Christian concern for the environment is shaped by the Word of God spoken in creation, the Love of God hanging on a cross, the Breath of God daily renewing the face of the earth. ELCA Social Statement: Caring for Creation
Survey of “Earthkeeping” Yields Input and Insight
During March 2009, churches were invited in the eConnection to complete a “Rocky Mountain Synod Earthkeeping Church Survey." This 8-question survey addressed a wide range of actions taken, how and when churches have become active, leadership interest, partnering with outside groups and future emphasis areas. Of the 177 churches in the synod, 38 completed surveys and key results are as follows:
30 became active in earthkeeping during the 3 years prior to the May 2007 synod assembly which adopted a resolution titled “A First Response to Energy Stewardship”
13 performed an Eco-audit to determine ways to improve energy efficiency • 26 made some type of energy efficiency improvements such as: changing of light bulbs (25) installing programmable thermostats (20) and weatherization (14)
35 are involved in recycling of paper, plastic and/or metals
21 have leadership with “some interest” and 12 are “highly supportive” of earthkeeping
21 have partnered with an outside organization, such as Interfaith Power & Light
For future earthkeeping ministry efforts, 21 want to be more energy efficient
In addition to the above highlights, 16 of the respondents offered useful comments about where they could use support. These include the need to receive and share information on issues such as: green events, educational resources, learning opportunities, and specific ways to save energy and money. “People care, but aren’t always sure what to do.” Church leadership has been supportive, but doubt exists in some congregations about the importance of such issues as global warming. A suggestion was made for a simple checklist of how to get started with earthkeeping, including the formation of green teams. “We need to know we aren’t alone.”
It is clear that synod churches are making strides in becoming better stewards of the earth.
The RMS Green Team will use the survey results to help address the future needs of congregations, maintain communication and highlight good examples of earthkeeping practices. All are urged to keep in touch with synod efforts through the eConnection and the Creation Care webpage. We are truly not “alone” in this endeavor and our loving God will help us in this journey of caring for God's creation!
Trinity Lutheran Church - Boulder Attacks Waste
The waste reduction practices at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Boulder, Colorado demonstrate how important things can happen when adults and youth work together. This congregation has been active in caring for creation for at least 10 years but has really made a concerted effort during the past several years to tackle solid waste and save energy through aggressive recycling and sponsorship of “Zero Waste” events. Although Trinity does not have a designated green team, their Office Manager seeks out opportunities for saving energy and cutting down on waste.
Please read the entire article about Trinity’s concerted efforts to tackle waste and practice creation care all at once.
photo by Jeff Louden
Resources for stewardship
of the earth
Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS)
EnergyStar for Congregations
The Environmental Protection Agency has recently developed an Energy Star rating for congregations. This is a way for congregations to do a "self-audit" of their facilities and apply for the Energy Star certification if they qualify.
The Regeneration Project
The Regeneration Project is
a resource for saving money through more efficient lighting. This is present at our synod through Interfaith Power and Light in New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. In fact Pastor Nelson Bock works for the Colorado chapter. Give him a call at 720-838-8914.
ELCA Caring for Creation Resources
Resources are available on the ELCA website.
Congregational Eco Audit
The Rocky Mountain Synod is partnering with Colorado Interfaith Power and Light to provide interested congregations with a low-cost, quantitative analysis of their energy use and costs, plus options for reducing energy consumption and estimates of reduced energy costs.
Earth Day Sermons
Pastor Kim Gonia
Pastor Nelson Bock
Rocky Mountain Synod Green Grants Recipients
At the 2008 Synod Assembly in Denver, $2,137 was received through an offering for the Rocky Mountain Synod Green Grants. The grants are meant to be used for eco-audits of church buildings or other means to help congregations be examples of energy efficient, environmentally responsible organizations. Grants were limited to $300 per ministry.
Our thanks to the 10 congregations that submitted 11 proposals for green ministries. The grants were awarded to congregations, large and small, in four states. They support a wide variety of projects, and we are privileged to share the Assembly offerings designated for Creation Care to take these tangible steps towards caring for the earth. The recipients and their designated projects are:
Lutheran Campus Ministry, UNM - $150 (green garden)
Four Winds/House for All Saints and Sinners - $300 (eco audit)
St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Albuquerque - $300 (environmental conference)
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Greeley - $300 (eco audit)
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Casper - $150 (food ministry containers)
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Glenwood Springs - $170 (refitting light fixtures)
Mount Tabor Lutheran Church, Salt Lake City - $300 (eco audit)
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Albuquerque - $170 (xeriscaping)
St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Aurora - $300 (eco audit)