St. Luke Environmental Sustainability Survey

Since 2006, the Environmental Stewardship Committee at St. Luke Lutheran Church (Portland, Oregon) had been discussing, educating, and planning events on issues related to caring for God’s creation. Given the congregation’s favorable response to the St. Luke Recycles initiative and to a number of “Sustainable Sundays” and other educational presentations, it appeared that environmental sustainability was viewed as essential to many church members. However, these congregational waters had not been formally tested.

To test those waters, the committee explored how other churches had addressed sustainability in their congregations and what instruments they had used to gather information. While there were indications of congregational efforts in this arena, they found few examples exploring what members thought about sustainability, and none asking how effectively the various policies and practices which it entails were being performed.

So the committee decided to create its own assessment device, hoping it would help St. Luke understand the width and depth of sustainability in its congregational life. Their plan evolved into designing and conducting an environmental survey, specifically designed to measure:

Ø  if there was a shared understanding of what “sustainability” means,

Ø  to what extent it was seen as important, and

Ø  whether the church’s policies and practices were known and seen as effective.

The outcome of some very hard work, preparation and unanimous Church Council approval was The St. Luke Environmental Sustainability Survey. It was made available online, resulting in broad participation among church members. After tabulating the many responses, the survey’s primary result: Sustainability was viewed as important to the church community. An Action Plan approved by the Church Council subsequently detailed nine specific recommendations to further St. Luke’s environmental stewardship efforts.

May this revised environmental survey help many other faith communities deepen their commitment to caring for God's creation.

Learn more about The St. Luke Environmental Survey and its related documents here.   

Learn more about work of the St. Luke Church Environmental Stewardship Committee here.

St. Luke Survey Team members Michael Hall, Gaile Baack, Deborah Hall, Elizabeth Medford and Bob Swanson. Not pictured are Dave Couch, Bob Everhart, Michael Ford and Vern Johnson.