Thanks to a grant from the Lutheran Community Foundation Creation Care: Environmental Initiative, LSTC's Web of Creation and the Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS), will develop a program for ELCA congregations and their members to embrace actions for care of creation in substantive and meaningful ways. The program, Lutherans Restoring Creation, will enlist the cooperation of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) churchwide leadership, the denomination's synods, and its seminaries. It will offer hands-on workshops and training for congregations and clergy as well as webinars and other online resources.
Based on the success of the Web of Creation's Green Congregation Training Workshops, which have engaged over 800 participants from approximately 300 congregations, the commitment to care of creation appears to be strong and growing within the ELCA. Many other congregations are seeking the type of leadership and resources that Lutherans Restoring Creation will provide.
"Our goal is to engage each faith-community in doing what they are willing and able to do in order to manifest commitment to and to take action on behalf of God’s creation," said Dr. David Rhoads, supervisor of the Web of Creation and professor of New Testament at LSTC. "We do not believe that care of creation is an add-on one issue among others. We believe that being Earth-keepers is foundational to our Christian vocation and should be integral to the full life and mission of congregations."
Chris Andersen, executive director of the Lutheran Community Foundation said, "The Lutheran Community Foundation is pleased to make a grant to the Web of Creation and LENS from our Creation Care Environmental Initiative to increase the capacity of their work with congregations. This grant is an affirmation of their early success in producing results that are measurable and meaningful and the Foundation's commitment to support environmental change that is systemic and sustainable".
Lutherans Restoring Creation will create opportunities for leaders involved in care of creation across the church to stay in touch and share ideas and resources with one another. By August 2011, Lutherans Restoring Creation hopes to expand significantly the number of ELCA congregations already actively engage in care of creation and to certify them in this program. The program will also assist synods to become "Green Synods" and to provide congregational training in care of creation. Lutherans Restoring Creation will also urge ELCA seminaries to embrace care for creation in the training of church leaders.
Additionally, Lutherans Restoring Creation will seek to help congregations and other church institutions reduce their carbon impact on the environment, adopt the Seasons of Creation resources for worship, study the ELCA social statement on Caring for Creation, and share information from the ELCA advocacy program. Creativity and initiative at the local level will be an important ingredient in the program.
The Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of Synods (LENS) is a voluntary faith-based organization devoted to bringing care of creation into the life and mission of the ELCA. It was founded in 1997. LENS holds retreats and workshops, prepares resource materials for congregations, advocates for earth-friendly laws and policies, and maintains a web site, http://www.webofcreation.org/LENS/synods.html.
The Web of Creation, a faith-based web site developed to provide ideas, resources, and strategies for doing eco-justice is maintained by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and is supported through grant funding, sponsorship, and endorsement from faith-based sources. Visit the Web of Creation at www.webofcreation.org/ .
The Lutheran Community Foundation is a faith-based community foundation working nationally to help people give where they find their strongest connections. Through its Collaborative Funds, the Foundation takes the voice of donors into the community to address issues that call for a broader approach and more unified response. With its flexible charitable giving options, professional services and community connections, the Foundation distributes millions of dollars annually to achieve effective, positive and lasting change throughout our shared community. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.TheLCF.org .
Supervisor, Web of Creation
Professor, New Testament
Senior Associate, Donor Services
Lutheran Community Foundation
Director of Communication and Marketing
The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.