By Lisa Brenskelle
The mission of Lutherans Restoring Creation is to promote incorporation of care for creation into the full life and mission of the church, working in five areas: worship, education, discipleship, building & grounds, and public ministry/advocacy. For some timely tips in these areas, see below:
- Worship: See these suggestions for adorning with less at Christmas and these Christmas tree blessings. Some thoughts on creation and Epiphany may be helpful. Creation-focused commentaries on the lectionary can help with weekly sermon preparation. Use these creation-focused prayers for Christmas in year C, and these for Epiphany. Consider preaching a sermon on climate change before Feb. 7, as part of the Season of Prophetic Climate Witness.
- Education: With the U.N. Climate Conference running through Dec. 11, either of two resources from ELCA World Hunger on this topic would make a timely study. Or, consider these four video reflections on the Swedish bishops’ letter on climate change, produced by LSTC. For a fun youth activity that involves the whole congregation, consider a Know Trash/No Trash exhibit. And don’t forget the ongoing monthly webinar series Sunday evening conversations on creation.
- Discipleship: Make use of the “Bulletin blurb” eco-tips (+ Bible verses & creation-care quotes) on the synod leaders Facebook group each week. For Christmas, provide this Green Holiday resource to members. During Epiphany, the season of light, encourage energy conservation by offering this checklist for energy savings. An excellent resource at any time of the year is the Guidelines to Re-orient Your Relationship with Nature.
- Building & Grounds: See the manual, Cultivating Hope: Greening Churches Guide from Luther College for ideas related to building/grounds. To learn how your congregation can take action on climate change, get the Climate Action Kit from Interfaith Power & Light. See this short list of Things Congregations can do to Save the Planet, published in The Lutheran. Check out what other denominations are doing using this resource.
- Public Ministry/Advocacy: Consider these upcoming Opportunities to Care for, Learn About, and Enjoy God’s Good Creation. With cooler weather upon us, it’s a great time of year for working outdoors to care for creation. Partner with local environmental organizations in your community to schedule a congregational event to clean up a park or beach, plant a garden or trees, or remove invasive species near a river, stream, or creek. To advocate for creation, petition the governor of Texas to support a strong plan to limit global warming emissions under the Clean Power Plan.
To contact the synod Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for creation care assistance and information, please contact Lisa Brenskelle.