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The ELCA and the Environment


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The ELCA and the Environment

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The ELCA and the Environment

  1. 1. Winter A • 2010-2011 The ELCA and the Environment The ELCA addresses environmental concerns from a ◆ Advocacy in partnership is embraced by the ELCA simple platform of caring for creation. As created beings as a way to obtain good information and to act of God, humans need to care for creation. Humans together responsibly. Environmental coalitions such are caregivers of the world in which we were created. as, are listed on church Humans are connected to creation through God as Websites. ELCA members work in these organizations proclaimed by scripture (see, for example, Genesis 1:31, to pass on information to congregations that result in Psalm 24:1, Psalm 104). God loves creation and as advocacy to make change. Acting to make changes in beloved siblings, creation and humans must love and care governmental policy and worldwide relationships is an for one another. important part of creation care. When human consumption is the main element of our Education relationship to creation, the result is devastating. We At the core of the ELCA is the emphasis on education. exchange the caring relationship God means for us to The priesthood of all believers calls us to work together have with creation for a relationship of misuse, depletion to know more at the congregational level. Creation care or pollution. The ELCA uses information and education is not something left to Churchwide leadership, but the as the tools with which to repair the relationship of responsibility of each individual member of the ELCA humans and creation. Through the hope given to us by equally. Education is the way this is achieved. Education God the ELCA seeks information and education that will about the environment happens at the seminaries, result in change as we look forward to transformation in through Augsburg Publishing and through the National our relationship with creation. Church Office. Staying Informed The Seminary Green Initiative began at Lutheran Many ELCA congregations list on their Website School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) with Professor connections to good information about the present David Rhoads. The goals are twofold for the Seminary crisis areas of interaction between humans and creation. Green Initiative. First, to educate pastors, at any place The information connects congregational members to in their call, to the important work of creation care. organizations that advocate for change, ways to make a Secondly, The Green Initiative believes that the church difference individually or communally and statistics in has a distinctive place in the reversal of our unhealthy re- areas of crisis. Information has three general themes in lationship with creation. One way in which the Seminary ELCA congregations. Green Initiative helps is through their Website, www., which offers “Ecology Resources to ◆ A greener earth through changing consumption and Transform Faith Communities and Society”. recycling is one theme that congregations adopt. This shows itself in congregations through fewer, shorter, Augsburg Fortress, the ELCA publishing house, has a reused bulletins, no foam cups or collecting aluminum new venue for educating children and families about the cans. By “doing”, congregational members begin to environment. Rather than just talking about environment put in place actions that have measurable results. through publication, the curriculum ReNew is a green Vacation Bible School ( ◆ Earth honoring is another way that information is item.jsp?clsid=204813&productgroupid=0&isbn). ReNew given in the ELCA. Earth honoring emphasizes rituals uses recycled paper and plastics. Materials can be used and relationships that identify the beauty of nature. multiple years and in multiple ways. The New Testament Earth honoring is a way for humans to reinstate their story, the Parable of the Sower, teaches through scripture relationship to food, nature and the cycles of life. topics on the environment. Through curriculum, ReNew, Community gardens that reestablish the connection educates children and helps congregations walk the words between growing and consuming would be one way of environmental change. earth honoring takes place. SR-00-WA-10-L-ELCA and the Environment 1©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • • 1-800-242-1918
  2. 2. Winter A • 2010-2011 The ELCA and the Environment At the national level, the ELCA publishes materials for Summary Greening congregations through stewardship of the earth The ELCA provides good information and education to and through retreat. Awakening to God’s Call to Earth- help congregations move toward transformation in caring keeping is a four-session small group study (archive.elca. for creation. Greening the world, honoring the earth org/stewardship/teaching). This study helps participants see and advocating for policy changes are all ways the ELCA the parallel between good stewardship and earth keeping. works to heal the relationship of humans and earth. Also offered at the national level are retreats at Outdoor God’s presence brings hope that creation and humans can centers. Ghost ranch in Abiquilu, NM has offerings one day coexist in harmony. covering greening issues such as Envisioning Paradise: Beauty and Restoration in the Earth Honoring Faith series ( “God, who made the creation and made it good, has not abandoned it. Day after day God sustains life in this world, and the powerful vitality of God’s creation, though defiled, is not destroyed. The life-giving power of Gods creative goodness remains at work, even in the Gulf of Mexico. The Spirit will continue to renew the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30). All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident that they are not pursuing a lost cause. They serve in concert with God’s own creative and renewing power.” ––The Rev. Mark S. Hanson Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America “Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Responding to the Challenge” June 28, 2010 2©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • • 1-800-242-1918