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Caring for God's Creation: Called to be Stewards
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The Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN) is a national network of active lay and clergy persons within the Episcopal Church, USA, who share a common concern for the environment and a common belief in the presence of God in all Creation and who work to make these concerns and beliefs known throughout all Provinces and Dioceses within the church.  Members come from the provinces of the Episcopal Church, USA

One of the activities of the Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN) is to educate ourselves about the issues before us.  We feel it is necessary to gain a deepening knowledge of the theological and spiritual issues, as well as scientific and practical ecological issues. This newsletter provides information on activities and plans throughout the EpEN.




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EpEN Quarterly Electronic Newsletter

2nd Quarter 2008: Genesis Covenant and Carbon Footprint Reduction around the Episcopal Church

This is a quarterly update of news and information about activities of interest to the Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN). This issue is a look at what diocesan and congregational environmental groups in the Episcopal Church are doing to reduce their carbon footprint as well as in a follow-up to the Healing Our Planet Earth Conference in April. The responses are arranged by province and then by diocese in the province of the Episcopal Church.

We asked for short explanations. Where the responses were lengthy or required more detailed explanation, there is a short summary statement and a link to the full response.
Also in this issue, there is a summary of the Healing Our Planet Earth Conference from one of the planners and participants.


Kate O'Sullivan
Chair, Diocese of Olympia Committee for the Environment

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Diocese of

Province VIII




A personal account

Healing our Planet Earth: Singing a New Song of Hope:
The first national Episcopal Conference on the Environment

Bellevue, WA, April 12, 2008

Two years ago, Chris Christensen, a long time professional environmentalist, in conversation with Bishop Nedi Rivera of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, conceived an idea – to host the first national conference on the environment in Seattle. Planning for the conference was a long struggle for many reasons – a conference like this had never been done before. There were many questions, differences in approach and values amongst the collaborators. With much persistence, hope and patience, the planners worked through their struggles. Planners who had never collaborated with each other before learned how to work together well. The difficulties were heightened when the conference location had to be moved at the last minute from hotel to church. Despite all this on April 12th, at Saint Margaret's Church in Bellevue, the idea to host this conference became a reality in wonderful and joyful ways.

As both a participant in the planning and an attendee of the conference, the day was a rite of passage for me. After years of whining about the lack of response to climate crisis within the Episcopal Church, I was thrilled to hear our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori talk as scientist, priest and theologian. She spoke about the health of our oceans, so damaged by pollution and global warming and the impact of this damage on people and on all of God's creatures. Theologian Sallie McFague invited us into the very important work of changing the hearts and minds of our church members – vital for the changes in life styles needed to reverse global warming trends. Bishop Steven Charleston reminded us of the importance of healing our earth with love, hope and laughter. He challenged us to help pass the Genesis Covenant through the national Episcopal General Convention of 2009. (The Genesis Covenant is an invitation to all faith traditions to make a commitment at the national level to reducing facility greenhouse gas emissions by 50% within ten years of signing-on.) One common theme of all the talks was the recognition that environmental justice and economic justice go hand in hand, and that environmental problems are already resulting in enormous human suffering.

The conference talks were embedded within a day-long Eucharist service, with glorious liturgy designed by Dent Davidson – drums, flute and song invited us into our individual and collective heart work. Those who will inherit our legacy, the youth of the diocese led our prayers. Many contributed to the lunch time workshops and panels. Our hosts at Saint Margaret's worked all day to welcome us, and to keep the refreshments flowing. Last, but not least, we were blessed with a warm spring day!

This account would not be complete without mention of the event hosted the evening before, at Seattle's new Olympic Sculpture Park. Writer and professor, Doug Thorpe created a multi-media performance honoring the land upon which the museum was built. Liturgical dancer, Betsy Beckman offered a marvelous dance performance throughout the presentation. The narration told of the geological formation of the land itself, its inhabitation by First Peoples, its violent appropriation by European settlers and its decay into a toxic waste site. It ended with a celebration of the land's recent resurrection into a place of beauty, healing and recreation. The presentation was followed by talks by Bishop Greg Rickel, of the Diocese of Olympia and by our Presiding Bishop. Both urged us to confront the great harm that has been done to creation and to begin the work of earth healing. The evening was a deep lesson in the power and ability to bring healing where there is suffering; for death to be followed by resurrection.

It is all too easy for our hearts to be stirred by events such as these and then for our busy lives to return to business as usual. We all need much prayer, many reminders and support from each other to make the sorts of individual, family and community changes that will be needed if we are to play our parts in earth healing. I am imagining that after this enormous work, no one wants to hear that we shall have to do this again. But I strongly believe that we need to keep this work going. Perhaps our future work will involve struggling with questions such as these:

  • How do we support this work at the parish and diocesan levels?
  • How might our educational programs respond to these invitations?
  • How might our worship respond to these invitations?
  • How might we work with those in other denominations and other faiths to collaborate in earth healing together?
  • How might we bring joy and play into our lives as we work to heal our earth?
  • And most importantly - How might we best co-create with God?

In working with these questions, we will mirror the challenges of the conference planners – there will be much struggle, differences in approach and values. But just as the planners of this conference were able to form a functional whole, so also will those who take this dream to "sing a new song" forward. I hope that we might all be intentional about keeping the dialogue, the creation-care, the dreaming and the doing flowing and open to God's grace and wisdom.

Note: this article is also reprinted on the Province VIII website, where you may post comments.





Province 1

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Diocese of Connecticut

Hartford, CT
submitted by Ollie Nichols

North Haven Congregational Church (CT) has an active environmental group named Stewardship of Creation (SOC) which seeks to spread awareness of environmental issues among its congregation and elsewhere. In conjunction with the Interreligious Ecojustice Network (IREJN) of Hartford, North Haven Congregational undertook two specific actions: Conducted a four-session study group using the publication To Serve Christ in all Creation which was produced in 2003 by members of Episcopal Province I following the New England Bishops' Pastoral Letter. Second, the group participated in a course entitled STEM (Savings Through Energy Management) for This Old House of Worship, a fifteen hour course on how to conduct parish environmental audits.

Since moving to Queensbury, NY a year ago, I have taught sessions of the aforementioned To Serve Christ in all Creation at St. James Episcopal in Lake George and at First Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls.


Diocese of Vermont

Eco-Justice Team, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Bennington VT
submitted by The Rev Anita Schell-Lambert

Eco-Justice Team Helps Bennington "Think Global, Eat Local"

Since its inception in November 2007, the St. Peter's Eco-Justice Team has been studying issues of global poverty, threats to the environment, and the question "how then shall we live?" One of the most effective life changes we can make, which calls on us as stewards of Creation, is to increase the amount of local foods in our diet. Emphasizing organic foods produced in our community, "eating local" reduces pollution, supports family farms, and it's naturally healthy. The EcoTeam has begun a range of projects around this concept. The centerpiece of EcoTeam action is a parish vegetable garden thathgas been planted this May, and everyone is invited to take part.

We have located a fine source of leaf compost behind the church, and we will be starting a kitchen compost operation in keeping with our organic principles. St. Peter's Garden will be a communal garden open to any member of the parish or the neighborhood. We expect it will benefit those who have limited garden space or situations that prevent them from gardening on their own. All who share in the garden work will share in the harvest, and we expect to provide fresh vegetables for parish meals. The EcoTeam is also planning seasonal "eating local" activities such as canning and pickle making. A future goal is to expand the garden and supply food to the needy through local organizations.




Province 2

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No input Received




Province 3

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Diocese of Pennsylvania

St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia
submitted by Charles Day

We have conducted a parish forum to determine the interests and concerns of the congregation, and are currently focusing on doing an energy audit of the church and grounds.

Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

St. James, Roanoke
submitted by Michael Bentley

Over the past two years St. James, Roanoke has been part of an interfaith group meeting monthly to consider the church's role in environmental issues. "Impact+Amplify" participants work with and through existing community institutions to explore the creative and the destructive potential of the edge between nature and culture, and to encourage proactivity in creation care. We recognize that education must become an integral component in our efforts. To begin, St. James has had its grounds registered as Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. St. James' small urban property is now a nature sanctuary and a wildlife sanctuary sign is posted to encourage a fresh new attitude in our parish about the potential of our grounds. Everyone who visits St. James will have an opportunity to become more aware of birds, butterflies and other small neighborhood creatures that dwell in or pass through our wildlife-friendly haven. In addition to this educational benefit, we will end up helping the environment as we are providing the essential elements wildlife need to survive, that is, food, water, cover and places to raise young. By using gardening practices that help wildlife, like reducing chemicals and conserving water, we'll also help to improve air, water and soil quality for our neighborhood. Case-studies and models of diverse successful proactions, such as St. James'certification on the National Registry of Wildlife Habitat sites, can form the core of local interfaith sustainability education.




Province 4

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Diocese of Tennessee

Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, TN
submitted by Joyce Wilding

"Saving Energy by Saving Water" is new theme in TN!

Environmental stewardship leaders in the Diocese of TN have begun to communicate with leaders in diocese of WTN and ETN about how we could organize parish environmental ministry activities by watersheds in our state. This may help more parish folks to understand the connections between many water and energy issues. Expanding the work of secular and NGO watershed compacts that promote "green" building and sustainable development will reduce carbon emissions.

Too few people know that hot water heaters use more electricity (electricity primarily produced from coal fired power plants in the southeast) than the light bulbs. A few parishes are beginning to promote "just in time" hot water heaters. We want more people to understand that a typical American home today, running a hot water faucet for five minutes uses as much energy as leaving a 60-watt light bulb on for fourteen hours.

We should certainly replace our old light bulbs with modern, high-efficiency ones. And we should expand energy conservation practices that are connected with water issues and conservation.

TN leaders are working with Cumberland River Compact (CRC) in TN/KY. We are pleased about the CRC EPA awards for innovative sustainable building programs in rural, urban and city areas. We encourage every parish member to support neighborhood watershed programs.




Province 5

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Diocese of Chicago

Church of the Holy Spirit, Lake Forest, IL
submitted by Fred Chase

Initiated communications with Bishop Jeffrey Lee, recently installed as Bishop of Chicago by forwarding a copy of the 1st Q Report of EpEN and obtaining a meeting date with Bishop Lee on November 4, 2008, Election Day, to discuss environmental policy at the Diocesan level.


A weekly "green factoid" in the CHS publications; one topical/urgent petition in the weekly prayers of the people, a green component in the Youth Mission trips and in Sunday School; a section of yard to use native plantings and rain collection; increase the profile of the F&E group for the congregation; a living gift market for Heifer International; Forums and programs; a Lenten project for 2009; another visit from the Rev. Nancy Roth. Meeting dates have been set for July and August to keep the momentum going.


  • Continued as a battery collection point with delivery to SWALCO (Solid Waste Lake County) at no fee.
  • Coffee for all functions at Church of the Holy Spirit is Fair Trade coffee.
  • Initiated can and bottle recycling at Spring Fair.
  • Solicited comments with Question: "What are you doing for Earth Day" with interesting results.

A few days after Earth Day the Rev. Nancy Roth joined us again. She conducted a Quiet Day and the Forum on Sunday April 27, 2008. Her theme centered on her new book Grounded in Love: Ecology, Faith, and Action, which became available on May 23 directly from A book group at CHS has had the 1st of 3 sessions on The Great Awakening by Jim Wallis. Chapter 6 is titled Stewardship And Renewal – The Earth is the Lord's.

Our Rector, Jay Sidebotham, attended the annual Urban/Suburban Clergy Colleague Group meeting, held at the Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, with guest presenters Herbert O'Driscoll and Sallie McFague

Encouraged support of individual activity of members of the F&E group.: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); attendance at Ryerson Woods' Keynote Address by Peter Annin, author of The Great Lakes Water Wars; support of the Chicago Green Fest on May 17, 2008 with 350 exhibitors by manning the Heifer International booth.


Diocese of Northern Michigan

submitted by Sue Raker

There is an ecumenical grouping here, not directly under the aegis of the diocese. There is a spring spiritual side to each of these groups, because of the makeup of the members, and the intense commitments to non-violence, place, and staying focused. Within these groups, there are Episcopalians, and I hope to see more very soon.

With great concern for the waters of our area, and with specific opposition to proposed sulfide mining and a strong call for stewardship of the land and water, we have: Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve in Big Bay, MI; Northwoods Wilderness Recovery in Marquette, MI; and, Save the Wild U.P., also in Marquette, MI.



Diocese of Ohio

submitted by The Rev. Nancy Roth

Since I am a writer, my contribution to responding to the Genesis Covenant is a book. Its own "genesis" happened gradually over the years, as I became more and more aware of the earth's predicament. When I attended environmental studies classes at Oberlin College, I heard the terminology of ecology as an alternative theological language. As an Episcopal priest, I became increasingly passionate about sharing my insights with people in the church, so that the ethical tradition based on the great commandment to love God and our neighbor could expand to include both the natural world and the generations who will follow us. The result is my thirteenth book: Grounded in Love: Ecology, Faith, and Action (published by KenArnoldBooks). It will, I hope, help both clergy and laity make the connection between environmental action and Christian faith. It is my prayer that readers will find this offering of mine practical, inspiring, interesting, and – last but not least – a source of hope.



Dioceses of Ohio and Southern Ohio

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light
submitted by Deborah Parker

Green Sermons Initiative

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light (OhIP&L) announces a campaign to recognize Creation Care sermons by clergy or faith community leaders in Ohio. Any sermon presented in Ohio, from the first of this year and received by the end of summer (August 31), will qualify. This includes, for example, a green sermon already given for Earth Day 2008.

Email or hardcopy mail the sermon to us, and we'll post it on our Web site. We will donate a copy of Interfaith Power and Light's "Lighten Up!" and the new "Renewal" videos to each faith community that submits a sermon. Mail to:

Ohio Interfaith Power and Light
P.O. Box 9611
Columbus, OH 43209

Use the email address listed above if you have a question about this campaign. You are welcome to submit prayers, litanies, calls to worship or other accompanying materials - these will be posted together with the sermon. For those who are writing a new sermon, click this link for a list of green sermons to reference.

For more information on OhIP&L visit:





Province 6

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Diocese of Minnesota

Mary Brown Environmental Center, Ely, MN
submitted by Chuck Morello

The Mary Brown Environmental Center continues a series of retreats in 2008 that deal with issues of lessening our impact on the environment and walking softly through God's Creation.




Province 7

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No Input received





Province 8

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Diocese of Arizona

submitted by Phyllis Strupp

Over 200 people attended the Green Faith Festival sponsored by All Saints' of Phoenix on Sunday April 6, 2008 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day began with an "Earth Mass" service at 10 a.m. The festival included speakers, a green consumer "mall," information booths, student projects, children's activities, music, food and more. The event was advertised tothe All Saints' church and school families, as well as the community at large via ads in Arizona Life, Raising Arizona Kids and the neighborhood HOA newsletters.

During May, Nature & Spirituality chair Phyllis Strupp spoke about "The Green Thing" at the diocesan-sponsored Clericus meetings. The clergy were generally interested and receptive to how green ministry can help renew the church and attract young people as well. In addition, Rob Smith of the Sierra Club offered a presentation on climate change and its impact on the poor that also raised the ecological awareness of the attendees.


Diocese of California

All Souls Episcopal Church, Berkeley, CA
submitted by Nancy Snow

We had an extended and great Earth Day at All Souls, with the City of Berkeley Climate Action Team coming to talk about their push to get residents to join a project to reduce their carbon footprint. The Rev. Cn. Sally Bingham preached shortly thereafter, followed the next evening by a slide show and talk by Dr. Andrew Gunther, who is is the Executive Director of the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration, a member of the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and an advisor to The Regeneration Project.


Diocese of California

submitted by The Rev Canon Sally Bingham

The Diocese of California has three parishes that have installed solar on the roof in the last year. Bishop Marc Andrus was at St. Paul's, Walnut Creek to bless their solar on May 15th.

Earth Sunday, April 20, was widely observed throughout our diocese, Many, if not most, of our churches in the diocese celebrated the day with special services, followed by activities at Coffee Hour, and/or kicked off new environmental projects.

Some of us had the opportunity to view portions of the new documentary, Renewal, at CDSP on March 31, 2008, with followup discussion led by Rev. Sally Bingham. This is a perfect film for screening at your church, and is guaranteed to raise the consciousness of any viewer regarding the religious connection to Earth stewardship. While the challenge of saving the environment can seem quite overwhelming, this documentary offers a message of hope via faith and constructive action. Copies of the film can be ordered from for only $5.00. We need 800 ordered before we get that price, however. sign up if you are interested


Diocese of Eastern Oregon

submitted by Jeanie Senior

Oregon Interfaith Power and Light, a project of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, has presented workshops in the Diocese of Eastern Oregon this spring, one in Redmond and the other in Hood River, each with the focus "Save your congregation energy and money" and "Energy Stewardship." The workshop for congregations covers key principles of energy stewardship for churches, low cost and no cost measures to save energy expenses, and funding energy efficiency projects for religious facilities.

The workshop for individuals focuses on reducing energy costs for homes and businesses, affordable renewable energy options and the ethics of energy stewardship.


Diocese of Los Angeles

Holy Nativity Episcopal Church
submitted by The Rev. Peter Rood

Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, California. has a very actove environmental group that draws people together from all walks of life. This group along with members of the community are about to complete our community garden project. A gala event is planned for June 8th at 2 P.M. Here's a link to our site that explains the specifics of the project and our goals. Recently we were covered in a newspaper article.



Diocese of Los Angeles

submitted by The Rev. Peter Kreitler

Carbon Footprint Reduction

Forget about retrofits, alternative fuel vehicles, carbon offsets for flying, and energy efficient appliances, for the most effective modern tool for carbon reduction and the attending consequences of climate change and global warming is the fork!

Yes, you heard me correctly. The simple eating instrument measures your carbon footprint effectively, efficiently and accurately. What you stick with that marvelous invention is of consequence.

Let me explain: 97,000 feedlots produce a majority of the meat in this country. The big ones are called Collosal Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and when it comes to cattle they are no longer benign Ferdinand in the pasture, but water guzzling, energy wasting, greenhouse gas producting machines. Fertilizer raised corn and beans in and methane out, both ends, and scientitsts tell us roughly 18% of global warming is due to the raising of cattle.

Thus, say and your actions decrease your carbon footprint overnight. Give me one good reason other than "I like it" to eat burgers and steak?

And by the way: retrofitted the house, drive a hybrid, buy offsets, use energy efficient bulbs, appliances, and garden implements. The importance of 'walking the talk' for God's creation is everyday in every way



Diocese of Olympia

Earth and Spirit Program, Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island, WA
submitted by Marcy Lagerloef

The mission of the Earth and Spirit program at Grace is to raise the environmental awareness of everyone in the parish as it connects to our spiritual covenant to care about all of God's creation, to act to protect and restore its integrity, and to facilitate the adoption of more earth friendly practices within the parish and in our personal lives.

In the 1 1/2 years of the existence of this program withiin Soul School at Grace we have offered a range of inspirational and educational activities, including a presentation on the science of global warming; guided river hikes, bird walks, and wildlife viewing; and three multi-week education series (keyed off Earth Ministry modules) on 1) reducing miles driven ("car-less" Sundays), 2) understanding the environmental impacts of our food choices, and 3) saving energy in the home. This latter module will be a jumping off point for upcoming discussions of saving energy in how we operate our church structure.





Province 9

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No Input Received






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Anglican Church of Canada

submitted by Lindsay Kellock, Ontario

Kairos Times is a monthly bulletin for ecumenical justice activists and friends from KAIROS:

Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives/Initiatives œcuméniques canadiennes pour la justice.

  1. URGENT ACTION: KAIROS calls for MPs to vote no to Bill C-33 on Biofuels
  2. Assembly of First Nations Day of Action - May 29, 2008
  3. Help the Save Darfur Canada coalition collect 300,000 postcards
  4. Pumped Up: How Canada subsidizes fossil fuels at the expense of green alternatives
  5. Good enough to work…Good enough to stay
  6. International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel: 4-10 June 2008
  7. Citizens for Public Justice poverty reduction workshops - coming to a city near you!
  8. Filipino working class hero Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran leaves a living legacy.

If you are interested in subscribing to the online version of Kairos Times, click here.




About this Project

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This another in a series of the e-Newsletter where we look at environmental stewardship activities occurring within the Episcopal Church. The 15 or so submissions represent a sampling of environmental stewardship activities focusing on Carbon Footprint reduction within Episcopal congregations and their surrounding communities.

Many of us struggle to bring our concerns about stewardship of God's creation to others in our congregations, communities or dioceses. Part of what we hope this issue will do is hold up to our readers the actions of our brothers and sisters in Christ and provide ideas of things they can do locally or at the diocesan level.

If I missed listing your input, please send me another copy. If your congregation or diocese is not listed here or if you have more to say about what is happening at a location listed above, please send your information to news[] (please remove the square brackets before sending). The webpage for this newsletter will be updated about every 2 weeks through early August to add additional information. Submitted photos will be posted starting in mid-June.











Take time to visit the EpEN Website. If you have information to share on upcoming events in your area, please send an e-mail to news[] (please remove the square brackets before sending).

The EpEN also seeks individuals interested in being contacts within Provinces and Dioceses as well as individuals interested in researching and writing about topics of interest. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to: chair[] (please remove the square brackets before sending).

The next issue will come out in late August 2008 (deadline for submissions to be around August 20, 2008). If you have information to share with the wider church, please send your input at any time to news[] (please remove the square brackets before sending).

Please direct comments about this newsletter to Chuck Morello (please remove the square brackets before sending).

Chuck Morello
EpEN Webminister


last update: 2008-06-16


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