Update from the Director of the Web of Creation (April, 2011)
David Rhoads (
The team of the Web of Creation has been working hard this year: Katy Harder, Nathan Sutton, Sumie Song, and myself. As you will see below, much of the work has involved developing new websites to give greater prominence to the work we do. We have been spinning off programs and web pages to new sites. In addition, we have continued to maintain and strengthen the basic work of the Green Congregation Program.
New edition of the Training Manual for the Green Congregation Program (2011).
We are pleased to announce a new edition of the Training Manual of the Green Congregation Program (2011). The basic program of the Green Congregation Program remains the same. Yet we have offered a new preface, revisions in the introductory materials, fresh suggestions added to the action program in five areas, examples of personal and congregational checklists, and two brand new sections especially designed for those congregations that have been at it for awhile: “Reviving Your Efforts” and “Taking it to the Next Level.” In addition, we removed the theological sections and put them in a separate manual: Theological Foundations for Greening Your Congregation. The reflections cover worship, education, building and grounds, lifestyle at home and work, and public witness. This material can be used for educational purposes. Finally, we continue to have available the Environmental Guide for Congregations, Their Buildings and Grounds. For all these resources, look under the section titled “Manuals” in the Green Congregation Program on this site.
Lutherans Restoring Creation:
One of the most exciting developments has been the transformation of Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (which we have hosted for a number of years on the Web of Creation) into a new grass roots movement called Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) with its own website. Through a grant from the Lutheran Community Foundation (www.thelcf.org) , we spun off the LENS pages to become the LRC website, www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org. The LRC movement is led by a steering committee and involves the training of synodical leaders who in turn will train congregations within their judicatory. The website has sections for Lutheran congregations, clergy, seminaries, colleges, outdoor ministry sites, public policy offices, and social ministry organizations. To see the efforts being made, check out the LRC website.
Green Seminary Initiative:
For a number of years we have been hosting the Green Seminary Initiative on our site. During that time, Laurel Kearns of Drew University, Beth Norcross of Wesley Seminary, and I have developed contacts with diverse seminaries, invited reports, collected syllabi, and offered resources for greening theological education—all catalogued on our site. This last year, our group received a grant that enabled us to develop a separate website and offer new services. This is a beautiful and user-friendly website that will encourage seminary faculty, staff, and students to participate in this movement. Beth and Laurel have taken the lead in these efforts. Please consult the new website to see the exciting things that are happening: www.greenseminaries.org.
Racine Green Congregations:
For ten years we have been cultivating an ecumenical/ interfaith experiment with a group of congregations in Racine, Wisconsin. Representatives of different congregations meet three times a year, learn about ecological work in our community, and inspire each other with reports of what each congregation is doing. We have now established a website for the group. Our hope is that the website will give a boost to the Racine Green Congregations and also provide a model for other communities to develop such programs. To learn about this initiative, go to the new site at www.racinegreencongregations.org.
Let All Creation Praise:
There has been a lot of interest by congregations in the four-week Season of Creation for each of the three years of the Common Lectionary. Norman Habel, David Rhoads, and Paul Santmire are editing a commentary on the lessons for the twelve Sundays of The Season of Creation: A Preacher’s Commentary to be published by Fortress Press (2011). We will continue to provide resources and promote the observance of this option in the church year. At the same time, we want to promote “green” worship throughout the year. Therefore, we have developed a website that provides resources for creation-care worship in the entire church year. This would include liturgies, prayers, litanies, and theologies of liturgy for any worship service. In addition to providing resources for the Season of Creation, we will also give information on the creation-time worship in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican churches, the Uniting Churches of Australia, the United Church of Canada, the movement in Europe, and the Churches in South Africa. This is an exciting time for bringing creation-care into the worship life of congregations. The site is available at www.letallcreationpraise.org. We are eager to celebrate it. Katy Harder is spearheading this initiative. Contact her at
Bible and Ecology:
The Web of Creation has garnered a lot of attention on our page that offers Bible verses relevant to the environment. Many people log onto the site and consult the verses. This got us thinking about the interest in Bible and Ecology generally. We already host the Earth Bible pages on our site. So we decided to develop a new site dedicated to providing resources related to Bible and Ecology for general readers, for educational purposes with children, youth, and adults, for devotional use, as sources for clergy education and preaching, and for academic study, including the Earth Bible resources that are already on our site. The site will include articles, references to materials in print, and internet links. The site is available at www.bibleandecology.org. This project is being carried out by Sumie Song. Contact her at
Maintenance/ New Suggestions:
We continue to maintain our site, seeking to make sure that the links and resources are in place for easy use. We have been slow in getting up new suggestions. However, this current update features many new suggestions for congregations and individuals. Please check them out. One other resource we are developing is a series of “packets” (available online for downloading) that can be used by congregations to focus on some aspect of creation care as a monthly emphasis: energy, transportation, food, cleaning products and so on. Each packet will contain relevant information about the ecological issue, the social justice issues involved, biblical and theological resources, ideas to promote the monthly emphasis and engage the congregation, as well as practical challenges for action by the congregation and members. Nathan Sutton is working to develop these monthly emphasis packets. Contact him at
We are always open to suggestions and contributions to the website. Please contact me to assist in the ongoing development of this site.