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Lutherans seek to become 'greener'.

IN HIS 1985 volume, God in Creation, Jurgen Moltmann wrote: The alienation of nature brought about by human beings can never be overcome until men find a new understanding of themselves and a new interpretation of their world in the framework of nature."

The fact is that a fresh and comprehensive insight into God's involvement with this world needs to be discerned. After centuries of a theology which allowed for the supreme dominance of man over nature and the subsequent ongoing destruction of our ecosystem and our world, only now is the church beginning to be concerned about the environment. Only now, after concrete evidence of a precipitating crisis on this planet--with the melting of solar caps and cavernous holes in the ozone layer ozone layer or ozonosphere, region of the stratosphere containing relatively high concentrations of ozone, located at altitudes of 12–30 mi (19–48 km) above the earth's surface. , with stagnating pollution and alarming shifts in weather systems--has the church embraced environmental concerns.

At its recent 11th Biennial Convention in Winnipeg, National Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) (French: Eglise Evangelique Lutherienne au Canada) is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination, with 182,077 baptized members in 624 congregations.  (ELCIC ELCIC Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada ) brought the following motion to the floor: " ... we commit ourselves to answer the call to respect the integrity of God's creation through an environmental stewardship The integration and application of environmental values into the military mission in order to sustain readiness, improve quality of life, strengthen civil relations, and preserve valuable natural resources.  initiative engaging or national, synodical, congregation and individual member expressions." The council proposal was greeted with a sea of green (yes) cards, indicating an almost unanimous affirmation of the greening initiative.

The approved implementation strategy was clear: 1) To reduce the negative impact the ELCIC, at all levels, has on the environment; 2) To increase the ELCIC's commitment to and understanding of environmental stewardship; 3) To involve youth in this initiative and create opportunities for leadership development.

A number of the key components included: Web-based resources to act as a guide for how congregations can become "green;" an accreditation process for congregations with recognition of their involvement; and integration with other church-wide programs including the Signs of Hope campaign by the ELCIC's Global Hunger & Development department and an energy campaign by Kairos Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the "right or opportune moment". The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. , a Canadian ecumenical justice group. The time-line for achieving the stewardship initiative is September 2007 through the summer of 2008.

While the church and its synodical bodies will be in charge of aspects of the program, the real activity takes place at the grass roots grass roots
pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. People or society at a local level rather than at the center of major political activity. Often used with the.

2. The groundwork or source of something.
. Congregations will be responsible for promoting the initiative to its members encouraging them to practise environmental stewardship. They may seek to become "Green Congregations" by examining their impact on creation and seeking ways to minimize their negative impact and promote positive impacts on creation.

The ELCIC's British Columbia British Columbia, province (2001 pop. 3,907,738), 366,255 sq mi (948,600 sq km), including 6,976 sq mi (18,068 sq km) of water surface, W Canada. Geography
 synod recently joined the Anglican diocese of New Westminster The Diocese of New Westminster is one of six dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon of the Anglican Church of Canada. The See city is Vancouver. The current bishop (the diocese's eighth) is the Right Rev.  in its "Greening of the Parish" program--now in its fourth year. The B.C. Synod's seven-step program includes the reduction of energy consumption (for example, changing old incandescent bulbs to energy efficient halogen halogen (hăl`əjĕn) [Gr.,=salt-bearing], any of the chemically active elements found in Group 17 of the periodic table; the name applies especially to fluorine (symbol F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), and iodine (I).  bulbs); reducing, reusing and recycling, particularly the amount of paper used during worship; changing the church landscape so that drought-tolerant plants are used and the application of chemicals, fertilizer and excessive water are avoided; encouraging members to carpool car·pool  
n. also car pool
1. An arrangement whereby several participants or their children travel together in one vehicle, the participants sharing the costs and often taking turns as the driver.

 and utilize public transit; and commit to environmental justice.

Rev. Peter Mikelic pastors Epiphany Lutheran church, Toronto, and writes for various church and secular publications.
COPYRIGHT 2007 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
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Author:Mikelic, Peter
Publication:Anglican Journal
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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