NEW Working their Beliefs into the Public Spherethe Northeast Canyons and Seamounts area was declared a Marine National Monument by President Obama as part of the Antiquities Act. While some faith leaders had been in the activist role before, there were a couple young people initiated into the practice of public involvement for the first time. Lydia Holleck, an 8th grader from Harwich MA and, Thea Morad, an 8 year old from Braintree, MA were at the table, as people of faith, proclaiming the moral imperative to steward our oceans. Upon hearing the news of the President's determination from her science teacher earlier this fall, Lydia was blessed with a feeling few citizens get to have in their lifetime. Read her story (and make one of your own).
NEW Caring for Sishmaref and All of God's Creation
Shishmaref, Alaska, is an island village that has gained national attention for its historic decision to relocate. Residents were driven to this decision because of the unique and challenging circumstances of their environment. Climate change has led to increased flooding and erosion. As a result, Shishmaref is one of the most dramatic examples of a population affected by climate change. Find out more by reading the full article.
I Thirst -- Youth Eco-Reflection for Good FridayAfter this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, Jesus said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” -- John 19:28
On Good Friday the youth of United in Christ, Lewisburg, PA, designed a service of darkness focused on the seven last words of Christ. The youth worked in pairs on their sermons which they preached in a dialogical style. This sermon was written by two middle school youth from an ecological perspective, focusing on the need for clean water. [Read More]
NEW St. Andrew's Environmental Stewardship Team: Nine Years Old,
The Environmental Stewardship Team (EST) at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN (a congregation of some 6,000 people on a campus of three sizable buildings) was founded nine years ago.
The group has co-sponsored a wind generator on a co-campus with a high school, converted the congregation's buildings to all LED lighting, and holds an annual “Caring for Creation Weekend”.
NEW Giving Voice to My Community and Bringing ELCA Advocacy Home
I am Fumi Liang from Huntington Beach California and I want to tell you a story about a group of senior citizens who are trying to make a difference in caring for the environment. [Read More]
NEW Edmonds Lutheran Church Is Going Solar!
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. [Read More]
Confirmation Students Write Haiku Reflections on The Holy Spirit: Creator of Life
Confirmation students at United in Christ Lutheran Church in Lewisburg, PA, completed their unit on the Apostle’s Creed with a session on the Holy Spirit. After reading Bible passages, discussing the Apostle’s Creed, and meditating on the Spirit, they went to the Island at Milton State Park and wrote haiku poetry about the Holy Spirit. "Children will learn to protect what they love. Connect youth to the Creation of God and cultivate their appreciation for the power of the Holy Spirit to create new life in them and all around them," says the students' pastor, Rev. Dr. Leah Schade. [Read more of the students' haiku and watch a video about the session.]
First Lutheran in Decorah Signs Paris Pledge
First Lutheran in Decorah signed the Paris Pledge, joining other congregations across the nation to reduce our carbon pollution by 50% by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. They have already achieved the 50% reduction goal and they are determined to be carbon neutral by 2050. [Read More]
Central States Synod LRC Mission Table Holds Planning Retreat
Trinity Seminary Seeks GreenFaith Certification
Over the years, students and faculty have become more involved in recycling, energy conservation, gardening and other activities that demonstrate a faithful commitment to the care of creation. in the fall of 2014, Trinity Seminary formally kicked off a three-year process to become a GreenFaith certified seminary. [Read More]
United by Faith Does Renewal and Goes Green
By Johan Bergh[Read More]
by Erin Koster, M.Div., middler
Two years ago, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago decided to take on an ambitious project. It wanted to expand its composting program, which began in student housing in 2010, to its refectory. The scale of the initiative would be a challenge, but would also offer the seminary a chance to live out its theology of caring for creation. [Read More]
Caring for Creation: An Environmental Workshop for People of Faith
The workshop was advertised for all people of faith.It was planned and organized by three people (Janet Bischoff, Dennis Groce, and Rev. Kenneth Laber) who had received LRC training in the previous couple of years at Gettysburg Seminary. [Read More]
Camp Mount Luther: A Commitment to Care for God's Creation
Camp Mount Luther in Mifflinburg, PA now has a standing committee that will be tasked with looking at environmental stewardship. Camp Mount Luther’s Board of Directors passed a resolution to establish the Care of Creation and Environmental Sustainability committee at their meeting April 29, 2014. The board has committed to the care for God’s creation and wanted to ensure that this important work was part of their normal governance of the camp. [Read More]
Here Comes the Son: Christ and Trinity Lutheran Church Goes Solar
The idea of going solar began with an observation and a question. During the monthly council meeting, a member said, "You know I drove by this church the other day and they had solar panels. I talked to a member there and they only had positive things to say. Is this something we might consider?"
And so began the dream, the vision, and the hope for not only the community at Christ and Trinity Lutheran but for the larger Sedalia community and for generations to come. This could be a possibility for Christ and Trinity, some shared. This could save money on our electric bill, some hoped. This is what we are called to do as stewards of God's creation, some echoed. [Read More]
How many young people does it take to screw in a light bulb? What sounds like the start to an overused joke was in fact a serious question last weekend when high school youth recruited by Metropolitan NewYork Synod's Environmental Stewardship Committee volunteered to help improve energy efficiency at Koinonia Camp. Led by Pastor John Flack of Christ, Floral Park, and Brandon Chenevert, staff member at Koinonia, the team of ten youth spent two days making simple improvements to the camp's facilities that will save both energy and money in the long term. [Read More]
Buried and Returned to the Forest
Should an individual choose to be buried in an EcoEternity Forest, their body is cremated, put into a biodegradable urn, and buried at the base of a chosen mature tree so that their body may be returned to the earth and assist in the growth of that tree. [Read More]
Chicago Table Talks
In January, Trinity Seminary student Delaney Schlake was blessed with the opportunity to take a class on “Community Organizing: Leadership for Public Life” at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
While there, she sat down with members of the faculty and staff to talk about their passions and hopes for the present and future of creation care at LSTC. [Read More]
Death and the Environment
by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
"[The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago] produces 400 cubic feet of compost each year for its vegetable and landscape gardens, diverting more than 800 cubic feet of waste from the landfill, said Jim Schaal, sustainability coordinator. [Read the full RNS story]
Click here for more information about and pictures of composting at LSTC.
Waypost's Vision for Sustainable Living
In the fall of 2009, Waypost Camp in Hatley, Wisconsin adopted a vision to provide environmental education experiences to all ages. These experiences focus on developing caring and responsible stewards of nature, demonstrating environmentally sustainable practices, and being a place to explore, recreate, rejuvenate and connect with God’s creation and each other.
Sara Damrow, Director of Waypost, described what happened next: “The staff, campers, congregational leaders, and other guests began to live out the vision – both inside and out. It has been a true learning process – as we rearranged our traditional camp schedule, reviewed the priorities for programming, and put new ideas and practices into action.” [Read More]
Recycling in Philadelphia: Extending the Philos of the City to the Earth
Geothermal Comes to the Battlefield
150 years ago, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (LTSG) figured prominently in the Civil War. Now, LSTG is making history again--this time, through a literally groundbreaking installation of geothermal technology on their historic campus. [Read More]
St. Luke Environmental Sustainability Survey
God’s Land is in Good Hands at Washington Prairie
Sustainable Projects on Muhlenberg College Rooftops
The rooftops at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA are full of fish and green vegetation! Tilapia are bred sustainably in a rooftop greenhouse on the science building, and the student union has an energy-saving green roof. Read More
“Heat is Cheap; Air Conditioning is (Almost) Free” for Camp Ewalu (Strawberry Point, Iowa)
These changes would not have been possible without a commitment to care for creation. In Dale’s opinion, “We are a camp of the church; it is our responsibility – simply part of our mission - to be good stewards of the earth.” [Read More]
Tales from a Green Sheep
Walking the Talk in a Straw Bale House
LSTC Class Gifts Lead to Large Grants for Energy Efficiency Improvements
Gifts for environmental sustainability from the classes of 2008, 2010, and 2013 have catalyzed grants of over $185,000 for energy efficiency improvements at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). The classes raised and donated nearly $10,000 toward the enhancements, which will be completed by September 2013. [Read More]
Year of Water
Along with that, the community saw a 37% spike in water bills in 2012, so it has been declared the Year of Water. It was a chance for residents to value what they have and to strive for conservation. [Read More]
Gardens Bring Community Together
In October 2011 members of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Vancouver, Washington began meeting to explore the possibility of installing a community garden on their property. On March 24 of this year, those plans became a reality as over 30 people – some St. Andrew members and some not – worked to install 20 raised beds. [Read More]
Keeping Our Community Clean and Green
The High School Youth in Emerson, Nebraska, have taken on a big goal, and they are well on their way to achieving it.
During the summer of 2011 they participated in a YouthWorks service project in West Virginia. When they returned, their hearts of service were empowered and ready to make a difference in their home town of Emerson. They recognized a need in their community for a recycling program. [Read More]
From Small Steps to International Reach
Starting in 2006 with a small group of people with a general interest in environmental issues, the "Caring for Creation" movement at St. Matthew's has grown into a vibrant congregational effort that has not just a church-wide or community-wide reach, but an international reach -- in just 7 short years. [Read More]
Lutheran Ecotheology from the North: The Climate Programme of the Church of Finland
Gratitude, Respect, Moderation: TheClimate Programme of the Church of Finland was prepared by a working group consisting of experts in environmental science and theology, and it was approved by the General Synod.The Climate Programme includes information about the dangerous environmental situation, but builds on the "environmental virtues" of gratitude, respect and moderation. [Read More]
New England Synod Takes the Challenge
At the New England 2013 Assembly, June 7-9, voters agreed to urge the restraint of hydraulic fracturing and request an eventual divestment of church funds from fossil fuel companies. [Read More]
Related Story: Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution Passes at Oregon Synod Meeting. [Read More]
Between Economy and Ecology Offers ELCA Leaders Practical Information
A stewardship workshop for seminarians, pastors and leaders in ELCA congregations, was held April 6 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Dr. Jim Martin-Schramm, Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, began by reminding participants that this is the century of climate change--the social justice issue which will eclipse and umbrella all other social justice issues of our time. [Read More]
Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Hosts Environmental Educators
Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (NLOM) hosted the 2013 Environmental Education Intensive for Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. Educators from camps in Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Illinois gathered from Feb. 11-14 to share ideas, develop new programming, network, and worship. [Full Story]
Nurturing a Network and Celebrating a Season of Creation
The mission of the Northwest Minnesota Synod Creation Care Team is “to nurture a growing network that inspires our congregations and their members to live out God's call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation.” At their first retreat in February, the Team did just that. Read More
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 to become LRC trainers. They were empowered to return to their synods and congregations with the tools, connections and renewed faith to restore creation. [Read more]
Luther Crest Bible Camp: Grounded in Creation Stewardship
Luther Crest's environmental education program has been re-envisioned with respect to the camp’s mission statement, “We are called and committed to a Christ-centered ministry through Creation and Community.” The camp's "Grounded In" environmental stewardship program is divided into three focus areas: On Hallowed Ground, On Common Ground, and On Sustainable Ground. [Full Story]
“Upcycled” Advent Worship Backdrop
A parishioner at Village Church in Milwaukee, Jennifer Hellerman used bubble wrap, other packing material, and toilet paper rolls to create a beautiful Advent worship environment depicting falling snow. "The idea for the sanctuary installation came from observations I made of snow throughout the winter of 2010-2011, back when Milwaukee had snow!" [Read More]
Lutheran Center Scores High with Energy Star
In November, The Lutheran Center on Higgins Road in Chicago received word that it had been certified as an Energy Star building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star is a program that recognizes significant energy-saving measures. The Lutheran Center achieved a score of 92, which means that the building uses 35 percent less energy and generates 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings across the nation. According to the EPA, the ELCA is only the second U.S. denomination to get Energy Star certification for its headquarters building! [Read More]
St. Andrew Members Embrace Earth Care
Pastor Robyn Hartwig. The parish’s environmental efforts “help fulfill our mission to support our five core values: God care, earth care, community care, neighbor care, and self care. I’m very proud of St. Andrew in its earth care efforts because God loves the earth,” adds the pastor. “And after all, we are called to love what God loves.” [Read more]
First English Lutheran Church, Columbus, OH, was one of 28 congregations honored at the White House for being the first to achieve Energy Star certification. Also honored were: Elim Lutheran Church, Duluth, MN; First Lutheran Church, Bothell, WA; and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale, IA.
“Greening America’s Congregations,” sponsored by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program and the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, was held Thursday, Sept.13, in Washington, D.C. [Read more]
A Seed Planted and A Garden Grown
Five years ago, the Green Team at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisconsin had the idea to plant a garden in the large lawn on the west side of their church. Little did they know at the time it would go this far.
The chair of the Green Team, Sandy Roberts, said, “We were just planting a small mustard seed at the time, but look what it has become.” The project took off when a long time member of the church and a master gardener, Mark Trinklein, took over the plan and enlisted the help of other church members and some local residents, including youth in a Racine community project. [Read More]
Wittenberg Library Recycling Project
Greening the New England Synod
Phoebe Morad and Nancy Urban posted this display at the New England Synod assembly to encourage the greening of congregations and to offer LRC training. Nancy asked people what they had done in their congregation. Click here to see what 24 congregations and two retired pastors reported! They also circulated a poster offering LRC training: “What would YOU get from Lutherans Restoring Creation training?” (The poster is attached at bottom of this page.)
Tell us what you did at your synod assembly! (e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
SPOTLIGHT ON OUTDOOR MINISTRIES
A Place to Connect with Christ, Others, and Creation (Camp Frederick, Ohio)
Twenty miles south of Youngstown, Ohio, Camp Frederick is a scenic center for spiritual renewal in the forests of northeast Ohio. The camp is implementing a plan to connect camp participants and visitors with creation.
The basic concept is “Camp Frederick, as a community, cares for creation because we love the Creator.” [Full story]
SPOTLIGHT ON OUTDOOR MINISTRIES
Garbology -- Helping Serve Creation Through Faithful Patterns of Daily Living (Holden Village, Washington State)
Yet in another way the Lutheran retreat center is no different from most places. 'As special as this place is, it produces garbage just like any other community,' Mattias Olshausen, Holden Village’s full-time garbologist, said." [Full story]
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
Going Green is in the Bag (Wisconsin/Michigan)
As chairperson of the LSS Green Team, Gapinski knew he had to make an impact in getting across the importance of recycling or reducing use of plastic bags. Though sources and statistics vary, 200 is probably on the low side in estimating the number of plastic bags the average American uses (and discards) each year." [Full story]
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
LEEDing by Example in Washington State
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOsStudent Presentation Ignites Organizational Green Efforts (Pennsylvania)
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
Garden Table in Washington State
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
The Lantow Lofts (Illinois)
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
Green Building in Minneapolis (Minnesota)
A building adjacent to the center offers 48 units of affordable housing, including 10 for people who are chronically homeless. Before the building and affordable housing units opened in November 2008, more than 1,000 applications were received, indicating the great need for affordable housing in the area."
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
The King of Green (North Carolina)
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
A Virtual Reduction in Energy Use (Massachusetts)
"Most businesses can’t cut out a major part of their digital operation, such as eliminating e-mail, Internet, financial applications, etc. But that doesn’t mean they can’t cut out a majority of their related energy use.
That’s exactly what Lutheran Social Services of New England (LSSNE), based in Massachusetts, did when they implemented a practice known as virtualization." [Full story]
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
"Being Green is Being Smart" (Illinois)
If you could save 285 trees, 34 barrels of oil, 117,355 gallons of gas, and 50 cubic yards of land fill a year, would you? That’s what Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) did over the course of a year not long ago, an effort that netted LSSI an award from one of its vendors, Cintas.
The green efforts of this social ministry organization of the ELCA have translated in recent years to an annual savings of $250,000. So how did they do it? [Full story]
SPOTLIGHT ON SMOs
The Proof is in the (Lack of) Paper (Pennsylvania)
"Trying to become a greener social ministry organization presented a challenge of simple math for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania. With 2,300 employees spanning five ELCA synods and three states—all of whom serving in over 40 different agencies in that region—where does an organization or “green committee” begin in trying to get everyone on the same page?" [Full story]
Eating Local at Luther (Iowa)
"Nick Fisher loves food—knowing where food comes from, that is. A senior at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Nick joined the Luther Gardens summer program because he wanted to learn more about the campus food system.
'I wanted to be a part of the system that gets vegetables from seeds to my plate in the cafeteria,' says Nick, who spent much of this past summer in the dirt. 'I like knowing where my food comes from, and I've seen great things in the dining locations.'
Grace Gast (pictured left) agrees, but this Luther sophomore’s interest in community gardens stems from parental influence." [Full story]
The most notable of these efforts recently has been the wind turbine project.
Luther’s plan to purchase and construct a wind turbine has been in the works for quite some time, and the timeline of the project has not always been clear.
However, Manager of Trade Services Jay Uthoff says that students can expect to see the turbine under construction by the fall of 2011." [Full story]
An attempt was made to fix the leaks, which proved temporarily helpful; however, it was a costly solution. As soon as one leak was fixed, another would pop up. This combined with the fact that the sanctuary had no cooling system prompted the property committee and Church Council to investigate other options and building upgrades. The final straw came around Thanksgiving in 2007 when the heating system nearly quit altogether. Shortly after Christmas that year, 80 percent of the church—including the sanctuary—had lost heat..." [Full story]
"In early 2008, Pastor Brian Brandt and the members of Central Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon, entered a discernment process. The goal was simple: determine what they as a congregation liked about themselves as well as what they might want to change or areas for growth.
The process revealed an exciting new possibility, one garnering lots of enthusiasm from church members, including Brandt who was pastor of Central at the time: become a greener congregation..."
Nativity has collection containers for plastic bottle and jar caps, which are recycled through a program of the Aveda Corporation. Aveda melts and recycles the caps for its own products. Since the program began, Nativity has delivered approximately a half ton of caps to the Aveda plant in Blaine, MN..." [Full story]
SEND US YOUR STORIES!
Have a good "care for creation" story about you or your congregation, school, camp, college, seminary, social ministry group or other organization?
Guidelines for submitting stories
Send to Peter Bakken at email@example.com. Peter is the web manager and, if needed, he can further edit the story for the website.
LUTHERAN CREATION CARE IN THE NEWS
NEW Creation-Care articles in April 2016 issue of Living Lutheran, including:
The Huffington Post features ELCA Lutheran and Creation Justice Ministries staff member Tricia Bruckbauer in a series of profiles of young faith leaders.
The Lutheran April 2015 Issue Theme: Helping Save the Earth.
Includes "Restoring Creation with Faith," which profiles Lutherans Restoring Creation as well as six persons and two congregations who are "working daily to care for creation." Also included is a Study Guide with "Things Individuals and Families Can Do to Help Save the Planet,"
Church Rain Gardens Help Control Flooding, Improve Watershed Quality (The Lutheran, September 2014) In the concrete jungle, an hour-long downpour can cause an all-day headache: flooded basements, backed-up sewers, and lakes and rivers inundated with untreated wastewater and pollutants. St. Paul Lutheran Church, Jersey City, N.J., knows this problem well. [Read More]
A Season of Creation: Focusing Worship on God as Creator: Focusing worship on God as creator (The Lutheran, August 2014.) The church seasons of Advent, Epiphany, Lent and Easter help us trace the life of Jesus. Pentecost draws us into the life of the Spirit. So why not also take four Sundays in the year for a special focus on God as creator? [Read More]
Camps Care for Creation (The Lutheran, July 2014) You might be surprised at the many ways ELCA camps and outdoor ministries not only bring campers of all ages closer to creation but also help them care for God’s world. Here’s just a sampling of their efforts, thanks to Lutherans Restoring Creation, which helped gather these stories. [Read More]
LRC Featured in the April 2013 issue of The Lutheran, "Now & Forever: Sabbath, stewardship and sustainable church" by David Davis
"Lutherans Restoring Creation" is an article in the April 2012 Gather magazine highlighting three women leaders in the environmental movement--all connected to Lutherans Restoring Creation--and their unique journeys to help this church become greener.
Learn how to foster a greener Christmas from an article on the Living Lutheran Web site: "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas."
Read an article on Lutherans Restoring Creation in the June 2011 issue of The Lutheran magazine.
Learn more about resources to help your congregation participate in the Season of Creation from an article on Living Lutheran.