ELCA Seminary Care for Creation Checklist

CARING FOR CREATION

AN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CHECKLIST FOR ELCA SEMINARIES

 

This checklist is designed to encourage ELCA seminaries to do a complete inventory of environmental practices in order to determine new areas for development and in order to identify areas where a seminary may desire more information and resources.

Caring for God’s creation in the face of the environmental crisis is an integral part

of every dimension of the life of a religious community. Just as we are called to love God and to love one another as humans, so also we have a mandate from God and a covenantal relationship with God and all creation to care for Earth. Love for one another and care for the earth are not in conflict with each other.

All the critical problems of the environment—from global warming to the presence of toxic waste, from clean air and water to issues of bio-diversity—have implications for issues of human justice. As religious communities, seminaries have a significant opportunity to express their convictions and bear a witness to the world by manifesting a holistic approach to care for creation—and at the same time prepare persons to give leadership in these areas in the church and in the world.

We have developed this checklist in an effort to see in what ways ELCA seminaries are addressing environmental issues. The checklist will give you an opportunity to reflect on the ways your seminary already expresses a commitment to care for creation. It will also give you an opportunity to identify new ways to establish and expand your environmental justice ministry.

You may use this checklist for your own internal purposes. You may also want to share what you are doing with the other seminaries. If so, please send a copy of the results as an attachment to drhoads@lstc.edu for posting on our LRC website. Your willingness to make this material available will assist our efforts to provide an eco-justice network among ELCA seminaries for the purpose of mutual encouragement and resource-sharing.

Please comment after each answer in order to give further description or explanation. Thank you.

 

I. Organizational structure for caring for creation

_____Environmental concerns committee of the seminary or Seminary Green Team

_____Part of mission statement of the seminary.

_____Part of the job description for employees and/or committees.

_____Opportunities for gifts and memorials for care of Earth at seminary.

_____Career placement opportunities for seminarians wishing to pursue a career focused on environmental justice ministry.

_____Other

 

II. Promotion

______Included in Recruitment Information (Brochure?).

______Seminary Website describes green activities, organizations, and programs.

______Other.

 

III. Training for environmental ministry in seminary life.

_____Student leadership on the seminary Green Team

_____Opportunities for students to work in environmental projects during time at seminary

_____Faculty and staff development related to eco-justice issues.

_____Maintenance staff training.

_____Educational Opportunities for Board of Trustees.

 

IV. Education: Curriculum designed to prepare students for environmental ministry

_____Incorporated as part of regular courses across the curriculum. (please specify)

_____Entire courses devoted to care for creation in theology, history, scripture,

pastoral care, worship, and so on (Please specify).

 

_____Environmental ministry concentration or emphasis in the curriculum.

_____Field education opportunities to practice environmental ministry, such as projects for internships, work with environmental agencies in CPE, or field placements courses.

_____Environmental justice resources in library (periodicals, devotional materials, information about the ecological state of the world, eco-theology, environmental ethics, etc.).

_____Workshops, lectures, conferences, retreats, and so on, on the environment.

_____Work opportunities in local environmental agencies.

_____Other.

 

V. Worship: related to care for the earth

______Included as part of guidelines for worship at the seminary.

______Confessions, prayers, litanies, thanksgiving and praise, and incorporated into regular chapel services.

______Special liturgies on days of the church year, such as the Greening of the Cross Service in Lent.

______Celebrate special days or rites for Earth, such as a Blessing of the Animals, Dedication of Trees or Garden, or a celebration of harvest.

______Celebrate Earth Day and Thanksgiving.

______Incorporate life into worship space: trees, plants, flowers, art, visual access to outside.

______Make worship resources available for seminarians and congregations

_____  Other. Please explain.

 

VI. Building and Grounds: Caring for creation in construction and maintenance practices

_____Do a comprehensive environmental audit/inventory of practices and conditions.

_____Reducing air pollution (fuel efficiency, alternative fuel use, renewable energy, among others).

_____Building construction and renovation using federal “green building” guidelines.

_____Low impact energy sources for heating and cooling (wind, solar)

 _____Energy conservation practices for users.

_____Paper conservation policies (use of post consumer waste paper, paper use guidelines, etc.)

_____Food purchases: local/bio-regional and organic.

_____Waste reduction practices.

_____Recycling of solid waste (paper, plastic, metal, etc.).

_____Transportation management (carpooling, etc.).

_____Water conservation practices (efficient faucet heads, low impact toilets, water use guidelines, etc.).

_____Avoidance of herbicides and pesticides.

_____Eliminate use of toxic materials in paints, cleaning materials, and so on.

_____Sustainable landscaping.

_____Use of land for community gardening, nature sanctuary, orchard, rooftop gardening, and so on.

_____Other

 

VII. Lifestyle Commitment: of members to care for creation

_____Members of the seminary community devoted to living a lifestyle that is environmentally sensitive in their personal living space.

_____Means to foster ecologically sensitive lifestyle at home and work for spouses and families of seminary students, staff, and faculty.

_____Pledge or covenant with creation for members of the community.

_____Brochure on “Greening Your Living Space.”

_____Other.

 

VIII. Public Witness: for environmental justice

_____Make known publicly your commitment to care for the earth.

_____Addressing local environmental justice issue (toxic waste, polluted stream, factory air pollution, lead abatement, etc.).

_____Joining with other seminaries/ agencies to carry out seminary functions related to care for creation or to address local environmental issues.

_____Joining with other seminaries for low prices and contractor discounts on energy projects.

_____Sponsor environmental justice workshops for area seminaries, parishes, and the public.

_____Advocate for regional or national legislation and policies on eco-justice issues (awareness, letter writing, petitions, etc.).

_____Advocate for national policies of cooperation with global accords on eco-justice issues (awareness, letter writing, petitions, etc.)

_____Other.

 

IX. Additional Information. Please use the space below to comment on any aspect of this survey and to provide any additional information about your seminary or context that would help us understand your response to this survey.

Name of seminary:

Street address:

Telephone:

E-mail address:

Website address of your seminary:

Name, address, phone, and e-mail of contact person:

Name, address, phone, and e-mail of person filling out this survey:

Please send information to drhoads@lstc.edu.

 

Lutherans Restoring Creation is eager to provide ideas and resources that might better enable ELCA seminaries to express their commitment to care for creation. On the section of our site for ELCA Seminaries (see the sidebar), you will find an LRC Manual for ELCA Seminaries along with resources for worship, education, building and grounds, personal lifestyle, public ministry, and links to many other helpful sites. www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org.

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