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Guide to Greening your Synod

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LUTHERANS RESTORING CREATION

 

 

 

A Program

of the

Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods

 

 

 

 

A Guide for

Synods of the ELCA

 

 

 


 

 

“Lutherans Restoring Creation” (LRC)

A Program sponsored by LENS to serve the ELCA

LRC is a program designed to encourage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to incorporate care for creation into its full life and mission at all levels. LRC desires to become partners with the ELCA in these efforts at the congregational, synodical, seminary, college, outdoor ministry, and national levels. The goal is to incorporate care for creation into the organizational patterns, worship life, educational programs, responsibility for buildings and grounds, lifestyle of members at home and work, and public ministry of all these institutions—so that earth-keeping and justice for all earth community becomes integral to the identity and purpose of our church.

 LRC is a program sponsored by the Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS), a loose-knit, independent network of Lutherans devoted to bringing care for creation into the life and mission of the ELCA. It was founded in 1997; and its informal leadership as changed through its history. LENS maintains a web site at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago hosted by the Web of Creation, a Lutheran-sponsored ecumenical website providing environmental resources for faith communities: www.webofcreation. At this time, a group within LENS is directing this new LRC program: Alycia Ashburn, Mary Minette, Keith Mundy, Mark Peters, David Rhoads, and Kim Winchell, with other committed persons serving as consultants. At this time, the LENS network is investing time and energy into this LRC program of Lutherans Restoring Creation. A new website will serve the LRC program.

LRC directors believe that Lutherans are uniquely positioned to offer leadership in the movement to restore creation, based on: a strong theology of creation, a sacramental theology that discerns the active presence of God in all of life, a theology of the cross that leads us to identify with the most vulnerable, a situational ethic that enables us to respond creatively to new challenges, an ecclesiology which says that that the church exists for the sake of the world, a tradition of commitment to social ministry and public advocacy for justice, an understanding of justification that empowers us to act out of gratitude and grace, and our affirmation of a future that is in God’s hands.

Furthermore, we Lutherans have a long history of social service to and advocacy for the poor, the elderly, the sick, the oppressed, the marginalized, through hospitals, homes for the elderly, Lutheran Immigration Service, Lutheran World Relief, and on and on. As a church, we have already begun to extend that commitment to protecting and healing Earth community. Bishop Hanson has issued statements about our commitment to care for creation. The ELCA has a fulltime person in environmental/hunger advocacy issues in Washington (Mary Minette). Lutheran Public Policy offices address issues of environmental-justice. The ELCA Office of Hunger Education offers grants for environmental projects.

Much creation-care is already well established in many congregations, within ELCA synods, in Lutheran outdoor ministries, at colleges, and among seminaries. Lutherans have spearheaded the Green Congregation Program, the Green Seminary Initiative, and the resources on the Web of Creation (www.webofcreation.org). We have helped to lead the way in promoting a Season of Creation in the church year (www.seasonofcreation.com). There are many Lutherans scholars representing diverse disciplines who have written on care of the Earth for church and academy.

We at LRC believe it is time now to respond in comprehensive and holistic ways to the environmental justice challenges facing humanity in our time.  Our purpose is to partner with synods, congregations, colleges, seminaries, outdoor ministries, and ELCA church-wide offices to develop and strengthen programs in restoring creation. Here are some components of the program we envision.

1.      We affirm ELCA congregations in creation-care in congregational life and in the lives of members

2.      We affirm ELCA synods in developing ongoing efforts to foster creation-care through leadership conferences and training workshops and promoting Earthkeeping in congregations.

3.      We affirm ELCA seminaries in preparing leaders for church and society committed to ecological justice.

4.      We affirm ELCA colleges and universities in preparing leaders for church and society committed to ecological justice.

5.      We affirm ELCA outdoor ministry programs in their efforts to guide the church and in providing opportunities for all ages to participate actively in creation-care.

6.      We affirm the ELCA church-wide offices, the conference of bishops, and the public policy offices in examining ways in which they can model leadership in creation-care for the whole church.

LRC commitment is:

1.      To provide a programmatic framework whereby congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries,, outdoor ministries, and ELCA leadership might strengthen programs and actions in ecological justice.

2.      To promote LRC across the church, develop a nationwide registration program, keep track of what participant groups and institutions are doing, and assess results.

3.      To offer resources for diverse communities in areas of worship, education/curriculum, property maintenance, creation stewardship at home and work, and public ministry/political advocacy.

4.      To offer training for synodical and congregational leaders in bringing care for creation into the life and mission of congregations.

5.      To encourage partners to be creative in their efforts and to provide networking sites online where people can share with each other the methods and fruits of their labor—for mutual instruction and inspiration.

6.      To facilitate cooperative efforts across the church that might not otherwise be feasible, such as joint synod resolutions or common carbon reduction efforts.

7.      To identify and provide resources in Bible, theology, ethics, and ministry as means to undergird our common efforts with strong Lutheran theological foundations.

By August 2011, Lutherans Restoring Creation hopes to have expanded significantly the number of ELCA congregations actively engaged in care for creation and to register them in this program. The program will also hope to increase the number of “Green Synods” within the ELCA so as to provide leadership and training for the LRC congregational program. LRC will hope to have a number of ELCA Seminaries as partners in the endeavor to train church leaders in environmental ministry. Similarly, LRC seeks to strengthen care-for-creation efforts by colleges, outdoor ministries, and public policy offices.

Among other things, Lutherans Restoring Creation will seek to help congregations and other institutions of the church to reduce their carbon impact on the environment, adopt the Season of Creation resources for worship, study the ELCA social statement on Caring for Creation, share information from the ELCA advocacy program, embrace models for congregations to address issues of ecology and justice in the communities in which they are located, and encourage Lutherans to embrace care for creation at home and work. Creativity and initiative at the local level will be an important ingredient in the program.

The LRC program is supported by a grant from the Lutheran Community Foundation, a faith-based community foundation working nationally to help people give where they find their strongest connections. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.TheLCF.org.

 

 

 

 

LUTHERANS RESTORING CREATION

Partnership Agreement with Synods of the ELCA

Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) is a church-wide program involving many partners: congregations, synods, seminaries, outdoor ministries, colleges, and church-wide offices.

LRC would like to establish a partnership with ELCA synods in bringing care for creation into the life of the church. A partnership with a synod would seek a mutual relationship of action and learning. Here are the things LRC may be able to contribute to the life of a synod

1.      Provide an overall structure and program of resources for greening the synod—worship, education, property, personal discipleship, and commitment to public ministry.

2.      Offer training workshops in care for creation goals and strategies (for synodical and congregational leaders) and make available programmatic resources to bring care for creation into the life and mission of congregations and institutions in the synod.

3.      Provide a network of relationships between and among synods to share ideas and resources through an interactive website and a facebook-type communication site.

4.      To recommend video and book resources and to develop a speakers bureau.

5.      To offer a process and program of registration that would suggest some goals toward which to work and that would provide support over time to bring care for creation into the full identity and mission of the synod.

Here are some things ELCA synods can contribute to the partnership.

1.      To provide continuing education events for professional leadership in your synod. This may take the form of conferences, lectures, workshops, and retreats.

2.      Bring resources and training in creation-care and environmental-justice ministry to congregations within your synod. This can take a variety of forms: courses, forums, workshops, public lectures.

3.      To encourage cooperative creation-care efforts in synodical clusters and local communities—Lutheran, ecumenical, and interfaith.

4.      Model creation-care at the synod offices and in synodical events. Promote creation-care among the committees and task forces of the synod.

5.      Share the actions, events, projects, and resources in your synod with other synods in the LRC network. Consult the reports of other synods as a way to enhance your ministry. 

We invite you to develop some innovative ways to participate in LRC and creative ways to promote it among all segments of the ELCA. Encourage pastors and congregations to adopt Lutherans Restoring Creation. As opportunities arise, promote Lutherans Restoring Creation in the wider church

 


 

Lutherans Restoring Creation: ELCA Synod Affirmations

As a group of congregations committed to care for creation, we affirm creation in all its glory and beauty. We acknowledge God as the source of all things. We acknowledge Christ as the redeemer of all things. We acknowledge the Spirit as the sustainer of all things. We strive to respect all of life as sacramental. We accept our vocation as Earth-keepers who care for creation. We see ourselves as part of the covenant of Noah that God made with humans and with all other creatures. We accept our responsibility to live justly in solidarity with humans and in kinship with all of life so that all may mutually thrive together.

1. Worship:  We seek to worship in ways that will express our gratitude and praise to God the creator and that will glorify God intentionally together with all creation. In worship, we will celebrate creation, confess our sins against creation, grieve the losses of creation, commit ourselves to care for Earth, and devote ourselves to peace and justice for humans and for the whole Earth-community.

2. Education: We seek to learn about the biblical, theological, ethical, and ecclesial traditions concerning creation, including the biblical mandate from God for us to serve and to preserve the Earth. We will seek also to learn about the present degradations of creation due to human activity, how these degradations are related to human exploitation and oppression, how we as religious people are implicated in these matters, and what we as Christians can do to restore creation for future generations. We will train people to be leaders in the synod and in their communities in our co-operative human efforts to care for creation. We will seek opportunities for environmental education for youth of all ages.

3. Property: We agree to assess the destructive impact that our activities and the use and maintenance of our property may have upon creation—in such matters as energy use, maintenance products, paper use, water use, recycling, waste, transportation, land use, among others. We will strive to make choices that lessen our negative impact on the earth and that serve to heal and renew Earth community.

4. Personal Discipleship: Through a “covenant with creation,” we encourage ourselves as individual members of this synod—at whatever age, economic level, ethnic group, or walk of life—to pursue responsible stewardship of creation in our personal lifestyle, in our homes, and at our work—knowing that our habits and practices can help significantly to restore creation. We seek to foster a closer relationship with nature so that out of our kinship with all of life we can live simply and walk lightly upon the earth. 

5. Public Ministry/Political Advocacy: We seek to change the cultural patterns and systems of government, business, industry, and other institutions that foster the degradation of creation and to rectify the injustices against Earth community that result against from them. We seek to alert our congregations to environmental legislation that protects creation and to encourage their active participation in the development of public policy. We encourage members to participate in civic activities and organizations that foster environmental health. We seek to let our care for creation become a witness to others.

Commitment. We will explore the implications of these provisions together. We will pursue them in a grace-filled and non-legalistic way, seeking to find hope and joy in the commitments that these provisions may entail and in the restorations that they engender. Because we desire to leave Earth a better place for our children and grandchildren, we will promote love and respect for creation in our youth, teach them responsible Earth practices, and engage them in programs that restore creation. (Adapt as needed)

Covenant with Creation

As a member of the ELCA, I dedicate myself to the care and redemption of all that God has made. Therefore I agree to take the following actions out of respect for and kinship with all creation. (Please check all the specific ways you intend to fulfill this covenant)

Recycle:
__ Aluminum Cans and steel cans
__ All kinds of glass containers
__ Plastic Containers
__ All Paper Products: newspaper, office paper, magazines and cardboard.
Reuse:
__ Avoid use of paper and plastic bags-by using canvas or cloth bags
__ Using ceramic or travel mugs instead of paper or styrofoam
__ Use the reverse side of paper for memos and notes
Conserve Energy:
__ Keep the temperature down
__ Insulate windows and doors
__ Turn off lights and other electrical items when not in use
Conserve Water
__ Turn off water when not using sink or shower
__ Limit use of water on lawn and car-washing
Consume Resources Wisely:
__ Eat intentionally and locally, lower on the food chain
__ Limit or eliminate the use of red meat
__ Simplify lifestyle and purchasing habits
Monitor Automobile Emissions and Use of Fuel
__ Use alternative means of transportation
__ Keep car in clean working order
Commune with Nature:
__ Spend more time intentionally outside
Political Advocacy
__ Stay aware and active in legislative efforts to protect the environment

Other

_________________________________

_________________________________

_________________________________

Name___________________________________________________

Congregation_____________________________________________

Lutherans Restoring Creation

 Guidelines for ELCA Synods: Overall Summary

Lutherans Restoring Creation is a partnership program. We seek to partner with synods to develop and carry out this program. As a partner, LRC will share hopes, suggestions, resources, and training. At the same time, we are eager for each synod to develop this program in distinctive ways that will serve the best needs of your congregations and your area of the country. Please consider the guidelines in these materials as ideas for your synod to consider and pursue in ways best for you. We especially want you to be innovative and creative by making use of the people, resources, needs, and situations particular to your circumstances. We will be eager for you to share what you have learned with others for their edification and inspiration.

1. Committee: You may have already or want to establish an official synod committee comprised of representative lay people and clergy who are committed to bringing ecological justice concerns and care for creation into the life of the synod and its congregations. The committee should have a liaison to the Synod Council and should seek support from synod staff. This committee might seek to establish cooperative relationships with other committees and programs of the synod, such as hunger ministries and anti-racism groups.

2. Take steps to become registered as an “LRC Synod Partner”

a. Propose a plan and statement of commitment to the synod council for approval.

b. Seek formal approval from the synod convention to become an LRC synod.

3. Synod Conventions: On a regular basis, you may offer workshops, grace moment talks, brochures, and displays at synod conventions. There may be plenary speakers invited to reflect on some aspect of our responsibility to care for Earth Community. The synodical committee may be involved in the formulation and presentation of resolutions.

4. Events: The committee can seek to foster events in the synod that have a focus on eco-justice or a component of eco-justice. Some events will be part of the regular conferences and workshops of the synod. Others may be created to serve eco-justice commitments.

The synod may seek to adopt “best environmental practices” at synod events.

5. Greening the Synod Offices: The synod may participate in an environmental inventory of their offices with the intent to reduce the ecological imprint. They may seek to adopt “best environmental practices” among the office staff.

6. Encourage the greening of congregations: The synod committee may foster the Earth-keeping activities in congregations and agencies in the synod. Here are some possible areas of commitment:

a. Promote the Lutherans Restoring Creation program

b. Promote the adoption of the “Season of Creation” liturgical worship resources.

c. Promote efforts to engage local communities in eco-justice activities

d. Inform Lutherans to be active in promoting eco-friendly laws and policies.

d. Distribute resources and guidebooks related to these and other programs.

e. Make local LRC program trainers available to congregations

7. Publicity: Consider increasing ecological awareness and responsibility through synodical print and electronic publications. Seek to maintain a section of the synod website for information and resources.

8. Networking: To build relationships as a basis for sharing stories, ideas, and experiences with others through the interactive LRC networking opportunities.

Lutherans Restoring Creation

 Synod Model with Action Plan

 

As a synod committed to care for creation, we affirm creation in all its glory and beauty. We acknowledge God as the source of all things. We acknowledge Christ as the redeemer of all things. We acknowledge the Spirit as the sustainer of all things. As a result, we strive to respect all of life as sacramental. We accept our vocation as earth-keepers who care for creation. We see ourselves as part of the covenant of Noah that God made with humans and with all creatures. We accept our responsibility to live justly in relation to all human beings in ways that all Earth community may mutually thrive together.

 

 

Getting Organized

 

In support of our commitment to care for creation we will live out our mission through our ministries. To live this out:

 

● We have created a synodical committee to give leadership to this movement. This group may be commissioned at a Synod Assembly.

● We will seek approval from the synod council to become an LRC partner synod.

● We will seek approval at a synod assembly to become a partner synod of Lutherans Restoring Creation and to adopt its program.

● We will seek to integrate creation-care into our synodical ministries, committees, and activities, and we will encourage other organizational units and committees in the synod to determine how they can engage in care for creation.

● We will support the integration of creation-care awareness and action into the life and mission of our congregations.

● We will provide training and resources to congregations for creation-care.

 

We as a synod commit ourselves to support stewardship of creation in the following five areas: worship, education, property, personal discipleship, and public Ministry/ Political Action. This five-part template is designed to provide suggestions and resources for some possible programs and actions your synod may take. In this partnership it is assumed that you will determine the programs and actions that best suit your resources, situation, and constituency. Each synod will take its own path. Our hope is that you will share the creation-care work in your synod with others so that they may benefit from your ideas and be encouraged by your work. In turn, you may also benefit from the projects taking place in other synods. LRC will offer networking contexts for online reports and communication to assist in making connections among synods.

            This is not a top-down program at any level. Rather, we seek to nurture mutually beneficial partnering relationships at many levels of church life with an eagerness to become a church expressing kinship with each other and of all Earth community.

            We encourage you to consult the more extensive Green Congregation Training Manual for congregations and the Environmental Guide for Churches, Their Buildings and Grounds, both available online free for downloading at www.webofcreation.org.

 

1. WORSHIP

 

 

 

We seek to worship in ways that will express our gratitude and praise to God the creator and that will glorify God intentionally together with all creation. In worship, we will celebrate creation, confess our sins against creation, grieve the losses of creation, commit ourselves to care for earth, and devote ourselves to peace and justice for the whole earth-community.

 

 

Possible actions

 

            ● Promote and distribute creation-care worship materials for congregations.

 

            ● Encourage the celebration of a “Season of Creation” in the church year.

 

            ● Encourage the celebration of Earth Day as a Day of Ecological Justice.

 

            ● Incorporate care-for-creation into worship at synod events.

 

            ● Carry out earth-friendly practices at synod worship events.

 

            ● Promote earth-friendly practices for worship in congregations.

 

           


 

2. EDUCATION

 

 

 

We seek to learn about the biblical, theological, and ecclesial traditions concerning creation, including the biblical mandate from God for us to care for the earth. We will seek also to learn about the present degradations of creation due to human activity, how these degradations are related to human exploitation and oppression, how we as religious people are implicated in these matters, and what we as Christians can do to restore creation for future generations. We will train people to be leaders in the synod and in their communities in our cooperative efforts to care for creation.

 

 

Possible actions:

           

● Offer workshops at synod conventions and other synod events.

 

            ● Plan synod theological conference events with eco-justice as a theme.

 

            ● Procure speakers for events on environmental awareness and ecological justice.

 

            ● Promote the ELCA social statements: Caring for Creation and “A Sustainable Lifestyle for All.

 

Write articles and make announcements for the synod print publications and

            e-news offerings.

 

            ● Create creation-care information and links for the synod website

 

            ● Offer training sessions for congregations.

 

            ● Create training-teams to train individual congregations.

 

            ● Work with clusters/conferences within the synod to provide events and training.

 

            Seek volunteers for the synod Working Group and their activities

           

Foster educational events for youth of all ages.

 

Promote Outdoor ministry experiences for youth and family.

 

Recommend books and films on eco-justice for individuals and reading groups.

 

 

 

3. PROPERTY

 

 

 

 

We agree to assess the destructive impact that our activities and the use and maintenance of our property may have upon creation—in such matters as energy use, toxic products, paper use, water use, waste, transportation, among others. We will seek to institute "best environmental practices" in the facilities and in events sponsored by the synod. We will strive to make choices that lessen our negative impact on the earth and that serve to heal and renew earth community.

 

 

Possible actions:

           

● Do a comprehensive environmental audit of the synod office and best practices

 

            ● Encourage environmental audits in the congregations of the synod and in member

homes.

 

            ● Encourage environmental audits of synod retreat and camp facilities.

 

            ● Seek funding to support alternative energy sources for congregations.

 

            ● Offer training workshops on how to do environmental audits.

 

            ● Create a symbol of creation-care commitment, such as a synod rain garden.

 

            ● Encourage the planting of cooperative gardens for the community.

 


 

 

4. PERSONAL DISCIPLESHIP/STEWARDSHIP

 

 

 

 We encourage ourselves as individual members of this synod—at whatever age, economic level, ethnic group, or walk of life—to care for creation in our personal lifestyle, in our homes, and at our work—knowing that our habits and practices can contribute significantly to care for creation. We seek to foster a closer relationship with nature so that we can live simply and walk lightly upon the earth. 

 

 

 

 

Possible actions:

           

● Each member of the Synod staff and Creation Care Working Group will

            complete a Covenant with Creation.

 

            ● Encourage congregations and members to make their a Covenant with Creation

 

            ● Model the use of creation-care practices in synod-sponsored events.

 

            ● Promote creation-care devotional materials for members of the synod.

 

            ● Offer synod events and retreats in nature-rich venues.

 

            ● Provide training for environmental audits in member homes

           


 

 

5. PUBLIC MINISTRY/ POLITICAL ACTION

 

We seek to change the systems of government, business, and industry that foster the degradation of creation and to rectify the injustices that result from it. We seek to alert our congregations to environmental legislation that protects creation and to encourage their active participation in the development of public policy. We encourage members to participate in civic activities and organizations that foster environmental health. We seek to let our care for creation be known to others.

 

Possible actions:

            ● Get involved as leaders in developing local sustainability in your community.

 

● Seek to identify ecological injustices and instances of environmental racism in

            the geographical area of the synod, raise awareness, and organize resistance.

 

            ● Create awareness of policies and legislative matters that call for political

            advocacy and provide political action opportunities for synod members, in

            particular, through the ELCA office of environmental advocacy.

 

            ● Draw on resources of environmental groups, and partner locally in restoring creation.

 

            ● Create ecumenical and interfaith partnerships throughout the synod to

            encourage creation care.

 

            ● Partner with the local energy companies. Invest in renewable energy. Seek to

            transfer congregational energy savings to congregations with fewer resources.

 

            ● Encourage partnerships with corporations, businesses, municipalities, and

            environmental organizations. Offer a sustainability fair.

 

            ● Partner with area urban gardening projects, nature centers, camps, and retreat centers.

 

            ● Seek to create a list of green service providers in the synod area.

 

            ● Promote Community Supported Agriculture, fair trade coffee and other

products, and encourage the purchase of local foods.

 

● Encourage investments in green projects and funds.

 

            ● Be responsible to promote the greening of a “partner” synod in the ELCA.

 

            Establish environmental sharing and exchange programs with congregations in sister

synods around the world.

 

 

LRC SYNOD ACTION PLAN FORM

 

1. Worship:

1. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

2. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

2. Education:

1. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

2. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

3. Property:

1. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

2. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

4. Discipleship/Stewardship of Members at Home and Work:

1. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

2. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

5. Public Ministry/Political Advocacy:

1. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

2. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

Congregational Project for the Community/City:

1. Project: ______________________________________________________________

 

a.       Persons responsible: ______________________________________

 

b.      Steps for follow-up______________________________________________

 

c.       Accountability____________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

LOCAL FUNDING FOR SYNODS

 

Lutherans Restoring Creation.

LENS is funded to administer the LRC program. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to offer grants to synods. We will, however, promote creation-care in ELCA synods through the activities and resources of LRC. We will offer networking opportunities among and across synods in the sharing of ideas, experiences, and resources. We will provide a website to gather information and reports. We will seek to bring training and workshops to synodical and congregational leadership of the synod.

 

Local Funding for Synodical Work

We are eager to help ELCA synods in finding support for projects at the synodical and congregational levels. LRC will work with each synod in seeking funding from local churches, governmental agencies, religious foundations, environmental organizations, individual donors, and corporations in your area that offer grants and support for environmental work.

 

Incentive Programs

We encourage each synod to make every effort to learn about and to promote the incentive programs in your area offered by energy companies, corporations, and government agencies at the local, state and national levels.

 

Lutheran Community Foundation.

The Lutherans Restoring Creation program is support by a grant from the Lutheran Community Foundation, a faith-based community foundation working nationally to help people give where they find their strongest connections. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.TheLCF.org.

 

 

Appendix: “Lutherans Restoring Creation”

Lutherans are uniquely positioned to address the critical issues of the environment from theological, ethical, and practical perspectives.

Lutherans have a creation-centered theology oriented to celebrate the gifts of creation. The theology of the cross leads us to be in solidarity with the human situation in all its pain and agony. Our affirmation of resurrection offers hope for new life in this world. Our sacramental theology claims that the finite can bear the infinite. We understand that the church exists for the sake of the world. We do not have an escapist theology. When Luther was asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, he replied, “Plant a tree.”

Lutherans have a situational ethic that is not based on rules that can be confining and enslaving. We are free to address new and complex problems, such as the environmental state of the world. We do so not as ones who dominate and exploit but as servants to our human and non-human neighbors. And we do so not out of fear or guilt or shame but out of gratitude and with grace.

Lutherans have a history of social service to the poor, the elderly, the sick, the oppressed, the marginalized—hospitals, homes for the elderly, Lutheran Immigration Service, Lutheran World Relief, and on and on. We extend that commitment to protecting and healing Earth community.

Bishop Hanson has issued statements about our commitment to care for creation. As a denomination, we have had for several decades a fulltime person in environmental/hunger advocacy in Washington. We have others working on these issues in the headquarters in Chicago. Lutheran Public Policy offices address regional issues of advocacy. The ELCA offers grants for environmental projects for seminaries, synods, and congregations.

We have the organization Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS). Several synods that have declared themselves to be Green Synods. Many synods have care-for-creation committees and hold lectures, workshops, and conferences on eco-justice subjects. There are many Lutheran congregations across the church with Care for Creation teams that work to incorporate the environmental commitment into parish life—worship, education, building and grounds, discipleship at home and work, and public ministry. Lutherans have spearheaded the Green Congregation Program, the Green Seminary Initiative, and the resources on the Web of Creation (www.webofcreation.org). We have led the way in promoting a Season of Creation in the church year (www.seasonofcreation.com).

Many outstanding Lutheran scholars have written on creation care: Peter Bakken, Terry Fretheim, Norman Habel, Diane Jacobson, James Martin-Schramm, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Larry Rasmussen, David Rhoads, Barbara Rossing, Paul Santmire, Joseph Sittler, George Tinker.

Lutherans are in a critical position to listen to the cry of the poor along with the cry of the Earth and to take leadership in addressing these critical issues of our day.


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Robert Saler,
Dec 10, 2009, 7:39 AM
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David Rhoads,
Dec 27, 2011, 10:27 AM