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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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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
e-mail the EpEN Chair
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EpEN Quarterly Electronic Newsletter

1st Quarter 2010: Planned Activities for 2010

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, groups, and individuals in the Episcopal Church plan to do in 2010 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.

We received 17 responses covering 13 dioceses in 6 Provinces as well as some overarching areas . The responses are arranged by Province and alphabetically by diocese within a Province.

The lead article was prepared by Michael Schut (Economic and Environmental Justice Officer) with some thoughts on what is happening from his perspective.




Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer, Episcopal Church, USA
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So … Just What Is Going On?

A little over a year into my position as Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer, I would like to share some of what is going on in the church, and a bit about the kinds of things I do. When I took this position, I remember thinking that I wanted the work to support local, grassroots efforts. So, though my work is defined and directed by Executive Council/Presiding Bishop and the Acts of General Convention, I always have people caring and working in their own context on my mind.

A Healing Ministry

Author and educator David Orr writes that our alienation from the rest of the natural world is "unprecedented." At the same time, ecologist EO Wilson believes we are all hard-wired to love life – what he calls "biophilia." Healing that alienation and re-connecting to our love of life will play a significant role in our efforts and desire to create a more compassionate and sustainable world.

Healing certainly needs to occur in the perceived separation between economics and ecology – both of which share the same Greek root of oikos, meaning "household." We do not see our economy as a "wholly owned subsidiary of creation," so negative externalities continue to impact those whose voices are seldom heard: from the inner-city child suffering from asthma, to the extinct species silenced forever, to those displaced by rising sea levels.

So, sometimes I see our shared work, at its most fundamental, as a healing ministry.

Carbon Footprint of The Episcopal Church

In February 2008, Executive Council passed a resolution (2008 - NAC 028) to (1) Measure the church's carbon footprint (of national and regional offices; of all staff and committee/commission/board travel), and (2) Estimate costs to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. I am coordinating this work with Cascadia Consulting. The initial results will be available by mid-March.

The Genesis Covenant

The 2009 General Convention passed Resolution C070: Memorializing the Genesis Covenant which makes a public commitment that the church (parishes/dioceses) will "reduce greenhouse gas emissions from every facility it maintains by a minimum of 50% within ten years." Some dioceses and parishes have committed to this covenant, including the Diocese of Olympia. Creating a "Getting Started" tool to facilitate the resolution's implementation is a priority for 2010.

Communication Tools

Some progress has occurred on the new Episcopal Church website. Please see Further development of this site and resources is also a priority, as is developing some more interactive communication tools such as a Facebook page.

This position involves a good deal of speaking and writing. In talking with some of you there is agreement that developing a Speakers Network would facilitate this work, draw on people's skills and knowledge, and help build relationships and collaboration.

A Few Other Cool Things

Our Presiding Bishop was asked to serve on a Faith-Based White House Task Force on the Environment and Climate Change. I have been representing her. The Task Force's recommendations are completed and will be formally presented to the Administration in the near future.

Trinity Institute's recent conference was titled "Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace." I facilitated a live webcast follow-up conversation for those interested in the spirituality and action behind building an ethical economy. Find that broadcast at

So, do let me know if you have any questions about the above, or anything else connected to our joint ministry. Thank you for your interest and partnership. God's peace, Mike




Province II























Diocese of Newark

submitted by the Rev Skip Vilas

The Environmental Fellowship Program of GreenFaith, the only training program for lay and clergy in environmental leadership involving diverse religous faiths, is open for registration until May 3rd. Inquiries should be directed to Rabbi Larry Troster.


Diocese of New Jersey

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

A lenten liturgy prayer resource and a Carbon Fast piece from the UK Tearfund are available for use at most any time, even beyond Lent. They will be posed on the Diocese of New Jersey website soon. Steve Holton from the Environmental Committee of the Diocese of New York made them available to the Environmental Commission of the Diocese of New Jersey.


Diocese of New Jersey

Diocese of New Jersey Environmental Commission
submitted by the Rev Skip Vilas

The environmental commission of the Diocese of New Jersey has completed energy audits in two more parishes, and is preparing for three in missions of the Diocese, thanks to the generosity of GreenFaith.


Diocese of New York

submitted by the Rev Skip Vilas

Under the leadership of Dr. Danny Martin of International Communities for the Earth (ICRE), the town of Bedford, NY has initiated an ecological project that seeks to drastically cut the town's carbon footprint by 2020. Initiated by the religious community, the plan involves all aspects of city governance and program. A full decription of the program may be obtained from Dr. Martin.

Through the initiative of the Rev. Skip Vilas, a new consortium has been formed of interfaith environmental organizations seeking to promote the vision of an ecological civilization. In collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program, ICEC will seek to bring thisvision to conferences in New York, China, India and Africa. Participating or interested groups thus far include UNEP, ICRE, the Temple of Understanding, the Center for Ecozoic Studies, GreenFaith, Interfaith Power and Light, the United Relions Initiative and the Forum on Religion and Ecology.




Province IV






















Diocese of Florida

Creation Keepers of Christ Episcopal Church,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
submitted by Kathryn Cramer, committee member

The Creation Keepers of Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, have undertaken two Lenten initiatives to encourage faithful stewardship of the environment: a five-session course on "Living Green at Home," meeting Wednesday evenings in Lent, and a rain barrel sale.

The two projects extend the Creation Keepers' message from last year's successful Earth Day fair into a season-long effort to help people take the first small steps in their own lives to practice intentional stewardship of God's gift to us, the world around us.

The course begins with the video "Kilowatt Ours" and an overview discussion led by the Rev. Kammy Young, associate rector, and includes sessions by a parishioner on chemical-free household cleaning – with attendees making their own all-purpose spray to take home – by a utility company representative on conserving electricity, by a county extension agent on home vegetable gardening and by a nature reserve staffer on friendly backyard "critters" – with live examples.

rainbarrels for the community

The rain barrels are being sold to all in the community, at prices lower than comparable retailers. The food-grade plastic barrels, converted rather than dumped into landfills, may be used at homes or businesses, to help conserve water and reduce outdoor watering costs. The barrels will be delivered to the church on Sunday, April 18, as part of Creation Keepers' Earth Day celebration. Proceeds of the sale will support ongoing Creation Keepers projects, including starting a Community Garden and reducing utility costs on the church campus.



Diocese of North Carolina

Environmental Ministry Committee of North Carolina
submitted by Tom Droppers, Chair

All our churches are invited, indeed urged, for the next five years to

CELEBRATE: Hold an annual Creation Celebration Cycle -- four or more Sundays worshiping God for and through the Creation.

All our churches and facilities are called to REDUCE: Lower their energy usage by 10% by 2014 in every possible way (transportation, food, space), acting as stewards of the Creation to lower global warming.

We will PARTICIPATE: Each congregation is urged to speak out publicly about environmental matters, being mindful of the small or large steps that need to be taken to care for all things seen and unseen, living and non-living, who are our neighbors.


Diocese of North Carolina

Environmental Stewardship Committee,
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, High Point, NC
submitted by Dorothy Darr, Convener

St. Mary's Episcopal Church Environmental Stewardship Committee
is sponsoring a series of Education Courses for Winter and Spring:

January 10-
February 28:
A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding
Covering the Theology of Creation, Creation and Science, and Caring for Creation, this 8-week adult Christian education course was prepared for study in congregations by the Committee on Science, Technology and Faith of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
Facilitators: Kitty Montgomery and Dorothy Darr. Sundays, 10 a.m., Parish Hall.
March 7 - 28:

Awakening the Spirit Through Nature
And God Saw That It Was Good: A four-week Christian education course accompanied by excerpts from the Ken Burns' 2009 PBS film The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

  • Session 1: The Creator and Creation.
  • Session 2: God in Nature.
  • Session 3: Made in the Image of God.
  • Session 4: A Covenant With Every Living Thing.

Facilitator: Mary Wolff. Sundays, 10 a.m. Parish Hall.

[Note: This course was developed by EarthMinistry in cooperation with PBS.]

April 18 - May 16:

Holy Ground, A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation
A five-week adult Christian education course based on a current collection of interfaith essays and sermons by leaders in the world's faith traditions who share personal stories of coming to understand humankind's unique power and responsibility to care for creation, as they articulate the moral and spiritual imperative of stewardship. Facilitators: Revon Johnson and Frankie Gurganus. Sundays, 10 a.m., Parish Hall.

[Note: Source book is Hold Ground, A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation, Lyndsay Moseley, editor.]




Province V



Diocese of Chicago

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

The main current effort of our Faith and the Environment group at Church of the Holy Spirit taking place on March 7, 2010 in Lake Forest, IL. The program will be given by Gerould Wilhelm, nationally known botanist and ecologist, who lives in Illinois. He is a dynamic speaker on the condition of our ecology as we find it. We are trying to involve as much of our religious and secular community as we can that is within the Diocese of Chicago and beyond. Our goal is to energize our group, our congregation, and our community going forward.


Diocese of Chicago

Church of Our Saviour
submitted by Pam Rumancik

Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church is holding up the ways that we can make visible our love of God through the respect and care we show for God's gift of creation. We are promoting environmental activism as a practical way to worship and praise God in the world. Our gratitude and appreciation become real when we cherish our planet with the tenderness and compassion it deserves.

Through use of liturgical elements such as Lenten practices focused on reconnecting and reclaiming a healthy relationship with our environment we hope to raise consciousness of the ways each of us can combine spirituality with everyday practical environmentalism.

In celebration of Earth Day a speaker from Faith in Place has been invited to share strategies that churches can use to manage their resources in more environmentally friendly ways. Throughout the year we will be hosting a series of Green coffee hour gatherings to model making mindful choices around reusable cups and tableware and to raise awareness of Fair Trade opportunities and sustainable practices - with the intention of eventually changing ingrained unhealthy habits in our parish community.

Church of Our Saviour believes that faithful living demands we bring an awareness of God's presence into all areas of our lives. An important aspect of this faith involves reducing our environmental footprint and living gently in the world.


Diocese of Southern Ohio

All Saints Episcopal Church, New Albany, OH
submitted by Mary Henton

All Saints Episcopal Church (New Albany, OH) will be starting its second season of growing veggies for a local food pantry this spring. "God's Garden" is a set of 6 4'x4' beds built from "found lumber" and other recycled materials, and planted according to square-foot-gardening techniques.

The garden has been an opportunity for individual parishioners, families, and youth group members to get their hands dirty, learn some basics about vegetable gardening, and provide fresh produce for people in need. A study and prayer group has emerged out of this work. This group meets to pray, fellowship, and learn about global hunger issues and our responsibility to serve God by caring for other people and the earth.

Our plans for this year's growing season are to

  • continue our prayer and study group, with a focus on eco-justice and creation care
  • grow and distribute more food
  • install rain barrels for irrigation needs
  • establish a culture of composting at the church
  • seek additional opportunities for parishioners to learn and grow as ministers of Christ's love and stewards of this good earth

God's Garden




Province VI





Diocese of Minnesota

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

In 2010 MEESC will host 3 retreats at the Mary Brown Environmental Center in Ely, MN. The retreats are:

  • Native American Life and Spirit
  • Monks, Monastaries, and Mission in Community
  • Remembering Sigurd Olson

Additonally, two weeks are reserved for youth camps interested in environmental matters.

MEESC has begun working with 4 congregations in the initial work for its Green Congregations Program. The program has several levels of recognition for work done by congregations to become greener. Details of the program are available online.

On March 20, MEESC will host Mike Schut at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour, Faribault, MN. Mike will speak on Food, Faith and Ecology: A Christian Call to Justice and Sustainability.

MEESC will be preparing 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 (October 3-24: Propers 22-25).

MEESC will also participate in an Earth Day event (Iron Range Earth Fest) on the weekend before Earth Day (April 17). At the Earth Fest MEESC will present liturgical and reference materials as well as the Green Congregation Program and participate in a workshop on religion and the environment. MEESC will be one of six religious groups with a booth at this event.


Diocese of Minnesota

St. James' Episcopal Church, Hibbing, MN
submitted by Chuck Morello

St. James Episcopal Church has begun preparations for an Energy and Environment Fair to be held September 25. This year's fair will be a joint effort with a local Lutheran congregation. Participants should include:

  • Weatherization, heating assistance and other programs
  • Energy challenge on a bicycle
  • Northeast Minnesota CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Team) display and information on their programs and energy grants.
  • Crocheting carry bags from old plastic grocery bags
  • Solar energy display in coordination with Hibbing Community College
  • Workshops on Energy Conservation, Fuel Assistance, County Recycling, Solar Panels, Environment and the Church
  • Energy-saving tips from using local plantings around buildings

St. James has also begun work for recognition in the Green Congregations Program of MEESC.


Diocese of Nebraska

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Grand Island, NE
submitted by the Rev Betsy Blake Bennett

Saint Stephen's Churchhas several environmentally-related things going on in March.

On March 7 we will have our second annual Crane Sunday, a celebration of the sandhill crane migration. The cranes arrive in the Platte River valley by the beginning of March and stay around six weeks. By offering a liturgical celebration of the migration, we help people to identify the wonder and awe people experience in watching the cranes rise from the river at sunrise or dance in the fields during the day as a sacred experience. The church is decorated with origami cranes and a special crane banner, our opening acclamation is adapted from John Neihardt's poem Easter, and our hymns and sermon address both our Lenten journey and the journey of the cranes. Parishioners bring their paintings, photographs, and statues of cranes to exhibit during coffee hour.

For adult education in March, Saint Stephen's will be using the DVD series "And God Saw That It Was Good". This DVD and its accompanying curriculum, developed by Earth Ministries and WETA, are based on the PBS series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea".

We end March using sustainably harvested eco-palms for our Palm Sunday procession!


Diocese of South Dakota

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

The Natural Cathedral Committee works in two Creation Care areas:
1) everyday conservation activities, and
2) theology (what does the church offer besides a list of 10, 20, or 100 green things to do?).

  • Energy: We enrolled the congregation in EPA's Energy Star Program. We agreed to use energy efficient remodeling, measure energy use, plan for energy improvements, and help spread the energy word.
  • Palm Sunday: We ordered ecopalms. This program sanctioned by the University of Minnesota Forestry faculty works with communities in Guatemala and Mexico on sustainable forestry and ecojustice for the workers. Our youth group viewed a presentation about the program (21 scenes downloadable from site).
  • Earth Day: St Paul's is encouraging the city's Ministerial Association to promote recognition of Earth Day Sunday (April 25) in community churches. We supplied the Association with Creation Care resources for ministers.
  • Recycling: We sent 30 pounds of dry cell batteries to Battery Solutions. This program is easy to use but does incur costs (about $50), which the congregation sees as an "environmental tithe."
  • Evolution Sunday: Our newsletter published news about science and religion – "all truths are God's truths." An article in Sojourners Magazine was about Francis Collins, leader of the human genome project, who said that he was "interpreting the language of God."
  • Soil and Water Stewardship Week: We ordered free packets of conservation materials from the National Association of Conservation Districts, which provides churches with sermon starters, hymns and scriptures to encourage good stewardship of our nation's natural resources.




Province VII

West Missouri




Diocese of Kansas

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

Trinity Environmental Stewardship Team held a very successful plum pudding sale for this Christmas. This is our only annual fund raiser and is under the direction of one of our members, a talented cook. We also held an Alternative Christmas Market that gave folks an opportunity to give to environmentally conscious organizations in honor of a loved one. From our profits we gave small donations to environmental organizations in our area, nationally, and internationally. We also gave a donation toward the purchase of a new freezer for our Interfaith Food Pantry. For Valentine's Day, we gave a presentation to our adult Sunday school on the topic "Let's Love Our Mother-Earth!" We expanded this lesson and are presenting it as weekly segments in our parish's e-newsletter during Lent. Our Team has also been able to help develop a reusable Lenten service booklet which is expected to reduce the amount of paper used for Sunday services. We plan to expand this project to additional seasons of the church year. We are anticipating our second "Building a Green Team" workshop April 10, for attendees from other parishes in our Diocese (Eastern part of Kansas). We would appreciate your prayers for our endeavor.


Diocese of West Missouri

Grace Episcopal Church, Liberty, MO
submitted by Linda Hezel

In 2006 the congregation installed a native plant landscape with wild edible plants and flowers as well as plants referenced in the bible but appropriate for this zone using the Book of Common Prayer as a guide:


We recognize that dominion over things on the earth only makes us fellow workers with the rest of creation. This requires a wisdom and reverence for the resources of nature so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them and that generations yet to come may also experience the earth's bounty (adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, Prayer 41).

Therefore the objectives of the plan are that it:

  1. Be aesthetically pleasing,
  2. Require minimal maintenance,
  3. Use non-cultivar plants native to this eco-region to the greatest extent possible,
  4. Include some food sources for humans,
  5. Provide habitat and food for other species (wildlife),
  6. Be financially feasible,
  7. Thrive with only organic or integrated pest management practices.

It is flourishing. The honey bees are daily visitors to many plants in bloom. Edibles that the congregation now has access to from the landscape include: onion, fig, elderberry, arugula, rose hips, and mint.


Diocese of West Texas

Ecological Stewardship Committee
submitted by Hall Hammond

Getting parishes to hold Earth Sundays continues to be the primary focus of the Ecological Stewardship Committee of the Diocese of West Texas. During the recently completed Diocesan Council meeting in Corpus Christi, our booth signed up 34 individuals with an interest in Earth Sundays, including four clergy. We gave them a sheet with suggestions, but the key to action will be an immediate phone call follow up with an request to set up a meeting with the rector and other interested people with one or more of our committee. We have been working on this strategy for a year with modest results and we think we can be more effective with a year's experience.




Province VIII





Diocese of San Diego

Simpler Living Ministry,
St. Paul's Cathedral, San Diego, CA
submitted by Grace van Thillo,
Simpler Living, Co-convener

On January 9, the Simpler Living Ministry at St. Paul's Cathedral, San Diego together with Cathedral Arts presented Food, Inc. Vivid images and interviews exposed the hazardous effects of America's industrialized food system upon God's creation – to our health, the economy and workers' rights. Our monthly e-newsletter informs over sixty people of resources and local eco-justice events; a monthly Simpler Living Tip in the Sunday bulletin recently suggested the intentional use of time; and after Sunday services, in-season produce and resources are shared.

In April, Phil Petrie, artist and Simpler Living co-convener, presents a forum: Images of Hope, using Western art to reveal themes of repentance, forgiveness, simplicity, nature, humanity, and resurrection. The artworks also express how the eco-justice crisis can be an opportunity to restore our relationship with creation and with God. We also hope to participate in this year's San Diego Earth Fair resource expo and festivities at Balboa Park.

Under the leadership of California's Interfaith Power and Light, St. Paul's is working with several San Diego faith communities to plan a May 15th retreat and workshop at Camp Stevens in Julian. Sessions will address various faith approaches to creation care, advocacy on environmental issues, and planning for an eco-fair. We are also working on a project for families and educators of study, resources and practices of simpler, compassionate living with children.




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 plan to do in the coming 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 April to add additional information.

Back issues of the e-newsletter are available online through
The most recent issue may always be found at










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 May 2010 (deadline for submissions to be around May 20, 2010). 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: 2010-03-03


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