Earth Day to Creation Care

Submitted by the Rev. Sarah Scherschligt, Synod Creation Care Team member
Great ideas for Earth Day and beyond are growing from congregations looking to incorporate creation care into many aspects of congregational life.
  • Building on a successful vegetable garden that produced 50 pounds of produce for the congregation’s food pantry last year, Faith Lutheran Church in Arlington began a series of Garden Workshops on April 21. Participants learn how to grow their own salad greens in a recycled bag, which can be kept on the patio, porch or balcony.
  • Planting native plants species and installing bird feeders are transforming sacred ground into “Sacred Grounds” at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg. Sacred Grounds habitats focus on providing water sources, food and places for wildlife to raise their young, said David Davis, congregation project manager, in a Gaithersburg Gazette feature story*. Funding is being provided by a test-project of the National Wildlife Federation and Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light. Efforts such as Good Shepherd’s will serve as a foundation for what program leaders hope will become a national habitat certification opportunity.
Let the Creation Care Team of the Metro D.C. Synod know what your congregation is doing**. Stories and pictures are being pulled together by the Team as we lead up to the 2013 Synod Assembly.

Strategies and resources for creation care can be found from Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC), a movement within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Several congregations attended an LRC workshop, including Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Gaithersburg; Faith; Good Shepherd; Hope Lutheran Church, Annandale; Living Faith Lutheran Church, Rockville; and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Gaithersburg. The Creation Care Team especially likes LRC’s “Top 10 Reasons Lutherans Care for Creation,” excerpted here but available in full on the LRC site. “We have strong theological, ethical, and practical foundations for this work,” it begins.

  1. Theology – Lutherans have a creation-centered theology oriented to celebrate the gifts of creation.
  2. Cross and Resurrection – Our affirmation of resurrection offers hope for new life in this world.
  3. Worship and Sacraments – Christ is in, with, and under ordinary elements like grapes and grain.
  4. Ecclesiology – When Luther was asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, he replied, “Plant a tree.”
  5. Ethics – We are free to address new and complex situations, such as the environmental state of the world.
  6. Social Ministry – We extend that [historical] commitment also to protecting and healing all Earth community.
  7. Advocacy – We have a social statement publically announcing our Caring for Creation.
  8. Scholarship – Lutheran authors and higher education commitment explore connections.
  9. Caring for Creation across the church – Several synods and congregations model environmental action.
  10. Organizations for Earthkeeping – Several resources in addition to LRC are listed.***

* “Gaithersburg church gets educational wildlife habitat” by Sylvia Carignan (Gazette.org, 4/17/13)

** Contact Pr. Scherschligt at pastorsarahsharingpeace.org.

*** Resource list also available from the ELCA Web site.

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