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Resources for Congregations

There are many resources for congregations to learn more about the theology, science, and practical reasons that call us to care for God’s creation and the list keeps growing. These resources can be used for adult education, group study, or congregational action.

Tools to Care for Creation    Blessed Tomorrow, an Interfaith Power & Light partner, has a set of tools for making a positive plan to reduce the environmental impact of your place of worship.

Form a Creation Care Committee    Blessed Tomorrow, an Interfaith Power & Light partner, provides resources and tips on starting a successful creation care leadership team team in your faith community.

Getting Started    Green Faith Interfaith Partners for the Environment provides tips and guidelines for addressing environmental issues in your house of worship.

Energy Star for Congregations    The Energy Star program provides tools for improving the energy and water performance of your congregation.

Cool Congregations    Interfaith Power & Light’s Cool Congregation’s program helps faith communities reduce their carbon footprint.

101 Ways to Help Save the Earth with Fifty-two Weeks of Congregational Activities to Save the Earth
Produced by the Eco-Justice Working Group of the NCCC, care of the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) General Board of Church and Society. This guide examines the many ways that our current lifestyle contributes to the global environmental crisis. The first part of this guide explains the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, and acid rain. The Citizen’s Guide then lists 101 simple steps which each of us can take to help avert these potential disasters.

At the Table
Focuses on food systems and the impact of food choices

By the Waters
Focuses on water quality and use

Care of the Earth: An Environmental Resource Manual for Church Leader
Author: Tina B. Krause, editor. A collection of essays arranged by topic. Part I: And God saw that it was good: Exploring Green Theology. Part II: What then shall we do? Developing Awareness, Assessment and Advocacy for Environmental Action through the Congregation

Cherish the Gift: A Congregational Guide to Earth Stewardship
Author: Causey, Cindy Ubben. Pastors and lay leaders will find practical ideas and timely information in this hands-on guide to environmental stewardship for the church. A sound biblical argument calls congregations to action, followed by facts and figures that detail the current environmental woes that plague the earth. subsequent chapters focus on specific activities and programs that congregational departments can organize – from fellowship dinners, worship services, and youth groups, to the church office, educational programs, and property maintenance.

Earthkeeping Ministries: A New Vision for Congregations
Author: Greenstone, Suse.

EarthScore: Your Personal Environmental Audit & Guide
Author: Lotter, Donald W. While intended for personal and household use, this resource can also serve as a helpful guide for congregations that want to quantitatively evaluate their ecological “footprint” and take steps towards greater sustainability and social equity.

Eco-Church: An Action Manual
Author: Fritsch, Albert and Angela Ladavaia-Cox. This resource contains helpful audits, suggestions, and resources for individuals and congregations.

Environmental Ethics in Action
Dr. Robert Stivers, professor of Ethics at Pacific Lutheran University addresses the question of how religious people are to minister to the earth. The process of discerning how to do this begins in personal faith and its empowering spirituality. Enabled to act with integrity, Christians seek guidelines in the traditions of the Church and their own experience of the Holy Spirit.

Environmental Stewardship Resource Manual
Author: Environmental Stewardship Committee. This manual can be used by lay Christians, priests, youth groups, deacons, bishops — in short, by anybody–as an introduction to Christian environmental stewardship and as a source of materials for a wide range of activities. The manual’s contents can be used for reflection, worship preparation, Christian education, and as a source of ideas for actions that you can take in your home, workplace, church, and community.

Green Guidance: How to Plan Environmentally Responsible Events
Author: Sparr, Pamela. A well packaged guide for environmentally responsible meetings and events. Rich with a variety of resources that may be used in many areas of church life.

Greening Congregations Handbook: Stories, Ideas, and Resources for Cultivating Creation Awareness and Care in Your Congregation
The 225-page Greening Congregations Handbook is a “tool box” for all who want to foster creation awareness and care in their congregations. It helps readers actively respond to the question, “Why should people of faith care for creation?”

Growing a Green Church
Author: Building Church Leaders. Do you want to make sure your church is environmentally responsible? Could a drop in the utility bills give the budget a much-needed lift? Evaluate how well you’re stewarding resources and get helpful tips.

Guide to Resource Efficient Church Buildings
Author: Mumma, Tracy. This guide deals with the responsible use of God’s gifts in constructing churches. It considers “embodied energy” (energy spent in production and transportation of materials), recycling, and the disposal of construction waste. This guide also gives a list of manufacturers of resource efficient building materials.

Healing and Defending God’s Creation: Hands On! Practical Ideas for Congregations
Author: White, Vera K. This resource book/curricula has the following sections: (1) Discipleship and Worship; (2) Learning and Teaching (providing lesson plans for preschool children through adults); (3) Lifestyle (individual and communal lifestyle choices); (4) Reusing, Reducing, and Recycling (exploring consumption habits); and (5) Legislation, Public Policy, and Community Involvement.

Household Ecoteam Workbook: A Six-month Program to Bring Your Household into Environmental Balance
Author: Gershon, David and Robert Gilman. This workbook divides environmental concerns into six areas and recommends that small groups meet regularly (over a six-month period) to address these areas: water efficiency, energy efficiency, transportation, and garbage/waste reduction. Each month, the group can take specific actions in order to implement ideas within a household or church congregation.

Ken Burns’ National Parks Religious Study Guides and “Clips” DVDs
Two religious study guides designed to accompany Ken Burns’ “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” 12-hour portrait of our national parks. These guides encourage participants to explore God in nature and our covenant with the earth. This an effective tool for groups.

Love Thy Neighbor: Parish Resources for Faithfulness in Creation
Author: Irish, Carolyn Tanner. This comprehensive program is designed to answer questions like: What are the religious dimensions of the environmental problem? What books and films can we use as parish resources? How can we incorporate creation issues in liturgy? How can children and young people be part of efforts to reorient our lifestyles?

On the Road
Focuses on the impacts of transportation

Practicing Our Faith
Author: Dorothy C. Bass. Bass, a United Church minister and historian of American religion, and Craig Dykstra, a Presbyterian minister and president of religion at Lilly Endowment, Inc., helped facilitate a dialog among 13 theologians and educators from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds. Their responses, represented here, explore vital ways to apply Christian tradition and practice to everyday life in a world that demands continuous personal change and discernment. A thoughtful discussion of possibilities for responding to the challenges of faith through the shared dimensions of spiritual life.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Author: Oregon Ecumenical Center for Environmental Action. A look at the problem, the theological basis for recycling, benefits of recycling, economics, opportunities, success stories, and practical tools for starting a recycling program in the church. Includes extensive lists of practical resources and congregational tools.

Resources for Outdoor Retreats; Journey into Nature, Journey into the Heart
Author: Bob Grgic. Filled with well-chosen resources to help you design your own outdoor retreats and prayer experiences. You will find clearly outlined directions, imaginative suggestions and handouts for retreatants’ participation.

Saving God’s Green Earth
Author: Tri Robinson With: Jason Chatraw For hundreds of years, the church has championed the beauty of God’s creation, demonstrating in many ways how it points to the Creator. However, over the last century, the evangelical church has let the value of caring for creation slip away. In this book, author and pastor Tri Robinson makes a compelling case for the biblical precedence behind environmental stewardship and shows the church what it can do about this eroding value.

Simplicity as Compassion – Chee Yoke Ling
For use with Simplicity as Compassion Curriculum, by Michael Schut, produced by Earth Ministry.

Stories in the Land: A Place-based Environmental Education Anthology
Author: John Elder. Stories in the Land is an excellent handbook for teachers who wish to explore place-based learning with their students.

Teaching Kids to Love the Earth; Sharing a Sense of Wonder: 186 Outdoor Activities for Parents and Other Teachers
Author: Marina Lachecki Herman

The Christian Faith and the Ecological Crisis
Author: Alvin Pitcher. A Holden Village resource. While on a nine month sabbatical at Holden Village, Alvin Pitcher, studied the environmental issues of the late 1980s. The writings contained in “The Christian Faith and the Ecological Crisis” represent his personal journey, always oriented toward making up his mind about what the issues are and what might be done about them by an ordinary lay member of a church or any ordinary citizen.

The Cry of Creation: A Call for Climate Justice
An interfaith study guide on global warming. Features theological and spiritual reflections, an overview of the scientific consensus, a spectrum of interfaith voices, action steps, and a bibliography for further study.

The Environment
Author: Larry Dunlap-Berg. An adult curriculum for environmentally-focused bible study.

The Episcopal Church and the Environmental Crisis
A Call for Religious Leadership to Protect God’s Creation. A Report Submitted to the 117th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. Author: Environmental Task Force, Diocese of Newark. “In response to a rising outcry of voices expressing concern for the deteriorating state of the Earth, Bishop John S. Spong created this Task Force on the Environment in order to report on the crucial evidence at hand and ‘to present resolutions for debate at the next Episcopal Diocesan Convention in January, 1991.’”

The Episcopal Church in Communion with Creation: Policy and Action
Publisher: New York: Episcopal Church Center, 1990. Episcopal Church’s denominational statement on the environment.

The Green Sanctuary Handbook: Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Religious Buildings and Grounds
Author: Rachel Stark, Robert Murphy, Brian Reddington. The Seventh Principle Project was established in 1991 by a group of Unitarian Universalists committed to finding ways to live their faith in a more ecologically sustainable way. With EcoSpirit New England, SPP founders published the Green Sanctuary Handbook as a resource for members to accomplish this goal.

The Lord’s House: A Guide to Creation Careful Management of Church Facilities
Author: Frederick W. Krueger. Practical advice on energy efficiency, landscaping and church grounds, and new purchases.

To Till and to Tend: A Guide to Jewish Environmental Study and Action
Author: Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. The Jewish community is presented here with a three-part challenge to accept environmental activism as a practical and a spiritual obligation: (1) scientific fact sheets, with what-you-can-do sidebars; (2) essays on Jewish environmental teachings; (3) nineteen hands-on programs and activities for every age group.

To Till It and Keep it: New Models for Congregational Involvement with the Land
Author: Dan Guenthner. The Environmental Stewardship and Hunger Education Office funded the publication of To Till It and Keep It, a book by Wisconsin CSA farmer Dan Guenthner which explains Congregation Supported Agriculture and its benefits.

Toward Sustainable Communities; A Curriculum to Teach Environmental Justice, Sustainability, and Theology within Christian Churches
Author: Michael W. Schut. Curriculum for teaching environmental justice, sustainability, and theology within Christian churches.

Toxic Waste and Race in the United States
Author: Commission on Racial Justice, United Church of Christ. This crucial 1987 report showed race to be the most significant factor when siting hazardous waste facilities, nationwide.

Urban Wildlife Enhancement
Tricia Thompson of the Washington Department of Wildlife speaks to the St. Mark’s Cathedral (Seattle) Ecology/Spirituality Group on March 11, 1992, about effects of urbanization on wildlife and prospects for restoring the St. Mark’s greenbelt.

We are God’s People: Stories of Faith for the Family of God
Performance Edition. Author: Betsy Beckman, Lisa von Stamwitz and Jeanne Cotter. Through this performance piece the prophetic voice of our children has a chance to be heard by the whole family of God. In this script we find children’s own stories of faith woven together with song and gesture into a celebration of lie. These heart-felt stories and vignettes reflect children’s experience of God, themselves, and their world. They are children’s own words of struggle with grief, illness, divorce, and violence as well as expressions of joy in new life, hope, love, and reconciliation. Children present their stories in the form of readers’ theater.

Your Will Be Done on Earth: Eco-Spirituality Activities for 12-15 Year-olds
Author: Jenkins, Christie L. Eighteen easy-to-follow lesson plans combine theology and science to provide background information, activity ideas, and photocopiable handouts on issues such as habitat and species loss, animal rights, environmental degradation, and global warming. To order, go to Resource Publications, Inc.’s website.