Shield of the Episcopal Church, USA

The Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN)

Caring for God's Creation: Called to be Stewards
part of The Episcopal Church, USA

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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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Contact information:

Episcopal Ecological Network
c/o C. Morello
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
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Contact information:

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

Newark, OH 43055 USA
e-mail the EpEN Chair
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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
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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]








EpEN Quarterly Electronic Newsletter

4th Quarter 2009: Activities during 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 congregations, dioceses, and groups in the Episcopal Church have done in 2009 to the area ofenvironmental/ecological stewardship or caring for creation.

This is an opportunity to share with others what you or your group/congregation/diocese have done and how it worked (or what you might change next time).

Some items to consider in this questions were the impact the resolutions might have, whether these resolutions will give rise to local resolutions, what kind of actions individuals foresee, and what assistance some individuals might need. We received 35 responses covering 23 dioceses in 8 Provinces as well as some overarching areas . The responses are arranged by Province and alphabetically by dioceses within a Province.

The lead article was prepared by Michael Schut (Office of Environmental and Economic Justice) with his impressions after a year in his position.




Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer, Episcopal Church, USA
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Coming Home

Thank you – the Episcopal Ecological Network (along with the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice) is the group I rely on most in my work within the church. You make real our call to care for all creation in the places you call home.

"Coming home" strikes me as the theme I most often wrote or talked about during 2009, my first as Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer.

Just for a moment, reflect on and make vivid the place that most feels like home in your bones, your heart. Now, imagine that place is gone forever.

That's what the Pacific island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati face in the next 20 to 30 years. As sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and severe due to climate change, scientists predict these entire nations will no longer be inhabitable. I met the ecumenical church leaders of these two countries at a conference whose theme was "Climate Change and Resettlement."

I also met Floyd Lalwet, a leader within the Anglican Church in the Philippines. He and The Most Rev. Edward P. Malecdan, Prime Bishop, wrote in a recent letter:

"A year ago, our own Bishop of our Diocese of North Central Philippines, Rt. Rev. Joel A. Pachao, said in a meeting with some of our foreign partners, 'We are doing all these environmental stewardship programs so that you can continue to drive your SUVs.' It was an expression of anger…over the fact that it is us in the so-called 'developing…countries' who are suffering most from the effects of climate change which can be attributed to carbon…emissions, the bulk of which are from the western developed countries."

One thing most all of us – whether Tuvaluan, Filipino or American – share is a love for our homes. But I believe Americans are more uprooted than perhaps any others (as Alan Durning has noted we have careers, not homes). We need to become rooted again. We are then more likely to care for and defend that place.

And within the Episcopal Church, you are the leaders embodying that care. I share with you a deep passion for this work, for helping faith communities and faith leaders reclaim their role as prophets, pastors and practitioners of caring for all God's creation.

As you know, this work has become more and more urgent. I welcome your partnership, your support and advice. Thank you again.




Province I




Diocese of Vermont

Endorsing the Earth Charter
submitted by Sylvia Knight,
Earth Community Advocate & Researcher;
and St. Paul's Cathedral, Burlington, VT

Earth Care Ministry at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, VT wishes to thank all those who worked to get endorsement of the Earth Charter at General Convention. We sponsored a resolution urging our Diocesan Convention "to concur with General Convention in endorsing The Earth Charter... " and to "encourage parishes, agencies and individual members to seek understanding of and inspiration from the Earth Charter, and to take actions consonant with The Earth Charter. " The resolution passed handily. Two Sunday morning Adult Forums have been organized to help the parish understand the document. In related work, our group sees a need to interpret our parish's environmental policy to the parish, to get more buy-in and practical application in parish life events. Would others like to share successes in this realm of communal life?




Province II























Diocese of Newark

submitted by the Rev Skip Vilas

On November 7th, at the annual awards ceremony of GreenFaith, the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director, announced that he and the work of GreenFaith has been selected for recognition at Windsor Castle at a conference of religous leaders sponsored by the Alliance of Religion and Conservation (ARC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Also recognized was the Rev. Sally Bingham, one of the founders of EpEN, and the founder and president of Interfaith Power and Light.(IPL),

Attendees at the awards ceremony on the 7th were given a tour of a closed episcopal church, which will be totally renovated as a green building that will house the offices of Greenfaith, as well as apartments for returning veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Diocese of New Jersey

Diocese of New Jersey Environmental Commission
submitted by the Rev Joe Parrish

With a major amount of help from various eco-justice groups, we were able to defeat the siting of a giant coal plant in Linden, New Jersey, by a City Council vote of 7 to 4. The plant would have supplied heavy metals for asphalt to pave the roadways of New Jersey which would have eroded and resulted in putting these toxins into the air we would breathe. It also would have pumped impure carbon dioxide over 70 miles into the ocean bed off the coast of Atlantic City. We were also able to confirm that no mercury controls would have been installed. (Every river, stream, and lake of New Jersey is already contaminated with mercury, as is beginning to happen in the rest of the US due to coal burning and municipal waste incinerators.) And it would have added to the devastation of thousands of acres of mountaintops in various parts of the US.

In a valiant effort to save a few children's lives in and around Newark, New Jersey, our Commission did a one day letter and fax blitz to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to request the denial of the renewal of the permit for the antique Essex County Municipal Waste Incinerator there, where every child in the Newark Ironbound (incinerator area) Little League has asthma and other respiratory diseases. This burner vaporizes 80 percent of the garbage from Manhattan daily, including all car lead batteries. Pray for them.


Diocese of New York

submitted by the Rev Skip Vilas

On September 26th, a memorial celebration was held in memory of Thomas Berry, geologian and guru of the ecological spirituality movement, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Dean Jim Kowalski of the Episcopal Cathedral gave the greeting, and a passage by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was read by the Rev. Skip Vilas of EpEN. A thousand persons were in attendance.

Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street sponsored a webcast on Novemberr 12th by GreenFaith, moderated by the Rev. Fletcher Harper, on the subject of green jobs and the upcoming conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on climate change. It may be viewed at


Diocese of New York

Diocesan Committee on the Environment
submitted by Steve Holton, Chair

Here are a few things we're doing to make our convention as "green" as possible, to conserve resources, protect God's Creation, promote environmental justice, and to help preserve a livable, sustainable Earth! We are grateful for your support and cooperation with these measures ... and welcome your feedback!

  1. Water. Instead of water in individual plastic bottles (which waste resources in their manufacture and transport, and often have social justice impacts at the water source), we are providing each of you with a BPA-free reusable bottle. The bottle is imprinted with the seal of the diocese and the words from a Baptism prayer: "We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water." This is also a perfect evangelistic device for shy Episcopalians, who simply need to drink from it in public to provoke conversations about our thankfulness for God's Creation. More are available for parishes to order if you email the environment committee using the email address on the bottle.
  2. Food. We are reducing waste by providing you with options from which to select. There is also a vegetarian option. At lunch time, you will find baskets by the registration are to place any food items from your lunch box that you may decide not eat such as the chips, fruit, or brownie and we will take them to the food pantry for the homeless.
  3. Recycling. We are providing containers to recycle cans and paper. Please be alert to the different containers and use them! And ask questions if you need guidance!
  4. Communication. As much as possible has been done by e-mail and web commu-nication rather than paper. We hope that next year we'll be able to reduce paper use even more! Reports, presentations and other materials will be available on the website after. A Communications Canon to enable Electronic Communications for the future has been proposed for next year.
  5. We use recycling paper for all the materials distributed to the delegates.
  6. Transportation. The Convention is sited in an urban center with access to public transportation, and with extremely limited parking. We encourage carpooling and/or use of mass transit!

All of our actions manifest our diocese's care for God's creation. We urge you to use similar measures in planning your own parish events.




Province III























Diocese of Pennsylvania

Trinity Episcopal Church (Swarthmore)
submitted by Megan Slootmaker
Trinity Church Environmental Stewardship Committee Chair

Inspired by sustainable facilities improvements including the new living roof installed over our Education Wing in May, Trinity formed an Environmental Stewardship Committee in September 2009.

In October, the committee conducted a local action as part of the Day of International Climate Action. Trinity's event, planned with sustainable methods in mind, included:

  • A tolling of the Church's bell 350 times in solidarity with faith communities around the world
  • A presentation explaining the significance of the 350 ppm CO2 target
  • An garbage inventory and initiation of a plan to reduce our output of waste

Click here to view the photo gallery of the Green Roof project and 350 Day Action.

Committee members took turns visiting the Philadelphia Cathedral during its inspiring 'Season of Creation' worship series, and will discuss ways to incorporate its lessons at Trinity. Finally, the first in a series of sustainability tip sheets was created and posted as a resource on the Church's website.

Plans for 2010 include conducting an energy audit, installing more energy-efficient lighting and windows, researching requirements for a GreenFaith certification, and preparing more resources and programs (e.g., for Lent) for the parish and community.

Trinity's participants for
Participants in Trinity Church's Day of International Climate Action


Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

St. James Episcopal Church, Roanoke, VA
submitted by Michael Bentley

St. James Episcopal Church in Roanoke continues to provide an example in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia of "greening" a parish. This year Bishop Neff Powell dedicated the church's grounds as a Certified Wildlife Habitat and blessed a new memorial tree (a native river birch) and the parish's two new 250-gallon rain barrels. St. James' gardening committee is now the Creation Care Committee, recognizing the broader roles of stewardship and education in grounds maintenance. Adult education and middle school Sunday school classes have focused this past year on the Christian response to local to global environmental issues and speakers from St James made presentations at Diocesan Council and to other churches. Situated in the headwaters region of three rivers, St. James is part of Impact+Amplify, an interfaith NGO in Roanoke seeking to connect spirituality and ecology. To see the rain barrels, visit and scroll down.


Diocese of Virginia

Stewardship of Creation Committee
submitted by Susan Midland

The Stewardship of Creation Committee of the Diocese of Virginia Region 15 accomplished positive steps this year for meeting environmental stewardship goals. In order to get a good cross-section of churches involved, the SOC asked church rectors to select a volunteer from their congregations to act as a representative to the SOC committee. The response has been good. Representatives receive news and articles from the committee and then share pertinent information with their congregations.

One of Region 15's major projects this year has been implementation of the Three-Step Energy Assessment. This project helps churches locate small changes that can lead to lower fuel bills. The energy assessment is a combination of a self-directed inventory of energy savings suggestions that can be carried out by members of the congregation and use of EnergyStar's new interactive website called Portfolio Manager. Although an audit is the third and final step, the in-house steps are often sufficient to bring about a substantial savings in fuel costs.


Diocese of Virginia

Church of the Good Shepherd, Burke, VA
submitted by Susan Osborn

This spring the Environmental Ministry of the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Burke, Virginia, installed a "pollinator" garden on a large, unused section of hillside next to the church's pre-school. The garden has all native plants, such as coreopsis, black-eyed Susans, bee balm and Canada anemones. It provides a living classroom for teaching about the interconnectedness of all species. Using native plants, the garden will require little maintenance and provide stability for the ground during the winter snows and summer thunderstorms.

We also designed and gave out a few hundred shopping bags with the church's logo on them. They are large bags suitable for grocery shopping. Our aim is to encourage their use instead of the plastic bags that are so terrible for the environment.

Lastly, we are currently running a drive to have people sign an energy "pledge" to reduce their use of energy during the month of November.




Province IV























Province IV Environmental Coordinator

submitted by the Rev. Jerry Cappel

This is my first time to write to you as the Coordinator of Environmental Ministry for Province IV. I am stepping into the (very big) shoes of Joyce Wilding, who was the Coordinator before me. I am confident you have read of things written by Joyce, or about Joyce, or including Joyce - for she has been very busy and very productive in the province over the past decade.

As for me, I am an Episcopal priest, and I have recently taken a position as Associate for Justice Ministries with St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky. That role includes eco-justice, so I am very pleased to be in that position. I very much look forward to working with the "green team" in that parish in developing ways to live out God's claim upon the church which is living in a time of ecological sin, failing stewardship and covenant unfaithfulness.

I also look forward to learning who you are - you in Province IV who find a calling and ministry to speak and act in response to our world's ecological disconnect and our need to join in the "Great Turning." It is my hope, as coordinator, to help you find the resources, the support, the connections and the courage you need to effectively raise your voice, lend a hand, lead and teach others how to live rightly on this earth. I encourage you to contact me.

This is a transition year for Province IV. Joyce has been transitioning onto claiming new works and reclaiming old ones, and I have been transitioning my ministry both with my parish and with the province. But great things are planned for 2010. I would like to alert you to keep watch for something in particular developing at the University of the South at Sewanee (Province IV is the province of Sewanee, after all). At the university, Robin Gottfried and others are in the early stages of developing The Center for Religion and the Environment. Joyce and I have been working all year to explore what partnerships are possible between the Province and the Center. The potential benefits are many.

I believe one of the greatest contributions the church can make to healing ourselves and the earth is to lend reason, imperative and theological weight to the call for all people to make the turn from consumption to community and from life-consuming ways to life-giving values. The University of the South, with its schools of science, economics and theology, is in a unique position to help the church with this work. We will, in 2010, work to make connections between the churches of Province IV and the hearts and minds of the Center for Religion and the Environment that will empower us speak and act with courage and conviction in this cause.

I look forward to working with you, getting to know you, and being blessed by you.


Diocese of Atlanta

Environmental Stewardship Task Force
submitted by Stan Meiburg, Chair

Good news from the Diocese of Atlanta! At its annual meeting on November 7th, Diocesan Council unanimously adopted two resolutions. The first encourages every parish in the Diocese to get an energy audit by the end of 2010, and the second creates a standing Commission on Environmental Stewardship. In addition, 47 parishes in the Diocese have identified Creation Keepers, members of a diocese-wide network to promote environmental stewardship in parishes by building awareness, promoting parish actions, and conducting responsible advocacy.

Along with the Council, thirty five of the Creation Keepers had the privilege of spending a very special and inspiring half-hour with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. People asked questions and shared their stories, and everyone came away feeling affirmed, supported, and encouraged.

Finally, Creation Keepers Retreat II is coming up at Camp Mikell, February 5-7, 2010! It should be a great opportunity to stay connected, support each other, meet new friends, and learn new ideas and opportunities!


Diocese of Louisiana

Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative
submitted by Colleen Connor
Development Director

Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative is moving forward with plans to redevelop a brownfield site (toxic land in need of remediation) in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans, LA.

Redevelopment of this land will be complicated by the presence of a hazardous pollutants or contaminants. Cleaning up and reinvesting in this property improves and protects the environment for neighborhood residents. Jericho Road is collaborating with community members, local architects, designers and government agencies which bring expertise in landscape architecture, urban design, environmental engineering and ecological sciences to develop a brownfield into a community park.

The brownfield project will be a unifying force for the community and a launching pad for creating a new neighborhood identity.

Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative of New Orleans is a neighborhood-based nonprofit homebuilder that provides families with healthy and energy efficient affordable housing opportunities. We partner with neighborhood residents, organizations and businesses to create and maintain a stable and thriving community.


Diocese of Tennessee

Living in Creation Ministry
submitted by Emily Jones

Living in Creation Ministry (LiCM), the environmental ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, commissioned in October 2008 has been working with both clergy and laity this year. Clergy from 22 churches in our diocese have appointed liaisons to our ministry. Our ministry organized 2 liaison meetings and 1 event for our diocese, all of which are open to anyone. Our first liaison meeting had 25 in attendance and our second meeting had 28 people representing 20 congregations. LiCM partnered with a local nonprofit to offer a rain barrel workshop where 22 people attended. A parishioner bought 2 rain barrels, because of this event, and soon added 6 more. He is able to collect and store 440 gallons of water for irrigation purposes with his 8 rain barrels!!!

Other LiCM 2009 accomplishments include the establishment of a website ( and a notebook for liaisons as a resource and organizational tool.

On November 18th, LiCM's Chair spoke to a group of clergy about 2009 accomplishments and the need for further clergy participation. Our ministry, with our Bishop's support, will submit a resolution dedicating a specific day to faith and environment and efforts are underway to reduce water bottles for our 2010 Annual Convention.




Province V



Diocese of Chicago

Faith & Environment at Church of the Holy Spirit,
Lake Forest, IL
submitted by Fred Chase

Our Faith and the Environment group (F&E) has continued the several environmental protocols we established earlier. There has been a weakening of response. It is as if the oxygen has been sucked up by the financial meltdown for new action and ideas.

Our main efforts have been two fold:

  1. To connect with and support The Bishop's Sustainability Task Force just getting underway in the Diocese of Chicago. It is the focus of Lisa Lee, who is Bishop Jeffery Lee's spouse.
  2. To plan a program to be given, we hope, in March 2010 by The Legendary Gerould (Jerry) Wilhelm, Botanist/Ecologist , who lives in Illinois. Our hope is that his energy and the passion he communicates will re-energize our group and energize all of our parishioners and the entire community to the great need for the care of God's creation. Plans are underway to invite local garden clubs, and churches in the community and others. From this effort we look to expand and reorganize F&E. When plans are finalized we will forward our invitation


Diocese of Ohio

submitted by the Rev Nancy Roth

Nancy Roth's book Grounded in Love: Ecology, Faith, and Action, received a silver Nautilus Award in the religion category last spring. The Nautilus Book Awards are named for the molllusk whose pearl-lined shell contains chambers of increasing size which the sea creature constructs for itself as it grows. According to the Nautilus Award website, awards are given to books "that promote spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive social change. The nautilus symbolizes both ancient wisdom and expanding horizons, both the elegance of nature and a continual growth of understanding and awareness."




Province VI





Diocese of Minnesota

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

In 2009 MEESC was busy writing environmental reflections for Lectionary Year B and with hosting 3 retreats at the Mary Brown Environmental Center in Ely, MN. The retreats were:

  • Women, Water and the Winter
  • Native American Life and Spirit
  • Remembering Sigurd Olson

MEESC also prepared bulletin inserts, background materials for homilists, alternative liturgies, additional music, and information for religious education for use throughout the Diocese of Minnesota for a celebration of creation during the four Sundays of October (Propers 22-25).

At the Diocesan Convention, a resolution from MEESC to establish a Green Congregations Program in the Diocese of Minnesota as a way to recognize and encourage Episcopal congregations in their creation care efforts.


Diocese of Minnesota

Green Team at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church,
Bemidji, MN
submitted by Charlie Champlin, Chair

St. Bartholomew's in Bemidji established a Green Team in 2008 consisting of five members, later reduced to four. We initially conducted an in house audit of our church's use of energy and found that due to a recently installed heating and air conditioning system, upgrades to our insulation and policies regarding the use of plastics and other recyclables we were pretty energy conservative. The church will be installing a new roof in the near future which will add to our energy conservation. We have no energy saving projects in the works, but will be on the lookout to take advantage of one when it is appropriate.


Diocese of Minnesota

St. James' Episcopal Church, Hibbing, MN
submitted by Cheryl & Larry Killien

On October 3, the Outreach Group at St. James held its first environmental awareness event for the community at the church. This event encompassed several of the resolutions from General Convention. The booths included:

  • St. Louis County (MN) weatherization, heating assistance and other programs
  • Energy challenge on a bicycle (see photo below)
  • Northeast Minnesota CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Team) display and information on their programs and energy grants.
  • Slide show on the waste stream issues of using plastic bottles
  • Environmental meditation on stewardship of creation
  • Crocheting carry bags from old plastic grocery bags
  • Solar energy display in coordination with Hibbing Community College
  • Displays of various environmentally friendly automobiles
  • Workshops on Energy Conservation, Fuel Assistance, County Recycling, Solar Panels, Environment and the Church
  • Events for children, including environmental readings by the Hibbing Librarian

Additional photos are available online.

energy challenge on a bicycle
at the creation season event

Don Graves (Hibbing Community College) has just plugged in the hair dryer. Marty Hnatco tries to pedal fast enough to power a hairdryer held by Cheryl Killien.

Ted Troolin (St. Louis County Environmental Services) explains about what the county is doing for the environment.


Diocese of Minnesota

Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior, Faribault, MN
submitted by Patricia Benson,
Director of Christian Ed and Youth

The Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior has remodeled the kitchen and is working in collaboration with Faribault congregations to open the Cathedral Community Café. We will serve a weekly hot meal to our neighbors in need.

In the remodeling process we installed a 2nd dishwasher to avoid the use of paper products. Area youth are also looking for ways to serve, but are not able to participate directly with the meals.

Instead, the Cathedral Kids will host a community education program from Augsburg Fortress's Sparkhouse called "Renew: The Green Vacation Bible School" to engage area youth in development of an eco-spirituality while developing a garden bed on Cathedral grounds to produce foods for the Cafe. Stone left from building the Cloister will be used to construct the raised bed, and fruiting trees and shrubs will be added to the landscaping to supply fresh, healthy, and very local foods!


Diocese of Minnesota

Earthkeepers at the Cathedral of St. Mark,
Minneapolis, MN
submitted by Colleen Krebs and Judy Reinehr

Finally, in the spring of 2009, the long awaited, sizable bike rack/sculpture, designed at Earthkeepers' request by students at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, was installed on the Hennepin side of St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral just opposite the Walker Art Center and alongside a city bike path. The winning design among the three offered echoes the cathedral's Gothic towers, and the undulations and curves where bikes are placed add a graceful detail to that rather bare side of the church building. Two community groups contributed and one Earthkeepers member contributed, our fair trade coffee sales providing the rest. The Sunday dedication brought out all the church's riders, and for once the rack was full.


Diocese of Nebraska

Green Sprouts
submitted by the Rev Betsy Blake Bennett

Green Sprouts: Rooting Creation Care in the Diocese of Nebraska

This has been the first year for the Green Sprouts group in the Diocese of Nebraska. Our goal for 2009 was to root this ministry in the life of the diocese. Some of this year's highlights were:

  • Arranging for recycling of paper, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans at the diocesan Annual Council in November. This was very well-received.
  • Continuing to work in partnership with Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light.
  • Beginning conversations about creation care and environmental stewardship through the Green Sprouts blog .
  • Visiting parishes to preach and teach about environmental stewardship and our spiritual connection to creation.
  • Celebrating the spring migration of the Sandhill cranes during a special Sunday morning Eucharist at St. Stephen's, Grand Island in March. Central Nebraska communities observe the migration with a variety of activities, but we think St. Stephen's was the first church to plan a liturgical celebration of the spiritual dimensions of our relationship with these ancient birds. To increase its impact in 2010, we hope to move this celebration from the church to one of the observation areas along the Platte River.


Diocese of South Dakota

St Paul's Episcopal Church, Brookings, SD
submitted by Charles R. Berry Jr, Chair
Natural Cathedral Committee

We continued to follow the three-step process – education, reflection, and action - for parish activities in Creation care.

  • Education: newsletter articles on eco-justice (foreign aid reform), climate change ( information), ocean acidification (conversations with Presiding Bishop K. Shori), and consumerism (NCC Eco-Justice News). We joined EPA's Energy Star Congregation Network. Our Natural Cathedral Committee reviewed the book titled For the beauty of the earth: a Christian vision of creation care.
  • Reflection: special programs on Earth Day, Soil and Water Stewardship Week, and Rogation Day; hosted a Church Women United meeting – the program titled Piecing Earth Together focused on Creation care.
  • Action: recycling (shipped 60 lbs of dry cell batteries, collected fluorescent light bulbs) and used eco-palms from sustainable forestry for Palm Sunday services. A big effort was the rectory renovation for energy savings (new insulation, heating and cooling systems, sustainable lumber, energy star appliances, recycling packaging), and insulation of the church building doors. The Natural Cathedral Committee wrote a 36-page white paper on the environmental resolutions at the national convention and provided copies to Diocesan Delegates.




Province VII




Diocese of Kansas

Trinity Environmental Stewardship Team,
Trinity Episcopal Church, Lawrence, KS
submitted by Ellyn Owen

Trinity Environmental Stewardship Team completed its energy audit of Trinity Episcopal Church, Lawrence, Kansas, and has been implementing many of the actions identified. We also retrofitted an old cabinet to be used as a collection center for parish members to bring small batteries, burned out CFL's, discarded eyeglasses and cell phones. As our part in the Project, we collected canned goods for Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry; and provided an opportunity for parishioners to send a postcard to President Obama urging him to attend the climate talks in Copenhagen. We have written many articles for our church's newsletter and e-news outreach. We attended The Land Institute's annual Prairie Festival. We donated funds to help our newly appointed Diocesan Deacon for the Environment to attend a workshop on science and religion. For our Diocesan Convention, we put into delegates' packets flyers describing the work of the Kansas Interfaith Power and Light (KSIPL) (including energy audit information) and the Project. Two of our members sit on the KSIPL steering Committee, and on our Diocesan Outreach and Mission Committee. Our Second "Beginning a Green Team" workshop will be in April 2010.




Province VIII






Diocese of Arizona

Nature and Spirituality Program
submitted by Phyllis Strupp

The Diocese of AZ held its annual convention in October centered on the theme of "Stewardship of God's Creation." Attendance was even higher than anticipated similar to last year's record despite the weak economy. Bishop Kirk Smith led off with some comments on the importance of honoring Creation at church and home to show gratitude and respect for God's handiwork. Some of the best-attended workshops included "Greening Worship," "Healing Gardens," and "Our Animal Neighbors." Three members of our clergy here in AZ (Rev. Terri Pilarski, Rev. Dorian Mulvey, and Rev. Ralph Taylor) offered the "Greening Worship" workshop.

They did an amazing job, and it was gratifying to see a packed room with over 40 members of the clergy present! They used music with it at certain points also.

Note: The "Greening Worship" workshop presentation will be available on the EpEN Liturgy Page in December.


Diocese of Arizona

St. David's Episcopal Church, Page, AZ
submitted by the Rev Steve Keplinger

We have celebrated a Season of Creation at St. David's in Page, AZ. for the last six years, utilizing the same calendar as approved at General Convention this year. We wanted to offer our liturgy that we used yesterday to begin the season. This service has been approved for use in the Diocese of Utah and the Eucharistic Prayer has also been used in several other churches throughout the country.

Note: This Liturgy will be available on the EpEN Liturgy Page in December.


Diocese of California

Energy Oscars at Grace Cathedral, San Franciso, CA
submitted by the Rev Canon Sally Bingham

Members of a dozen California religious groups congregated at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral for a friendly competition. Held to highlight congregations' efforts in green building, education, energy efficiency and advocacy, it also served to showcase several leaders who are making inroads in the political arena.

Now in its third year, the contest – known as the "Energy Oscars" – drew almost 200 applicants, up from about 60 last year. The finalists this year represented several major faiths, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Unitarian Universalism.

Camp Stevens, an Episcopal camp and retreat center north of San Diego, won in the education category for its sustainable farming and gardening classes, while Congregation Emanu-el in San Francisco won an energy efficiency award for retrofitting its synagogue lighting to save up to 10 tons of emissions and $4,000 per year.


Diocese of California

submitted by the Rev Canon Sally Bingham

The Rev Sally Bingham published a book earlier this year, "Love God, Heal Earth," that is a collection of essays by Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Jewish leaders on protecting the Earth by acknowledging the interconnectedness of all life.


Diocese of California

Commission for the Environment
submitted by Barbara Bisel

Our Commission for the Environment continued ongoing support of our lay-liaisons at 70 of our churches via monthly enews, providing Sunday bulletin tips, parish news articles, and event announcements. In June we participated with California Interfaith Power and Light in Lobby Day in our state capitol, visiting over 30 legislator's offices. In September we held our annual Environmental Stewardship Conference for anyone involved in this ministry, with a theme of Toxins and Human Health, with keynote speaker from Environmental Working Group in Wash., D.C. We were pleased to welcome our new Environmental Missioner to the Commission, Josh Griffin, who is in the final stages of seminary; he has launched an exciting project developing community gardens throughout the diocese. Numerous parishes report activities around improving recycling, energy efficiency, and Earth Day activities such as growing tomato plants in parishioner homes for donation to a community food program. Finally, several parishes are actively working on plans to install solar on their campuses.

Diocese of Los Angeles

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Ojai, CA.
submitted by Walter McClelland

Community Supported Biointensive Garden

Early last summer, a small, international group of "Earth Stewards" established a vegetable garden on an unused strip of the church property with the goal of providing fresh produce to the needy in the community. Several church members, including Carol Vesecky, Deb Cornils, Franna and Mac McClelland, Linda Long, Pat Teran and Sallie Reynolds, got the project underway.

Rocks were removed, frames were built beds were properly double-dug by the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method, raked smooth, and planted. Fertilizer, lumber, hoses, tools, tomato seedlings etc. were provided by volunteers and and the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. Group members continue the watering, weeding, and re-planting on a rota.We learned that a garden takes a lot of work, knowledge, and dedicated supporters to be successful.

We are still trying to attract people who need the food to come and help grow it. Until we find them, we take our weekly produce to our local Community Assistance Program where it is given to those who need it - after we have offered it at the Altar.

Garden scene
garden produce for blessing at the Altar

Basil, peppers, and amaranth from summer accompanied by winter compost crops fava beans, vetch, wheat, and rye guarded by Little Miss Scarecrow.

Our garden produce for blessing at the Altar.


Diocese of San Diego

Simpler Living, St. Paul's Cathedral, San Diego, CA
submitted by Phil Petrie, convener

In the essential work of creation care, this has been a busy year for St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego, CA. Scott Richardson, our Dean has made sustainable living one of three primary foci of the cathedral's Peace and Justice Ministry. We now clean with non-toxic, biodegradable, locally manufactured products and most of our lighting has been switched to compact fluorescents. We've replaced single use serving ware with reusable cups, glasses, dishes, and silverware. Just a month ago, we replanted our Olive St. garden with drought-resistant, native plants. Our newest ministry Simpler Living is dedicated to addressing both environmental degradation and hyper-consumerism by advocating a simpler, greener, and more profoundly Christian lifestyle. So far, most of its efforts have been educational, including three Sunday morning forums, a monthly column in the cathedral bulletin, and an e-newsletter which goes out to a growing list serve. Simpler Living hosts a table at our coffee hours where parishioners may buy our fair-trade, St. Paul's eco-bags and exchange extra garden produce. There is much more that needs to be done to restore our relationship with God and Creation. With God's help, we plan on doing our part!

Our webpage is at and we welcome your input and comments. Our e-mail is


Diocese of Spokane

Committee on Environmental Sustainability
submitted by Evita M. Krislock, Chair

There is much to be thankful for as we approach the church's new year. Throughout the Diocese of Spokane and beyond there is new energy and passion regarding Caring for God's Creation. At our diocesan convention, people attended workshops pertaining to water issues. We practiced telling our story, learned more about the impact of erosion and farmlands and were given tools to take back to our congregations regarding sustainability and the use of our resources.

Recognizing that we bring different gifts to the table is an important component in bringing together ideas and nurturing respect throughout the process, respect for ourselves, respect for each other and respect for creation. We continue to support the Faith and Environment Network as it addresses Creation Care with faith communities around the Inland Northwest, again working together and with other environmental agencies, to make a difference. The Faith and Environment Network is receiving a service award from the Washington Association of Churches for their efforts working with the faith communities to live into Caring for Creation. The Diocesan Environmental Sustainability Committee has set the goal that all congregations will have completed an energy audit by the end of 2010. We will work with congregations to establish this baseline.


Diocese of Utah

St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Provo, UT
submitted by the Rev. Jessica A. Hatch

We have retrofitted our most commonly used spaces with compact fluorescent lights, including the nave and chancel; we have replaced some of our leaky windows; we have added tinting to our western windows. We are in the process of arranging for an energy audit through our diocesan affiliation with Interfaith Power & Light. This will be an ongoing project in our 102-year old church and almost 50-year old parish hall and classrooms.




Special Notes





Articles about Active Congregations

This past year Phina Borgeson wrote several environment-related articles for Episcopal Life/Episcopal Life Online. This is a list of what we are aware of:

Phina is always looking for information about what congregations, dioceses, and groups are doing.


Activity beyond Dioceses and groups

At the end of August, the Rev Fletcher Harper (GreenFaith, Diocese of Newark, and EpEN Working Group), the Rev Betsy Blake Bennett (Diocese of Nebraska), and Chuck Morello (Diocese of Minnesota and EpEN Working Group) attended an invitation only Regional Energy Leadership Briefing at the White House with the Secretary of Agriculture (Tom Vilsack) and the Secretary of Commerce (Gary Locke).

The briefings were an opportunity for stakeholders from a variety of Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states to hear from, share ideas with, and ask questions of Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Locke, and administration leaders in various areas of environmental concern. For the assembled group, the focus was on the impact of possible ideas on the infrastructure of rural communities.

Topics covered included a comprehensive plan on a clean energy economy, creation of clean energy jobs, emerging entrepreneurs and products in rural communities, credit programs for small businesses, water availability, the US position at the upcoming Copenhagen conference on the environment, working with farmers and related businesses, including logging.

Attendees came from the religious, advocacy, legislative, and business sectors. Harper, Bennett, and Morello were the only identified Episcopalians at the session.




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 – this issue focused on what individuals, groups, congregations, and dioceses have done in the past year. 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.

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 the end of December to add additional information.

Back issues of the e-newsletter are available online through










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 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 February 2010 (deadline for submissions to be around February 19, 2010). This issue will focus on environmental activities planned for 2010. As space permits, information about activities at congregations and in dioceses will also be provided. 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) and indicate that the information is for sharing.

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

Chuck Morello
EpEN Webminister


last update: 2010-03-11


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