La
Vista
Ecological
Learning
Center,
in
Godfrey,
Illinois,
 is
 a
 ministry
 of
 the
 Missionary
 Oblates
 of
 Mary
 Immaculate.


 Born
 out
 of
 the
 Oblate’s
 ongoing
 effort
 to
 respond
 to
 the
 priority
of
 Justice,
Peace,
and
the
Integrity
of
Creation,
the
 Center
was
created
to
raise
ecological
awareness.
A
week
 long
 Earth
 Literacy
 Program,
 in
 addition
 to
 seasonal
 celebrations,
retreats,
presentations
and
discussion
groups
 help
 participants
 learn
 of
 both
 the
 wonder
 and
 fragility
 of
 Earth. The Oblate Ecological Initiative is a new ministry of the United States Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a world-wide congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to bringing the Good News to the poor and most abandoned. The Ecological Initiative is part of the ongoing effort of the Congregation to respond to the priority of Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation. In the spirit of Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Oblates, this ministry calls forth that which lies deepest within us. • First we ponder: “What does it mean to be fully human in a continually emerging Universe?” • This leads to further reflection: “What does it mean to be a person of faith in a continually emerging Universe?” In response, the Initiative explores Creation’s Integrity and offers a deepened sense of connection with the Cosmic Christ.

The Oblate Ecological Initiative seeks not only to educate Oblates and others in the area of ecological awareness, but also to ground them in the Sacred Story of all Creation. The Initiative has two components: La Vista Ecological Learning Center, and the • Community Supported Garden at La Vista. •

Many years ago, our Oblate grounds here in Godfrey, Illinois, were nicknamed “La Vista.” A while back, a slogan came to mind: “Come, broaden your vision at La Vista!” But, why the need for a broadened vision, why a wider view? What is it that needs to be looked at anyway? Why This New Ministry? The times in which we live are full of both promise and threat. “Promise” seems to result from a broadened vision. Only in the last century did humans realize that we live in a Universe that is both expanding and developing. This is very good news! Even more recently did we see for the first time the Earth from space – an image that has become an icon for many. There has been an increasing realization that, indeed, humans live in dependence upon the rest of God’s Creation. This insight has evoked a dimension of religious faith and an impassioned zeal for all life! These times are also full of “threat” which appears to result from restricted vision. We see so many of our governments, institutions, and corporations not acting in accordance with the knowledge of the integrity of the Earth. Thus, humans are abused, other species are annihilated, and the life-support systems of the

planet are poisoned. Actions to create (what is perceived as) “profit” in the short term can result in the breakdown of ecosystems in the long run. We clearly need a broader vision! We need an appreciation and understanding of how the Earth functions if we are to live sustainably and harmoniously. Cultural historian Thomas Berry has called humans to create a time in which we engage the Earth in a mutually enhancing relationship. We cannot continue to take and take and not give back. Healthy relationships are reciprocal ones. In response to these times of promise and threat we Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate have created a new ministry: the Oblate Ecological Initiative. This initiative is part of the ongoing effort of the Oblates to respond to our priority of Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation as expressed in our Constitutions and Rules – “Action on behalf of justice, peace and the integrity of creation is an integral part of evangelization.” The Oblate Ecological Initiative has two components. Primarily, the initiative seeks to educate Oblates and others in the area of ecological awareness. Through Earth Literacy Programs, presentations, retreats, and seasonal celebrations, participants learn of both the wonder and fragility of Earth. We also explore a practical lifestyle based on a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship. Our desire is that folks can return to their communities both living and teaching an awareness of creation’s integrity. Flowing from ecological learning and sustainable living is the other component of the Initiative: a Community Supported Garden.

Practically linking the people of Earth, this alternative organic food source provides a solution to our ever-growing separation from each other, the Earth and our food supply. On a portion of these grounds, both shareholders and a small family farmer come into covenant with each other and the land. Together, what wonderful nourishment can be harvested from this effort toward an ecologically and economically sustainable model of interdependence and intercommunion? So, come broaden your vision at La Vista!

Earth Literacy at La Vista
“Exploring the Sacred Universe,” our earth literacy program, is the highlight of the year for La Vista Ecological Learning Center, occurring each summer during the first full week of August. Seekers from many parts of the country gather here to immerse themselves in the Sacred Story of the Universe in order to discover how it can be a transforming context for their lives, as well as how it contributes to developing a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship. We receive guidance throughout the week from the land, the view, and the whole community of life in this bioregion, as well as from the keen insights and rich wisdom of Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and Miriam MacGillis, OP.  Together with our own presenters, we facilitate participants’ deepening appreciation of the Integrity of Creation by striving to evoke a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship.  Together, we learn to read Earth!

Throughout the week we will:
be immersed in direct experience of the natural world develop practical skills for a more ecologically conscious life re-connect with our Creator through Creation as we deepen our recognition of the inherent spiritual dimension of the Universe critically examine the perceptions that currently fashion our cultural world view participate in guided activities and instruction contemplate the wonder, awe, and newness of the Universe Story The Community Supported Garden at La Vista is part of the Oblate Ecological Initiative and flows out of the mission of La Vista Ecological Learning Center. Practically linking people to Earth, this locally grown, organic food source provides a solution to our ever-growing separation not only from Earth, but also from each other and our food supply. The Community Supported Garden shareholders, a small family farmer, and the land are brought into a covenant on a parcel of the Oblate grounds. Together, what wonderful nourishment can be harvested from this effort toward an ecologically and economically sustainable model of interdependence and inter-communion!

The Center for Action & Contemplation Our Vision
The Center for Action and Contemplation

     Supports a new reformation           From the inside!                ~ In the spirit of the Gospels                ~ Confirming peoples’ deeper spiritual intuitions                ~ Encouraging actions of justice rooted in prayer                ~ With a new appreciation for, and cooperation with,                     other denominations, religions, and cultures

Our Mission
“We are a center for experiential education, encouraging the transformation of human consciousness through contemplation, equipping people to be instruments of peaceful change in the world.”  

Our Core Principles
• • •

The teaching of Jesus is our central reference point. (criterion) We need a contemplative mind in order to do compassionate action. (process) The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. Oppositional energy only creates more of the same. (emphasis) Practical truth is more likely found at the bottom and the edges than at the top or the center of most groups, institutions, and cultures. (perspective)

• •

• •

We will support true authority, the ability to "author" life in others, regardless of the group. (non tribal) Life is about discovering the right questions more than having the right answers. (primacy of discernment) True religion leads us to an experience of our True Self and undermines my false self. (ultimate direction) We do not think ourselves into a new way of living, but we live ourselves into a new way of thinking (praxis over theory)

Our Journey Towards Sustainability
Our Vision: "Promoting transformation of individuals and societies to live in right relationship with God’s creation." We want to share our journey towards sustainability with you, and invite you to join us in grappling with the big ecological challenges of our time. At the CAC, we have begun to look at what sustainability means and, more specifically, "What is ours to do?" Some questions we are asking ▪ What can we do besides setting out our recycling at the curbside each week? ▪ Is it about "greening efforts" such as using "low flow" toilets and solar panels or swapping out those energy guzzling appliances?

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Can we install insulation and weatherizing devices to decrease energy loss? Could we ride bicycles and grow our food? What about daily consumption of water? And could we eat less or no meat—since cattle produce tons of methane gas at factory feedlots?

Living in right relationship with God’s creation Right relationship means to us that we at the CAC are committing to more sensitivity to this earthly household we share and how we mindfully impact all living things. This means paying attention to how we share land, water and air with all creation and return it unsullied for this generation and seven generations hence.

Reverencing
Revering God's most amazing and diverse creation is a beginning point for our journey towards sustainability. It is a way of being. A point of contemplative practice. The creation stories in the Judeo Christian scriptures remind us that all that has been created is good. As humans, we are made in God’s image. Soil is the holy ground from which we are humbly created, with Godbreath in our being (Genesis 1 & 2). Yet, all other created things also reflect God’s image back to us. Unspoken words pour forth God’s handiwork in visible glory all around us (Psalm 19). The Hebrew in the Genesis 2 creation account renders human and animal creatures with the very same word. The Hebrew alliteration, nephesh chayyah, is translated as “living beings” or “living souls” (Genesis 2:7 & 19). All of creation is of the same stuff!

What we are doing The CAC is committed to both action and contemplation. Our purpose as teachers of the contemplative life is to call people to deepen their spiritual lives through a daily practice of prayer and regular spiritual formation. This gives us new ears and eyes through which to see ourselves, God, one another and the whole created order. It is a way of waking us up to the beauty and holiness in all of life and how we can participate in this goodness as a whole being. As Richard Rohr says, "When we can see the image of God where we don’t want to see the image of God, then we see with eyes not our own." This contemplative practice necessarily leads us to action in the world. How do we then live kindly, humbly, justly, in right relationship with all with whom we share this planet? You are invited to join us for our internships, conferences or Men’s Rites of Passage. All of these will lead you to a more examined life, which we hope will take you on the path of sustainable action in the world.

Reducing and Reusing
To reduce and reuse human waste is one of the primary actions to begin to live sustainably. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus calls us to live in a mindful state of total dependence on God, thereby reducing our “stuff” and our anxiety over protecting our stuff. Waking up to all the stuff we’ve accumulated in our lives can

begin to reflect back to us stuff's ability to distract us from a deeper spiritual satisfaction. Too much “stuff” also keeps us from living in right relationship with the rest of the earth. The creation of stuff hoards and uses up precious natural resources from other plants, animals, water, soil and human beings. What we are doing The CAC is currently looking at a long term goal of Near Zero Waste. While we have no idea where this will take us, we think the best place to begin is to reduce our energy guzzling habits. Some things we are exploring and have begun to implement are: ▪ ▪ ▪ Lo-flo toilets. Toilets are up to 40% water usage. Another issue is water usage for irrigation----use of city water vs. acequia Shades for Brother Sun meeting room and moving thermostat so it won’t be in full sun and thus kick on the central air, wasting energy. Liner on water heater and possible solar heater in the future. Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFB’s (compact florescent bulbs). Refrigerator was swapped out with a rebate and replaced with an energy star appliance. Weatherizing, closing doors, turning off lights. Reducing our waste of virgin pulp paper by replacing it with post-consumer recycled paper products. Re-using one-sided copies in our printers. Minimizing printouts by using electronic mail.

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Recycling
The fire explosion bringing the universe into being from emptiness hurled particles into newly created space. It formed clouds of particles, changing into stars and galaxies. These exploded and sent matter out to form more stars and planets. All this set the tone for the universe -- matter never being destroyed, only changing form. Rocks turning into soil, fungi into plants and animals: creation– decay- regeneration The cycle turning and turning. People made from stardust. We are recycled organisms of universal creation. We are all daughters and sons of stars. Through empirical observation we have become conscious of how the universe began and how it continues to unfold. As our intuitive consciousness melds into unity with our rational faculty, we realize that recycling is part of the grand symphony of the universe in which we participate. Thus as conscious, intelligent beings we recycle all that we deem ready for the decay-recreation process. Recycling is an act of loving, conscious participation in the co-creation of the universe.

                

What we are doing ▪ On-site recycling bins for plastic, tin, paper and glass. ▪ recycled paper products ▪ composting of organic produce

▪ ▪

Our conference/events manager uses Second Harvest groups that take donated food, left over from conferences to take to local food organizations for low income folks We are exploring recycling food containers at our summer conference and year beginning conferences in 2008/09 Using local food growers when possible for our conference food needs

 

Eating local, organic, fair trade foods
The CAC is committed to exploring and purchasing, when possible, local, organic and fair trade food for both our work sites and internship house. Eating is an intimate act. We are constantly making choices throughout the day as we put food into our mouths. Purchasing and eating food that is consistent with an ethic of life is important. Thus, our food practices become a faith issue. Food choices can be spiritually mindful and faithful to the biblical mandate of good stewardship and justice by considering some of the following questions: ▪ Is the food you purchased grown in a way that does not use destructive practices such as pesticides, gmos (genetically modified organisms), mono-culturing of crops? If you are a meat eater, are the animals (This Steer’s Life) grown without hormones/antibiotics and methods that cause suffering? Re-Thinking the meat guzzler Are the growers and harvesters of your food given a fair wage and safe, fair working conditions?

Local food or the local food movement is a collaborative effort to build living local economies which are locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves "localvores" or "locavores".

What we are doing ▪ supporting our local food cooperative in Albuquerque and purchasing fair trade coffee for our staff kitchen. ▪ staff is encouraged to use local and organic markets as well as fair trade items. ▪ purchasing non-toxic cleaning and soap supplies. ▪ encouraging vegetarian eating practices through education and modeling at work. ▪ providing a way for staff to compost their organic food matter at our garden on-site.

Offsetting Emissions
Carbon offsetting as part of a "carbon neutral" lifestyle has gained some appeal and momentum, mainly among consumers in western countries. These consumers have become concerned about the negative effects of their energy-intensive lifestyles and economies. As a western industrialized nation, we use huge

amounts of energy and release the highest proportion of carbon into the global environment. As stewards of God’s good creation, this is a faith and justice issue. One way to address this is to voluntarily purchase carbon offsets to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity use, transportation and other sources. For example, an individual might purchase carbon offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel. In 2006, about $91 million of carbon offsets were purchased in the voluntary market, representing about 24 million metric tons of CO2 reduction. The offsets then, in the form of currency, are donated to renewable energy projects such as wind farms, biomass energy, hydroelectric dams, energy efficiency projects, forestry projects, etc. What we are doing When we as the CAC Sustainability Committee realized our huge carbon footprint-- incurred from flights to and from conferences around the world-- we began to look at models for repaying this “debt” to the earth. We have begun to examine our collective staff footprint in terms of air travel. We are committed to voluntarily offsetting our carbon emissions by calculating our collective carbon load and donating this offset to The Center for Christian Services Foundation (FUNCEDESCRI), a nonpartisan, Guatemalan not-for-profit private foundation which promotes social and economic development alternatives among families living in village conditions of extreme poverty. The Center’s forest covers an area of 407 acres. The highest section, around 2,000 meters above sea level (6,500 feet) is classified as Sub-Tropical, Very Humid, Cloud Forest, and the lower elevations

to 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) are classified as Lower Mountain Rain Forest. A careful Forest Management Plan allows FUNCEDESCRI to maintain a permanent tree nursery, using the seeds and seedlings from selected species in the forest site. They continue to reforest the clear-cut areas and keep in check the weeds and brush that invade the reforested areas. There is also small-scale processing of forestry products including lumber and essential oils from plants, as well as training sessions in specific themes for groups of villagers, university students, and technicians interested in learning practical methods to sustainably manage forest resources.

Near Zero Waste
The CAC became aware of this practice of Zero Waste through our introduction to Permaculture. We learned that in the natural world, nothing is ever wasted. Everything can be reused, recycled and converted to new substances. Zero waste takes us beyond recycling to form a circular system where as much waste as possible is reused, similar to the way nature works. The best example is found in zero waste agriculture where households make optimal use of nature in the form of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and algae. These produce biodiverse-food, energy and nutrients in a synergistic integrated cycle of profit making processes. The waste of each process becomes the feedstock for another process. How can we, as human beings, examine and model our own practices after this brilliant natural system? For example, how can we “think like a tree” or like fungi in every aspect of our growth

and development, usage and recycling of our resources? As Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur and journalist said, "Waste is too expensive; it’s cheaper to do the right things." While we realize that zero waste is a near impossible goal to achieve, with humility we want to begin to make our aim “near zero waste”. We see this as a reasonable spiritual practice. There is a concept from the classic spiritual wisdom used widely in the addiction/recovery circles, called a “spirituality of imperfection”. Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham write: "Spirituality begins with the acceptance that our fractured being, our imperfection, simply is." Richard Rohr, O.F.M. expands on this in his CD , The Little Way A Spirituality of Imperfection. As a community, we realize that our actions must come from contemplative discernment and reverence, but actions must also be balanced with practical realities. We seek to gracefully hold both of these aspects in tension. What we are doing ▪ Setting a goal of “near zero waste” in our CAC departments and working life together ▪ Seeking to create “near zero waste” criteria and measurable goals for staff/board/interns and volunteers ▪ Working towards formalizing ”green” guidelines in our bylaws, employee handbook and CAC Board constitution ▪ Educating our cyber space community by keeping an updated website on sustainability and our journey towards “near zero waste”

tumc-austin

A PEOPLE WITH A MISSION Trinity United Methodist Church is a dynamic community of people who, through their trust in God’s faithfulness, strive to provide an inclusive, joyful, loving, and caring environment. In this community, people can find spiritual nurture and growth, mutual support of individual needs, and a sense of family. Reaching out through vital and creative worship, people-centered programs, and social and environmental stewardship, this congregation serves the local and global communities. A PEOPLE COMMITTED TO INCLUSIVENESS Trinity is a congregation that welcomes and affirms all people inclusive of Race, Nationality, Age, Gender, Gender Identity, Marital Status, Sexual Orientation, Physical Ability, Mental Ability, Economic Class, or Educational Class. Trinity has been a Reconciling Congregation since 1992. A CREATION-CENTERED COMMUNITY Trinity supports Creation Spirituality, a movement that draws on ancient spiritual traditions and contemporary science to awaken authentic mysticism, revitalize Christianity and Western culture, and promote social and ecological justice. Creation Spirituality teaches that God permeates all things and that humanity is created blessed, not tainted by original sin. In this paradigm, Christ is God's liberating and reconciling energy, transforming individuals and society's structures into conduits of compassion. As we embody God's love, we become the Creation that God

intends. Creation Spirituality draws on the earliest traditions of the Hebrew Bible and has been celebrated under various names over the centuries, most notably by the Rhineland Christian mystics of medieval Europe. It is an eclectic tradition that honors women's wisdom and the cosmologies of indigenous cultures around the planet. Creation Spirituality seeks to revitalize contemporary worship by asking what would happen if, instead of requiring artists to conform to established worship practices, Christian worship adapted to the creativity of artists.

Committee on the Stewardship of Creation Diocese of Virginia Vision: Sharing our faith, ideas, and actions to conserve God's creation Mission: We provide guidance, support, speakers, newsletters and teaching materials to 1) Help parishes identify and implement ways to become better stewards of God's creation; 2) Offer ideas for action to help restore and protect the earth; 3) Provide theological and scientific materials on environmental matters and spirituality; 4) Encourage dialogue with all groups on the complex subjects of the environment and our faith Mission Objectives: · Help people in the parishes and missions of the Diocese understand environmental issues as religious concerns · Make clear the connection between our Christian faith and caring for creation · Increase awareness throughout the Diocese of the nature and seriousness of the environmental challenges and the faith-derived actions required to help solve those problems · Encourage and support Stewardship of Creation ministries at the local parish/mission level with liturgy, spiritual, and worship resources; technical assistance · Share information about ongoing environmental and sustainability issues at the state and national levels including legislation, education, and ecumenical partnerships · Support specific environmentally-related activities: Shrine Mont Forest Management,r enewable energy, energy audit revolving fund, energy saving bulbs, parish energy conservation, sustainable landscaping, liturgy, workshops · Sponsor periodic conferences on environmental matters: renewable energy and spirituality, climate change

   

About Eco-Spirit: One person's actions may seem to have little effect on the Earth. But the collective actions of thousands of like-minded, environmentally caring individuals can change the world. The Eco-Spirit mission is no less than that -- changing the world for the better. Eco-Spirit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of environmental education, spirituality, and activism. Eco-Spirit strives to protect the Earth's land, water, air, animals, and plants, by fostering a desire among all people to live in harmony with the Earth, its ecosystems, and other living organisms in an environmentally sustainable and ethical manner. Eco-Spirit endeavors to educate its members and the general public on how to practice environmental sensitivity and voluntary simplicity to reduce pollution, cut energy use, and limit consumption of the Earth's natural resources. EcoSpirit seeks to build an international "community" of like-minded people dedicated to living environmentally sustainable and eco-spiritual lives. Come join us! We Practice: • Environmental Sustainability • Green Living • Voluntary Simplicity We Believe In: • Eco-Spirituality • The Sanctity of Nature, the Earth, the Universe, the Creation • An Environmental Ethic that places Equal Value on All Living Organisms - our "Eco-Family" • Protecting the Natural World as a Moral Imperative We Support: • An Economy Based on Sustainable Principles • Environmentally-Friendly Products, Companies, Organizations, and Governments We Oppose: • Environmentally-Harmful Products, Companies, Organizations, and Governments

We Pledge: • To live and work everyday in accordance with the Principles above to the best of our abilities

Eco-Spirituality Statement
No matter what your religion, no matter what you believe in spiritually, if you believe in the sacredness of Nature, the Earth, the Universe, the Creation, then the Eco-Spirit community is for you. Rather than replacing, excluding, or contradicting your current faith or religion, Eco-Spirituality provides both a supplement and a complement to existing beliefs. For many it fills a void and adds a missing or seriously lacking environmental and Eco-Spiritual component to traditional religious practice. We of the Eco-Spirit "community" believe in the sanctity of Nature, the Earth, the Universe, the Creation. We respect and revere the natural world as a sacred manifestation of a timeless force larger than ourselves: what many of us would call God, the Creator, the Great Spirit, a higher power, the universe, or the life force. We believe that all living beings within the Creation are interconnected in a beautiful, natural web of life. We believe that in the web of life all threads, all living organisms, are of equal importance and have equal rights. We understand and acknowledge that humans cannot exist apart from Nature, and thus recognize that we are a part of Nature. In that One-ness with the Natural Universe, which is an extension of the higher power, we find unity and One-ness with God the Creator and Life Force. Our belief in the sacredness of Nature, the Earth, the Universe, the Creation leads us to an environmental ethic that involves protecting Nature and the environment as we go about our daily lives. We express and practice Eco-Spirituality through experiencing, protecting, revering, and loving the natural world and all living beings in it.

We welcome you and invite you to join us.

An Eco-Spirit Meditation/Prayer:
Let us practice nonviolent loving-kindness towards all life on Earth. Help us to love all creatures and co-exist with them on the planet as one “Eco-Family,” allowing them to reproduce and survive as species. Let us never forcefully take that which is not freely given to us, and help us to show compassion towards those beings less powerful than ourselves. Let us be good stewards of and care for the resources of the natural world with which we have been blessed. And let us live sustainably so that all future living organisms on our planet will experience the same quality of life that we have enjoyed during our brief visit here on Earth.

Green Synod Model with Action Plan 
Green Synod Mission Statement 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 the animals of the land, sea, and air. We accept our responsibility to live justly in relation to our fellow human beings in ways that all creatures may mutually thrive together.  Actions 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 Creation Care Working Group. This Working Group will be commissioned at a Synod Assembly. ● We will seek to integrate creation-care into our synod’s ministries, committees, and activities, and we will encourage other organizational units in the synod to develop action plans. ● We will support the integration of creation-care awareness and action in our congregations. ● We will provide training, resources, and guidebooks related to these programs ● We will identify a symbol that expresses and promotes our care for creation. 

• • •

We as a synod commit ourselves to support creation-care in the following five areas. Each area is followed by sample actions.   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.       Sample 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.

      Sample actions:       ● Offer workshops at synod conventions and other synod events.       ● Plan synod leadership/educational events with eco-justice as a theme.       ● Procure speakers for events on environmental awareness and ecological justice       ● 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.       ● Seek volunteers for the synod Working Group and their activities  Building and Grounds: 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 strive to make choices that lessen our negative impact on the earth and that serve to heal and renew earth community.       Sample actions:       ● Do a “green” audit of the synod offices and practices.       ● Encourage “green” audits in the congregations of the synod.

      ● Encourage “green” 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.  Discipleship as Home and Work: 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.        Sample actions:       ● Each member of the Synod staff and Creation Care Working Group will       complete a Covenant with Creation.       ● Encourage congregations to offer to their members an opportunity to make their own 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. 

Public Ministry/Political Advocacy: 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.       Sample actions:       ● 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.       ● Create ecumenical and interfaith partnerships throughout the synod to       encourage creation care.       ● Partner with the local energy company. Invest in renewable energy. Seek to       transfer congregational energy savings to congregations with fewer resources.

      ● Encourage partnerships with corporations, businesses, municipalities, and       environmental organizations.       ● Partner with area 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 another synod in the ELCA  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 the earth a better place for our children, we will promote love and respect for creation in our youth, teach them responsible Earth practices, and engage them in projects that restore creation.  Green Synod Funding To support projects at the synodical and congregational levels, we will seek funding from the church, governmental agencies, and corporations concerned with care of the Earth. And we will seek funding from foundations that provide environmental grants to faith communities.   Green Synod Certification

In support of our commitment to care for creation, the synod will participate in The Green Synod Certification Program. And we will seek certification from The Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods.   Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS). We will seek to cooperate with the promotion of creation-care in the ELCA through the activities and resources of LENS. We will participate in their efforts to network among and across synods in the sharing of ideas, experiences, and resources. We will contribute reports to the LENS website. Furthermore, we will seek to promote the greening of the ELCA in its offices, divisions, organizations, events, publications, and assemblies.

A Judeo-Christian Affirmation on Environmental Stewardship The following statement, adopted by the Board of Trustees of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, presents the fundamental Jewish and Christian teachings that are the basis for the Partnership’s work. The cosmos, in all its beauty and life-giving bounty, is the work of our personal and loving Creator. Our creating God is prior to and other than creation, yet intimately involved with it, upholding all things in relationships of intricate complexity. God is transcendent, while lovingly sustaining each creature; and immanent, while fundamentally other than creation and not to be confused with it. The Creator lovingly cares for all creatures. God declares all creation "good" (Gen. 1:31), makes a covenant with all creatures (Gen. 9:9-17), and delights in creatures which have no apparent human usefulness (Job 39:1-12) Created in the very image of God, human beings have a unique relationship to the Creator; at the same time we are creatures, shaped by the same processes and embedded in the same systems of physical, chemical, and biological interconnections which sustain other creatures. Called to be the Creator's special stewards, human beings have a unique responsibility for the rest of creation. As wise stewards, we are summoned not only to mold creation's bounty into complex civilizations of justice and beauty, but also to sustain creation's fruitfulness and preserve its powerful testimony to its Creator. We confess that too often we have perverted our stewardly calling, rampaging destructively through creation rather than offering creation and civilization back in praise to the Creator. For this our sin, we repent, gratefully acknowledging that the Creator

is also the Redeemer who promises to renew all things. In grateful obedience to this our marvelous God, we resolve to make our homes, our faith communities and our societies centers for creation's care and renewal, healing the damaged fabric of the creation which God entrusted to us. We make this declaration knowing that until our God restores all things, we are called to be faithful stewards of God's good garden, our earthly home. Mission Statement Guided by biblical teaching, the Partnership seeks to encourage people of faith to weave values and programs of care for God's creation throughout the entire fabric of religious life: • • • • • • Liturgy, worship and prayer; Theological study, the education of future clergy, and of the young; The stewardship of our homes, lands and resources; Protecting the lives of our communities and health of our children; Our social ministry to the poor and vulnerable who have first and preferential claim on our conscience; and Bringing the perspectives of moral values and social justice before public policymakers.

We worship and obey our loving God by serving God's good creation in neighborly love and in the assurance of God's covenant "between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations" (Genesis 9:12). Finally, we seek as well to offer and will eagerly discuss the insights of scripture, moral teaching and social values, especially as they have come from sustained social struggle and solidarity with those who have reached fresh freedom to serve the common good.

How the Partnership Understands Its Mission For the Partnership, care for creation is and must be an authentic expression of deeply-rooted religious faith. Contemporary environmental problems raise profound questions about the meaning and direction of human life, and about the value and purpose of community of life that surrounds and sustains us. Humankind must better understand its role in the greater web of life. Reversing the accelerating destruction of habitat requires a transformation of heart and spirit. These are the perennial concerns of religion. And so it is that, in recent years, persons and communities of faith have stepped up their engagement in the struggle to protect our earthly home. But although they have often worked alongside members of the broader environmental community toward common goals, they do so with a difference. People of faith act on behalf of the environment not only out of practical concerns for survival or appreciation for the beauty of the natural world, but on the basis of their love for the Creator and for the whole human family. Theirs is a response to presentday problems and concerns that is grounded in the wisdom of longstanding religious values and teachings. For them, right relationship with the natural world cannot be realized apart from justice — right relationships within the human community. The “environment” is the whole community of life, and the uniqueness of the human presence is integral to it. A healthy human ecology, then, is essential to a healthy planetary ecology. Our cities, as much as our rural areas and wildlands, need care and restoration if this world is to properly reflect the love and wisdom of the Spirit that gives life to the whole creation. Human intelligence and creativity, working in harmony with the divine ordering of creation, is something to be celebrated and affirmed.

Furthermore, for people of faith, there is always an element of wonder and delight at the glory and majesty of the Creator’s handiwork that still shines within a broken and battered world. Such joy never obscures the seriousness of our ecological situation, but provides a necessary counterpoint to concern. People of faith labor in the power of a hope that enables them to carry on, even in the face of daunting obstacles to ecological integrity and justice. Growing as it does out of the core affirmations of Jewish and Christian faith — the love of God and the love of neighbor — care for the environment rightly permeates the whole fabric of religious life. It belongs in a congregation’s worship, education, landscaping and architecture, daily operations and service to the wider community, as well as its participation in discussions of public policy. Accordingly, creation care is not limited to being a function of a particular office within a denominational structure or of a specifically “environmental” religious organization. In colleges and seminaries, hospitals and relief and development agencies, rural and urban ministries — wherever the work of the Creator is honored and the human need for the life-sustaining gifts of the earth are met with intelligence and foresight, creation care happens. Finally, this work proceeds best when each religious community is allowed to be itself — to draw on its own unique traditions and resources, to find the appropriate points of entry for its own members, to set its own agenda and develop its own programs. Cooperation among faith communities is most effective when each partner brings the strength of its own identity and purpose in pursuit of a common end.

How the Partnership Carries Out Its Mission The National Religious Partnership for the Environment calls upon multiple resources carry out this mission:

• •

Judeo-Christian teachings and traditions from scripture, theology, ethics, and education. Social thought to amplify a vision of environmental sustainability and justice with religious and moral perspectives, in addition to those of science and economics. Diverse communities of faith to encourage efforts across racial, ethnic, gender, economic, political, and cultural boundaries. Many thousands of congregations through which to encourage worship, study, ecologically sustainable practice, and community-based initiative. Public policy agencies and networks to facilitate discussion of legislative and executive action. Communications outlets to offer perspectives in the language of faith and values. Educational institutions to instruct the young and adults, present and future clergy, and lay leaders. Capacity to convene diverse sectors of society in cooperation for the common good. Historic ability to awaken and sustain dedicated citizen action undergirded by principles of faith and devotion to God. Potential to offer a comprehensive vision of human place and purpose equal to the deepest causes of the environmental challenge.

• • • • •

Springfield Christian Church (DOC)
Creation Care Committee We believe that to truly love our neighbor we have to be aware of the impact of our acts and omissions on the whole earth. Mission Statement • In gratitude for God's wonderful gift of creation, acknowledging our role as its stewards, the Creation Care Committee of Springfield Christian Church will encourage and enable the congregation to honor the life of all living things, the order of nature, the wildness of wilderness, the richness of the created world; and will encourage and enable the congregation to seek and to celebrate the holiness that God has placed in these things. * To accomplish this we will have the following goals:

◦ To better understand creation; ◦ To appreciate and celebrate creation; and ◦ To take care of creation

The Ecology and Theology Working Group of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
Background The Ecology and Theology Working Group was established in 1999 following a diocesan workshop on Celtic Christianity. The Group is now part of the Outreach Coordinating Cluster of the Parish and Diocesan Services Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. It meets approximately once a month. Membership is open to all Anglicans in the Diocese of Ottawa, as well as to people of other faiths. Mission Statement The Groupʼs Mission Statement is: “We believe the Earth, our home, is threatened by ecological degradation. We want to bring this issue into a religious perspective. We believe that there should be Church leadership on this issue” The mission is to be fulfilled through: U Educational activities such as workshops, development and promotion of educational materials and related print articles; U Theological exploration, reflection and sharing; U Providing worship opportunities and resources that will promote and encourage reverence and the cherishing of creation; U Communication activities that will enable our Church to focus and engage in the broader dialogue on this issue; U Identifying and sharing resources and information that already exist within the wider Church community; U Promoting responsible environmental practices within the Church.

Our Statement of Faith and Our Core Values
At Care of Creation we express our central values and beliefs through our Statement of Faith and our Core Values. Statement Of Faith As an organization we have committed to the following statement of faith: We believe in: • The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—full of love and glory. • • The unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. The value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath. • Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example, who assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, and who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as Savior and Lord. • Justification by God’s grace to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and a new calling to obedient service.

The unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshiping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world.

The victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy, giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life. To God be glory forever.

Core Values Growing out of those foundational beliefs are the following Core Values that will guide and inform all of our work and conduct within and through the organization: 1. The truth of God’s Word and the power it holds to transform the lives of people 2. The Lordship of Christ over all creation and over all aspects of life. 3. Obedience to and the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. 4. God-centered environmental stewardship (the nurture, promotion, and practical implementation of a God-centered perspective and concern for ALL OF His creation).

5. Holistic ministry (the healing and restoration of man’s relationship to God, humanity, and the rest of creation; a ministry to the whole person, both spiritually and physically). 6. Exemplary and Christ-like concern for and treatment of people.

Presbyterian Conservation Corps (PCC) Mission Statement
The Presbyterian Conservation Corps (PCC) is a Christian community responding to God's call through applied eco-stewardship.

Eco-Stewards Mission Statement
The Eco-Stewards program seeks to train and inspire young adults ages 18-24 in the ways of eco-stewardship within the wider context of our Christian faith. In response to Jesus' call to love our neighbors we are committed to the following principles: 1. Eco-consciousness 2. Being in solidarity with the poor 3. Living as ecological and socially responsible consumers 4. Personal spiritual journeys that are nurtured and supported by the Way of Community 5. Having roots in Presbyterian Reformed tradition 6. Providing education and training that compels action

The Presbyterian Conservation Corps (PCC) is an exciting and important collaboration between the Presbyterian Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA) and the Presbyterians for Restoring Creation (PRC). The overarching goal of this new initiative is to help inspire PCUSA churches and their members to become better caretakers of planet earth, our God given island home. The PCC serves as the overarching parent institution that develops, plans, and implements programs like the Eco-Stewards training program. Under the Presbyterian Conservation Corps, young adults

will be trained as Eco-Stewards at our camps and sent to other camps and into our churches to inspire deeper commitments to ecological stewardship. The PCC is led by a devoted steering committee comprised of pastors, youth leaders, camp directors, teachers, researchers, and environmental activists. As we look out from our pews and from our campfire circles, we notice that God's beloved creation is at risk. Global warming, the loss of glaciers and polar ice, massive losses in biodiversity, continued destruction of our forests, the growing scarcity of clean water, and unsustainable erosion rates cause us to awaken. Seeing our current global environmental crisis, the prophetic words of Jeremiah and Hosea have a new poignancy: "I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void... How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away..." (Jeremiah 4:23 & 12:4)

"Therefore, the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing." (Hosea 4:3)

The earth is in trouble, and as people of faith, we must respond. The book of Genesis clearly calls us to be caretakers and stewards of God's entire created dominion (Genesis 1:26). As Presbyterians, we are called to both greater awareness and greater action as stewards of God's creation. With

this in mind, the PCCCA and the PRC have been building a relationship of mutual support and resource sharing since 2002, largely focused on environmental awareness, training, education, inspiration, and action. Out of this partnership and in response to a direct challenge from former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Rick Ufford-Chase, the Presbyterian Conservation Corps (PCC) began and continues to work towards a community commitment to sustainability.

The Green Congregation Program: Action Plan (Short Version)
The goal is to make a difference 1) by transforming attitudes and commitments, and 2) by embracing concrete actions that reduce human ecological impact on the earth and contribute to justice for people affected by environmental degradation. Choose projects likely to succeed, institutionalize them, and then add new projects. Transformation through Worship: "Let all creation praise God!" For four Sundays in September, observe a four week Season of Creation as part of the church year with liturgies, sermons, and scripture focusing on our relationship with nature. • Observe Earth Day Sunday in April. (For resources visit the NCC eco-justice webpages) • Have a Blessing of the Animals. • Incorporate earth-keeping confessions, intercessory prayers, hymns, and sermons into weekly worship throughout the year. Resources! • Appoint your sanctuary with care for creation banners, greenery, and art. Transformation through Education: "Know your tradition and your world." • • • • Study your denomination's social statement on the environment. Read the "Earth Charter." Offer classes/forums to study biblical, theological, and ethics resources in the Christian faith for eco-justice ministry. Offer classes/forums with local experts on environmental issues and resources. •

Hold a retreat in a natural setting for a cluster of churches in your area. Transformation through the Buildings and Grounds: "The church as an alternative community." Do a comprehensive environmental audit of the property and develop a plan to green the building and grounds. • Retrofit church lighting. • Develop a recycling program. • Reduce paper use and excessive waste. • Utilize the grounds as a community garden and/or prairie. Transformation through Dscipleship at Home and Work: "Love your neighbor and care for creation." Encourage members to do an environmental audit of their homes and/or work places. • Provide an opportunity for members to make a "Covenant with Creation" listing their eco-justice practices and disciplines. • Offer a study/support group using any of these simple living resources. Transformation through Public Ministry and Advocacy: "The church exists to serve the world." • • • Notify members with periodic action alerts about local, regional, and national environmental issues. Do a hands-on project in your local area: e.g. restore a habitat, clean up trash, plant trees, and protest pollution. Seek ways to maintain the projects and programs over the long term. • •

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