Replacing as necessary windows, doors, insulation, and other structural aspects of the property that may result in loss of energy.
Being persistent about the reduction and recycling of disposable resources in the synod office(s) such as paper, ink cartridges, plastic, Styrofoam, etc.; and
Taking all possible steps to make all synod sponsored events more environmentally friendly by things such as:
Reducing paper use by utilizing projection where practical and encouraging participants to use electronic media such as laptops, PDAs, etc., and
Insisting that meals be served in a manner that reduces waste by things such as:
i. Serving buffet style when possible so people only take what they will eat,

ii. Insisting on the use of paper or washable cups and plates instead of plastic or Styrofoam,

iii. Requiring that all recyclable waste be divided out and recycled properly.

Encouraging, expecting and enabling participants to carpool to events; and
Replacing synod owned vehicles with those that are the most environmentally friendly available (currently hybrid vehicles); and
Providing necessary support and resources so that the Northern Illinois Synod Green Team can continue its work to help the synod, its congregations and agencies to become green; and
Identifying a symbol that expresses and promotes our care for creation that will be used whenever green steps are taken; and
Instituting other strategies that may emerge as science and technology continue to explore means of helping preserve and regenerate the environment.

Submitted by: Synod Green Team

Contact Person: Pastor Don Knowles or Pastor Jeff Schlesinger

Date Received: April 10, 2008


Action of the Resolution Committee

Date of Action: April 25, 2008

Action Taken: Recommend Adoption

Eastern WA/ID Synod Accepts Eco-Reformation Work

Congratulations to the assembly and team which brought forth a Memorial and Resolution to support the focus on ecological integrity throughout the ELCA’s 500th Observance of the Reformation!

The good news as detailed by proud Pastor Alex Schmidt:

Greetings, this evening, Folks of Faith Lutheran [Leavenworth, WA]!
You can be proud of our Synod delegates, John Butruille and Lisa Therrell who have done a splendid job in hanging in there on some long days beginning Friday! Ninety-two churches with over 200 delegates are present here in Pasco. It is now Sat. night and we’ve just finished our 12 hour day.

Lisa, on behalf of the Faith Lutheran Earth Stewardship Group of which she is a part, did a most excellent job in her assembly workshop (which she’ll present as an adult forum on May 24th, along with John’s assembly reflections). Lisa also in gave two very articulate 3 minute speeches presenting the Memorial (directed to the National Church) and Resolution 1 (directed to our Synod) for the Assembly’s consideration and vote. Both documents were prepared by the Earth Stewardship Group and both passed nearly unanimously!

The testimonies that set the stage:

Reverend Barbara Rossing’s video address on why this is a critical ministry for the ELCA to wrap their arms around.

Keynote address from Prof. Ben Stewart included the logic laid out in Chris Hayes’ “The New Abolitionism”:

· scientists have identified a limit to how much carbon can go into the air if we hope to avoid cataclysmic damage to human civilization (565 GT by midcentury)

· there’s 5X that much carbon in known, extractable reserves right now (2,795 GT)

· countries and corporations are counting all of that carbon as wealth, but they can only cash it in if they burn it.

· thus, we are charged with convincing or compelling these countries and corporations to count those “assets” as being worth zero, nothing.

· (there’s one clear historical precedent for such a huge amount of “assets” suddenly being ruled no longer “property” — the abolition of slavery in the United States.)


Short address to the assembly:

My name is Lisa Therrell. I am from Faith Lutheran Church in Leavenworth, Washington. I am retired from a 34 year career with the United State Forest Service, where discussions on climate change science became commonplace towards the end of my career. Our family also has a farm in Asotin County that has been in our family prior to Statehood, where we witness changes to the landscape.

In the Genesis story we read, “And God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”

We know this about the Inland Northwest: a land defined by mountains and canyons, prairie and scabland, forests, rivers, lakes, and fertile fields. We are defined by this landscape, fed by this landscape, renewed by this landscape.

I am here to remind you the Earth is God’s Good Creation worthy of our care. Before you are two companion resolutions. Memorial 1 is directed to the 2016 Churchwide Assembly to make addressing climate change and ecological justice major themes of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Resolution 1 is to this Synod, to advocate for reduced dependence on fossil fuels and to step up our care for creation.

God appointed us to tend the garden. Our failure to care for the garden is a sin against God, a failure to love the Creator with our whole heart. The challenge is clear. We must steadily reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. And we can do it. Our congregation put 96 solar panels on our local Middle School, a sign of the transition we can make to renewable energy.

But what does this have to do with the Reformation? The Reformation was a return to our biblical roots and a call for the renewal of the church and its mission. Theologians have coined the term “Ecclesia semper reformanda” meaning “the church is always to be reformed”. So we can observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as a “looking back”, but also a “looking ahead” for where the active presence of God’s people is needed in an ailing world.

There are many ways churches can work on ways to reduce their own carbon footprint and to inspire members to do the same. We can be a faith voice in our communities, region, and nation for care of creation. We can lead the way globally as peacemakers and healers of the land, standing in solidarity with those in peril and leaving a positive legacy for unborn future generations.

We are a church of reformers. I ask for your vote in favor of leading an Ecoreformation to save the atmosphere that surrounds our fragile planet while there is still time.

Thank you very much.


Eco-Reformation in the Context of Climate Change

Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod Assembly 2015
Resolution 1 

Memorial on Eco-Reformation in the Context of Climate Change

WHEREAS, 2017 will mark observances of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which addressed fundamental threats to human well-being and all of God’s creation in theological, social, and political ways; and

WHEREAS, the 1993 ELCA Social Statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice affirms that, “we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth;” and

WHEREAS, in 1993 with Caring for Creation we realized the urgency was already “widespread and serious, according to the preponderance of evidence from scientists worldwide [of] dangerous global warming, caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide” from the burning of fossil fuels, and that “action to counter degradation, especially within this decade, is essential to the future of our children and our children’s children. Time is very short;” and

WHEREAS, in the 1999 ELCA Social Statement Economic Life:  Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All, this church declares that “Too often the earth has been treated as a waste receptacle and a limitless storehouse of raw materials to be used up for the sake of economic growth, rather than as a finite, fragile ecological system upon which human and all other life depends;” and

WHEREAS, the Statement of Vision and Expectations for Ordained Ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) stipulates that “the people of God are called to the care and redemption of all that God has made. This includes the need to speak on behalf of this earth, its environment and natural resources and its inhabitants. This church expects that its ordained ministers will be exemplary stewards of the earth’s resources, and that they will lead this church in the stewardship of God’s creation;” and

WHEREAS, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton wrote in a pastoral letter on September 19, 2014: “Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. Glaciers are disappearing, the polar ice cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. Incidents of pollution-created dead zones in seas and the ocean and toxic algae growth in water supplies are occurring with greater frequency. Most disturbingly, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an unprecedented rate. At the same time we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste… 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”; and

WHEREAS, the Lutheran World Federation has already, with its three-fold theme “Salvation: Not for sale. Human beings: Not for sale. Creation: Not for sale.”, signaled its intention to include creation at the center of global 2017 anniversary commemorations; be it therefore

RESOLVED, that this Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, recognizing the need for ongoing reformation of the ELCA, memorialize the 2016 Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA to make climate change and ecological justice major themes in ELCA planning and activities leading up to and following the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.


Faith Lutheran Earth Stewardship Group:

Margaret Neighbors, Facilitator, Lisa Therrell, Presenter of Resolution

MaryCarol Nelson, Mary Schramm, Rev. John Schramm, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing, David Morgan, and Don Hurst, members.

Faith Lutheran Council:

MaryCarol Nelson, President

Judy Moody, Mary Schramm, John Butruille, Terry Leverenz, Dottie Smallbeck, Lindsay Camp, and Pr. Alex Schmidt, members.

Cluster Pastors:

            Pr. David Haven, Celebration Lutheran, Wenatchee

            Pr. Kent Narum, Fullness of God, Holden Village

Congregational Forum Resources:

Caring for Creation:  Vision, Hope, and Justice  http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Caring-for-Creation   A most excellent Lutheran and Biblical perspective on the crucial, political, social, and economic issues surrounding environmental care of creation.

Economic Life:  Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All   http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Economic-Life   Another insightful and biblically based document which examines the impact of economics on human well-being as well as sustainability of our environment.

Lutherans Restoring Creation
www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org  LRC is a grassroots movement advocating for and promoting care of creation through the ELCA.  Their website provides extensive and creative ideas and resources.

Lutheran World Federation:
https://www.lutheranworld.org/reformation-2017  This global service and justice oriented organization’s informative website provides an excellent and insightful critique of global tendencies tying human and environmental well-being to economic gain.