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E-M:/ News Release - Lutheran Earthkeeping Advisory Council

[While this is not entirely specific to Michigan, I'd like to post it here both because I am privileged to be a part of this new Council and to alert any interested Lutherans in Michigan to upcoming opportunities for participation.]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  
February 23, 2005
Local contact : Kim Winchell  989-695-2402  kwinch5940@aol.com


Concerned for Creation, Volunteer Committee Aims to Invigorate Creation Care throughout ELCA

[Mundelein, Illinois] - Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) gathered over Presidents' Day weekend and established the Earthkeeping Advisory Council. This volunteer body will energize and promote greater earthkeeping awareness and activities within the ELCA through education, events, training, and advocacy coordinated with the ELCA's environmental advocacy and education program.

The 12 person Earthkeeping Advisory Council (EAC), which gathered for its first ever meeting at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center, represents a cross section of the ELCA.  The EAC members come from 10 different synods. Members came from all over including California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Three members of the original ELCA task force that drafted the 1993 Caring for Creation social statement were present. The group also included several professors, a student from Pacific Lutheran University, and people with close ties to Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and ecumenical organizations committed to earthkeeping.

After a brief review and celebration of the past earthkeeping efforts of the ELCA and predecessor churches, the EAC focused on how to bring creation care to all facets of life and work throughout the ELCA.  Among the projects discussed and adopted was a new Season of Creation. Developed in Australia by Norman Habel, the Season of Creation offers an optional four-week liturgical series in September leading up to St. Francis of Assisi Day. The EAC hopes to work with ecumenical partners as well as divisions of the ELCA to promote the adoption and use of the Season of Creation series.

Additionally, the EAC will work on a Green Congregation Program developed at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago.  This holistic, multi-year program aims to help congregations themselves develop a healthy, appropriate, and sustainable relationship with the environment.

The EAC will also work to organize a training event for Lutheran environmental leaders to be held this fall.  The weekend event will bring together Lutherans from as many synods as possible committed to creation care and provide them with skills, trainings, and resources to provide leadership for their communities.

The EAC will be coordinated by a three-person steering committee and will connect with the ELCA through the office of the Director of Environmental Advocacy and Education.

For more information contact:
Matthew Anderson-Stembridge
Director, Environmental Advocacy and Education

A full list of participants is below

EAC Members

Paul E. Lutz
Hickory, NC 
North Carolina Synod (9B)

Kim Winchell
Freeland, MI 
North/West Lower Michigan Synod (6B)

Peter W. Bakken
Sun Prairie, WI
South-Central Wisconsin Synod (5K)

Sylvia Perez
Chicago, IL
Metro Chicago Synod (5A)

Alycia K. Ashburn
Saint Paul, MN
Saint Paul Area Synod (3H)

Sarah Fredericks
Allston, MA
New England Synod (7B)

David Rhoads
Racine, WI
Greater Milwaukee Synod (5J)

Paul Santmire
Watertown, MA
New England Synod (7B)

Mia McNulty
Corona, CA
Pacifica Synod (2C)

Rachel Esbjornson
Tacoma, WA
Southwestern Washington Synod (1C)

Jim Martin-Schramm
Decorah, IA
Northeaster Iowa Synod (5F)c

Matthew Anderson-Stembridge
Washington, DC 
Metro Washington, DC Synod (8G)