The Risen Jesus said to his disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15).
The care of creation is increasingly becoming a concern for people of faith. As we are learning more about the human impact on climate change, many agree that the environmental crisis we face must be addressed intentionally not only by individuals but also by governments and organizations. As Christians, we have much to contribute to this discussion.
The care of creation is deeply rooted in our scriptures, as are the themes of the redemption, celebration, and stewardship of all God has made. We hear not only of the creation “groaning” and waiting “with eager longing” to be “set free from its bondage to decay (Romans 8:18-25) and the mandate for the human being to “till and keep” God’s creation (Genesis 2:15), but also of heaven and earth being “full of God’s glory” (Isaiah 6:3) and the creative Spirit of God that is sent forth to “renew the face of the ground” (Psalm 104:30).
Since its inception in 2007, Gloria Dei’s Green Team has been examining ways in which we as a congregation can be more intentionally involved in the care of creation and, through cooperation with other ministry teams, has recognized progress and set further goals in these five areas:
- Worship in ways that celebrate and foster care for creation.
- Hold an annual observance of a Season of Creation, a series of Sundays celebrating the wonders of creation and committing ourselves to a ministry of healing the earth.
- Educate adults and children in ecological issues and practices.
- Green the buildings and grounds of our facilities.
- Promote an earth-friendly lifestyle of members at home and work.
- Participate with the community in caring for the environment.
- Annual Lake Superior Sunday in July, sustainable palms for Palm Sunday, blessing of the Animals in October.
- Creation care emphasis in adult forums and VBS, visiting lecturers, and hosting workshops for other churches,
- Conducting an energy audit, recycling, composting food waste,
- Creating a monarch waystation – click here for an article that appeared in The Lutheran magazine, April 2013 [article]
- Fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate
- Working with community supported agriculture, community garden program
- Bringing resolutions to synod assembly that have established a synod-wide Creation Care Team and encouraged other congregations to establish such teams and conduct energy audits – for more information see www.nemnsynod.org.
- Partnering with Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota for advocacy and seminars – seewww.lcppm.org.
- Working with students and parents to establish a Green Team at a local school.
- Participating in The Natural Step training with other organizations in the Twin Ports – for more information click here.
Global environmental sustainability will remain a central issue of our time as unsustainable practices threaten the loss of biodiversity, the spread of disease, disruptions in food supplies, and displacement of human communities, with these impacts most likely being felt disproportionately by those living in poverty.
Yet as Christians rooted in God’s promises for the redemption of all God has made, we are people of hope. Through Word and Sacrament, we are nourished in faith to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture, our ministry a piece of a larger purpose, connected through the common relationship we share with the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all.