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The Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN)

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.




If you would like to find out more about the Episcopal Ecological Network, please click on the links below.




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1375 Residence Drive

Newark, OH 43055 USA
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If you would like to find out more about the Episcopal Ecological Network, please click on the links below.





Join our e-mail list
[please remove the square brackets from the address before sending]
Contact information:

Episcopal Ecological Network
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1375 Residence Drive

Newark, OH 43055 USA
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If you would like to find out more about the Episcopal Ecological Network, please click on the links below.





Join our e-mail list
[please remove the square brackets from the address before sending]
Contact information:

Episcopal Ecological Network
c/o C. Morello
1375 Residence Drive

Newark, OH 43055 USA
e-mail the EpEN Chair
[please remove the square brackets from the address before sending]











































If you would like to find out more about the Episcopal Ecological Network, please click on the links below.





Join our e-mail list
[please remove the square brackets from the address before sending]
Contact information:

Episcopal Ecological Network
c/o C. Morello
1375 Residence Drive

Newark, OH 43055 USA
e-mail the EpEN Chair
[please remove the square brackets from the address before sending]






EpEN Quarterly Electronic Newsletter

1st Quarter 2009: Planned Activities for 2009

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 dioceses, congregations, and individuals plan to do in 2009 in the area of stewardship of God's creation. The responses are arranged by Province and then alphabetically by diocese. We asked for short explanations. Where the responses were lengthy or required a more detailed explanation, there is a shorter summary statement and a link to the full response on the website.

Michael Schut was appointed (in November 2008) to the position of Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer for The Episcopal Church. Prior to that, he spent 11 years on the staff of Earth Ministry. He has edited and partially authored three books/study guides: Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective; Food and Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread; and, very recently, Money and Faith: The Search for Enough. In this issue Michael tells us a bit about his ministry.


Michael Schut
Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer

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Episcopal Church, USA





A personal observation

Economic and Environmental Affairs
in the Episcopal Church

Introduction: I am delighted to submit my first piece to the Episcopal Ecological Network's newsletter! I know some of you from my time at Earth Ministry, have met others of you since starting this position, and look forward to meeting many of you in the future. Thank you for your work and passion and commitment on behalf of caring for all God's creation. No matter the outcome of our call to work and play and pray on behalf of all creation, I believe our efforts are themselves right and good, and are an expression of God's desire for this world.

Pastoral, Prophetic and Practical: As I wrote and edited Money and Faith: The Search for Enough, I realized how important it was to me that the book be pastoral, prophetic, and practical. And now as I reflect on beginning this new position within the church it occurs to me that I want those same three adjectives to describe my work, our work.

Our personal lives and societal practices reflect profound brokenness in our relationship with creation and often ignore our faith's call to live in community with all of life. So, we need to experience the nurturing companionship of a wise, compassionate pastor or priest who can guide us in healing our brokenness.

Of course, we also desperately need the energy, passion, anger and power reminiscent of an Old Testament prophet. I know many of us have drawn on that power in the face of the habitual denial of human-induced climate change, of our insistence on growing an economy which denies it is in reality "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment," and in facing the myth that we must either care for people or the rest of God's good Earth.

And finally, to affect the kinds of changes needed, we need to be persistently practical. What actions-from tax policy and daily food and transportation choices, to investments and our personal relationship with money-will lead us toward a more equitable and compassionate world?

I think it is important to note that, in creating a position whose title includes both "economic" and "environmental," The Episcopal Church (TEC) is, in a sense, taking a prophetic stance, stating that the two are intimately connected. We all know that we must create an economics embedded within Earth's systems and carrying capacities; we must practically embody the fact that economics and ecology share the same Greek root of oikos, or "household." So it seems to me that the church is to be commended for the priority they have given these concerns. (I guess now it's up to us to help the church flesh out what that means!)

Thank You Again – for your involvement with EpEN. I look forward to getting to know you and collaborating – in what I often think is essentially a call to fall in love with all of life, and to be open to having our hearts broken that we might then be part of the healing I believe God desires for all creation. Perhaps in the next newsletter I can share some of the ways the church and this position's priorities seek to flesh out that call.

Mike Schut





Province I

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Diocese of Vermont

Earth Care Circle at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington, VT
submitted by Sylvia Knight

Earth Care Ministry of St. Paul's Cathedral is collaborating with the Vermont Chapter of Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts (ECVA) on an exhibit titled "Water as Sacrament: a Finite Gift from God", to be mounted in the Cathedral from late April through May.

Two sessions of Sunday Adult Education will focus on the new generation of contaminants in Lake Champlain (May 3) and on the worldwide water crisis (May 10), providing new parish awareness and material for a Diocesan resolution to help reduce contaminants in Lake Champlain.

St. Paul's celebration of God's creation on Rogation Sunday (May 17) incorporates hymns, canticles and a sermon honoring creation, as well as a procession liturgy to bless the Cathedral Memorial Garden just outside our Nave and senior housing community gardens next door. We will explore liturgical elements to raise awareness of God's gift of water. Adult Education for Rogation Sunday is still in the planning stage.

Since last November our parish staff and some parish events have composted food scraps and soiled paper in cooperation with the local municipal composting operation, which creates useful material and keeps waste out of the landfill.


Diocese of Western Massachusetts

Grace Church, Amherst, MA
submitted by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

For Creation Sunday/Earth Day, the "Greening Grace" team at Grace Church (Amherst, MA) is planning a Car-Free/Carpool Sunday. We will encourage parishioners to bike, walk, or carpool to church. We will bless our newly installed bike rack, and offer medals to everyone who found a "greener" way to get to church. (The "medals" are made of used CDs and DVD's, painted by Sunday School children and strung with a shoelace or ribbon.)






Province II

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Diocese of New Jersey

Environmental Commission
submitted by the Rev Franklin "Skip" Vilas

The annual convention of the Diocese of New Jersey will consider –and, hopefully, pass – a resolution proposed by the Rev. Skip Vilas on behalf of EpEN to support the celebration of a Creation Cycle of the Pentecost Season, and to bring the issue before the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, CA in July of 2009.

Co-Sponsored by leading Episcopal clergy in the diocese, as well as by the environmental commission and the delegation to general convention, the resolution has already been submitted to the general convention by the chair of the delegation and to other members. Thus, it will make its way to Anaheim regardless of the outcome at the diocesan level. If passed, it would be resubmitted on behalf of the Diocese of New Jersey.




Province III

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Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

St. James, Roanoke, VA
submitted by Michael Bentley

Our Diocesan Council in January continued to focus on the MDGs and a particular effort was made this year to enhance ties to our companion dioceses of Bradford and the Sudan. Several Council workshops were offered focusing on Greening the Church. Two parishes are now Certified Wildlife Habitats, through the National Wildlife Federation, and several others plan to apply. St. James parish, Roanoke, Virginia, has been working to "green" our church. In cooperation with a local interfaith NGO, Impact+Amplify, we will celebrate Evensong on Earth Day with the dedication of a memorial tree and blessing of our new rain barrels.





Province IV

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Diocese of Mississippi

Stewardship of Creation Committee
submitted by Andrew Whitehurst, chairmany

The Stewardship of Creation Committee for the Mississippi Diocese had a booth at the recent Annual Council in Hattiesburg. We sold books about sustainable living and CDs of Mississippi Bird Songs. We also gave out a fact sheet on "100 ways you can improve the environment", downloaded at, and a fact sheet on recycling for churches. The latter gave the Mississippi DEQ's recycling coordinator's website information on brokers for paper, cardboard, plastic etc. We encouraged churches to use curbside recycling if their city offers it. Where it is offered, churches do this. For churches with no curbside recycling, the DEQ information provides a way to find a recycling broker/contractor and see whether the church fits in the contractor's pick-up area. Booth visitors were interviewed about whether/ how their church engages in recycling, and whether their kitchens wash cups and china or use throwaways. Answers were mostly positive and show improvement over the last 3 years. Finally we asked about the Rogation Sunday earth stewardship sermon that the Bishop began requiring last year. We will remind priests again this Spring about this Rogation Sunday (near Earth Day) sermon.



Diocese of Tennessee

Living in Creation Ministry
submitted by Emily Jones, Chair

Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee commissioned in October 2008 an environmental ministry, named "Living in Creation Ministry". In addition, he requested that a liaison be appointed to this environmental ministry from every church in our diocese. A coordinated environmental effort is beginning to take shape in our diocese.

In 2009, this ministry hopes to accomplish 7 major tasks:

  1. Start the process of greening our annual convention
  2. Conduct an environmental survey and report results
  3. Have a liaison appointed to our ministry from every parish
  4. Research environmental curriculum for parishes
  5. Develop a "Living in Creation Ministry" blog and website
  6. Develop an environmental informational packet for every parish
  7. Create the Living in Creation Sermon Series – a series of sermons by clergy and academics scheduled around the diocese focused on Creation care.




Province V

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Diocese of Ohio

Bexley Hall Seminary, Columbus, OH
submitted by the Rev Nancy Roth

The Rev. Nancy Roth, author and retreat leader from Oberlin, OH, will be leading a workshop/quiet day in the parish hall of Trinity Church, Wall Street (located at 74 Trinity Place, directly behind the church) on Saturday, March 14, as part of their "Spa for the Soul" series. For further information and to register you can contact Janine McHale in the Trinity office (212- 602-0739).

There is a modest charge, and lunch will be provided. The program begins at 10, with coffee available in the seminar room beginning at 9:15. We will end around 3 pm, with lunch served from 12;30-1:30 pm. It is basically a "quiet day" (another way of expressing the concept of "spa for the soul"). This day of reflection and renergizing will be based on the theme of Nancy's most recent book: Grounded in Love: Ecology, Faith, and Action. We'll explore ways that attentiveness to the natural world can enrich our lives, deepen our relationship with God, and call us to deeper responsibility towards the planet that is our home. We'll explore this through presentations, through physical/spiritual exercises that get us in touch with our own "piece of nature" (our bodies) – and through time for quiet and also for discussion. All are welcome! below is the description found in forthcoming Trinity publications:

Grounded in Love: Praying with Nature

Through spoken reflections, gentle exercises that integrate body and spirit, and breathing speace in which to pray and meditate we will explore the many ways that the natural world can inspire our prayer, impart God's wisdom, and reveal God's love to us.



Diocese of Ohio

Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, OH
submitted by the Rev Nancy Roth

Trinithy Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH. Sundays May 3,10, 17, and 24, 10:10-11 a.m. Book study of Grounded in Love: Ecology, Faith, and Action by Nancy Roth (2008, KenArnoldBooks). All are welcome.
Facilitators: The Rev. Nancy Roth, Episcopal priest, author, and natonally known retreat leader, and (May 17) Andrew Barnett, graduate student at Yale Divinity School and Yale School of Forestry.


  • May 3: Love (How can nature itself become a revelation of God and a means of drawng closer to God?)
  • May 10: Concern (How can our compassion for the suffering of something or someone we love eventually contribute to healing?
  • May 17: Ethics (How does this begin to change our world-view and expand our concept of what it means to love God and our neighbor?
  • May 24: Action, Hope (What does this mean in practice, as our new world view begins to guide our decisions and our life-styles? What are our sources of inspiration and hope?)





Province VI

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Diocese of Minnesota

Minnesota Episcopal Enivronmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)
submitted by Chuck Morello

The MEESC has several projects for 2009:

1- Three retreats at the MBEC (May 1-3: Native American Life and Spirit; August 13-16: Introduction to the BWCAW; and mid-September: Remembering Sigurd Olson ). Complete details are available online

2- Continued work on environmental lectionary reflections for Year B

3- Preparing materials for a celebration of creation. This year it will be in October (Propers 22 to 25). Materials will be available through the MEESC Website in the Summer

4- Hosting several regional meetings on environmental topics of interest.

5- Filming video clips for posting on the MEESC Website. Clips will contain information and reflections from individuals involved in environmental work in the Diocese of Minnesota.


Diocese of Nebraska

Green Sprouts
submitted by the Rev Betsy Blake Bennett

Green Sprouts: Rooting Creation Care in the Diocese of Nebraska

Green Sprouts is the new creation care ministry in the Diocese of Nebraska. The name suggests the newness of this ministry, as well as the ability of plants to sprout up wherever there are openings or crevices. Because of the distances in our diocese, one of our purposes is to model working and communicating well with one another in an environmentally friendly way, minimizing our use of automobiles.

The overall goal for 2009 is to root this ministry in the life of the diocese. Some specific plans are:

  • Continuing to work in partnership with Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light
  • Beginning conversations about creation care and environmental stewardship through the Green Sprouts blog
  • Creating an electronic newsletter at the beginning of each earth season, offering program ideas for parishes to connect earth and spirit.
  • Growing the Green Sprouts task force, and communicating within the task force to find out what resources parishes need to develop good environmental stewardship practices, and to look at how the diocese as a whole can best model responsible creation care.



Diocese of South Dakota

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brookings, SD
submitted by Chuck Berry

Spring is a time to focus on our stewardship of the Natural Cathedral. We had fun "beating the bounds" last year and may try this again. And, we'll use stewardship materials supplied FREE by our local conservation district for Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 26-May 3. The theme this year is soil (Dig It?). We'll also acknowledge Rogation Days (just before Ascension Day).

We use materials (bulletin inserts, etc) developed by the National Association of Conservation Districts. The Association links stewardship observances to the traditions of Rogation days, acknowledging that farming and faith are often entwined. The Church Leader Guide includes information on soil science, soil-related scripture, music, litany, prayers, and responsive readings.

Last year we tried an old English tradition known as "beating the bounds." Long ago, villagers walked around the bounds of the village or parish, striking boundary stakes with branches. This "beating of the bounds" reconnected the villagers with community, each other, and their land. We'll "beat our Parish bounds" on Rogation Sunday. Our tour is a way to bind together generations, acknowledge stewardship of our place, and remember obligations to the neighbors

(photo shows St. Paul's Parish property).




Province VII

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Diocese of West Texas

Ecological Stewardship Committee
submitted by Hall Hammond, Chair

For this year's annual Diocesan Council meeting, we decided to take a different tact than just passing out brochures and giving away environmental products and information. Our focus was on urging parishes to conduct an annual EARTH SUNDAY. We had green buttons made with LOVE YOUR EARTH and gave out almost 400 of them to clergy, delegates and visitors – they were well received and they became part of the wearers' everyday presence.

We had a few minutes on the program and I began with "DO YOU LOVE YOUR EARTH?" On the second try I received an enthusiastic response and then I related several Earth Sunday success stories and urged them to come by our booth for our assistance. I then closed with another "DO YOU LOVE YOUR EARTH?" Fortunately I was preceded by a very serious speaker and I think my few moments woke many of them up.

We lobbied for and received an excellent booth location and had good traffic. 26 people – almost all parishioners – from 18 different parishes – signed up and now our task will be to follow up with them and their clergy to schedule an Earth Sunday.

Two other important notes: 1) The Council chairs were able to obtain well made plastic cups that were given out at registration and the recipient's name was marked on the cup. They took a hard line and no styrofoam cups were available. It seemed to work with few complaints. 2) We also were able to get a regional grocery chain HEB to donate 1000 reusable cloth grocery bags which were used to contain the registration materials and this seems to have been very successful.





Province VIII

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Diocese of Arizona

Nature & Spirituality Program
submitted by Phyllis Strupp

Green Convention: Our Bishop Kirk Smith believes that planetary reconciliation is God's will and decided to make our October 2009 convention theme "Stewardship of God's Creation." We are currently working on workshop topics under the categories of spirituality, stewardship, and advocacy.

Diocesan Ministry Fair: We are offering this workshop on March 7:
Adventures in Grace: Green Spiritual Formation for All Ages
Learn how churches around the country are using the new Adventures in Grace green formation curriculum to explore the mysterious territory of how God is at work in today's world, from ecology to the economy and the Millennium Development Goals. Scripture, science, music and fun are all part of the adventure!

Creation Keepers Retreat Inspired by the success of the Diocese of Atlanta's recent retreat for 40 new Creation Keepers from 24 parishes, we plan to hold a retreat in May at Chapel Rock, our diocesan retreat center.


Diocese of Spokane

Environmental Stewardship Team
submitted by Evita Krislock

The Diocese of Spokane continues to move into a model of sustainability. Our annual diocesan convention will be focusing on environmental issues when it meets in October. Gloria Waggoner (Bishop's wife) is an excellent resource and support as she educates and promotes sustainability in how we operate. Currently Our Social Justice and Outreach Committee, a part of Diocesan Council, is in the process of ongoing development of Environmental Sustainability. To make a systemic change toward living into this we are empowering congregations to discover what is available to them and what will enhance their communities efforts toward this goal.

In addition, the diocese is actively involved in our regional Faith and Environment Network. We are developing relationships with people of faith, providing information and resources which educate congregations to live into models of Environmental Sustainability and Awareness. We will hold our annual Called to Care workshop May 9th at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Spokane. Our Americorp member is available to make presentations to any and all interested groups.

For more information contact or contact Evita Krislock (509-922-0180)






Outside of the Episcopal Church

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No reports






About this Project

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This another in a series of the e-Newsletter where we look at upcoming environmental stewardship activities occurring within the Episcopal Church. The submissions and links represent a sampling of environmental activities around the Episcopal Church. If you wish to contact any of the contributors, please send an e-mail to news[] (please remove the square brackets before sending) for forwarding.

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 provide templates and ideas for our readers to use when approaching their priest or vestry about what can be done in the area of environmental stewardship.

If I missed listing your input, please send me another copy. If your congregation's or diocese's efforts are not listed here, 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 May to add additional information. Submitted photos will be posted starting in mid-March.











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 is now also present on Facebook as a group. You can search for us using our full name or the short-title.

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 May 2009 (deadline for submissions to be around May 15, 2009). This issue will focus on environmental issues coming before General Convention. 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: 2009-02-27


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