Creation Care Ministries in Northern Indiana
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
for God has founded it on the seas and established it on the rivers.
Creation Care in the Episcopal Church is based on understanding ourselves to be stewards of what belongs, not to us, but to God. Stewardship of creation therefore demands that we "seek to heal, defend, and work toward justice for all God's creation and to respect the kinship and connection of all that God created through education, advocacy, and action." The people of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana engage in Creation Care through a variety of activities, some of which are highlighted below.
Four of our faith communities—St. David's in Elkhart, St. Timothy's in Griffith, Holy Trinity in South Bend and All Saints' in Syracuse—have set aside land on their church properties for unity gardens where neighbors are invited to share in the planting, tending and harvesting of food. Some unity gardens are found in the midst of "food deserts," others supply fresh produce to local food pantries. All are places for filling hearts and minds as well as bellies. They provide space for cross-generational education and low-key neighborhood fellowship. Like any garden, a unity garden can take up the space of a patio or an acre. It can grow exotic herbs or common vegetables. What all unity gardens have in common is the recollection that tilling and keeping the garden of creation (Gen. 2:15) is our common heritage as human beings.
Greening our Churches
Greening your church means taking seriously the impact your faith community has on the environment. Whether you make that impact as a consumer, a producer or an advocate, greening means you strive together on multiple fronts to exercise good stewardship. You might consider:
Taking these 6 Steps for Getting Started in Your House of Worship suggested by GreenFaith, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership." GreenFaith offers a support and certification program that helps faith communities explore the economic, social and spiritual significance of environmental stewardship.
Are you considering a building project? Check out this Green Building Toolkit.
Planting a "Paris Grove," with native tree species, on your church grounds to "serve as a visible witness to the significance of the Paris Accord and do the practical work of sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere."
Dedicate some portion of your church property to regenerative agriculture and biodiversity conservation or habitat restoration projects.
Allocating a defined percentage of your total annual food expenditure and making every effort as you provide, prepare and serve meals and distribute food at events and ministries to use locally grown or freshly processed foods.
Striving for Environmental Justice
- Check out the webpage maintained by the environmental division of the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations to track church-wide action on environmental justice issues.
- Invite others to join you as you learn, advocate, act, proclaim, eat, play and pray for 30 Days of Action regarding Climate Change.
- A Word to the Church from The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops Gathered in Fairbanks, Alaska, September 21-26, 2017
- A Pastoral Teaching [on the Environment] from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church Gathered in Quito, Ecuador in September, 2011