“God’s Work. Our Hands.” —Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The sacredness of creation crosses many faith traditions. In the Lutheran church, the ELCA, through its 1993 Statement on Environment, calls us to “model God’s justice by striving to embody four principles in the face of the intricate complexity of creation and of the human community: Participation [all are entitled to a voice], Solidarity [interdependency among ourselves and all creatures], Sufficiency [meeting the basic needs of all humanity] and Sustainability [assuring quality of life for future generations].”
Building on these principles, members of the SMLC Green Team have recen ly connected with members of other faith communities in our region to form a South Jersey GreenFaith Circle. Founded in 1992 in New Jersey, GreenFaith is among the oldest religious-environmental groups in the world, and now includes over 10,000 members from a diverse and international range of religious and spiritual backgrounds. Circles are an opportunity for people of diverse faiths and spiritualities to unify and put their beliefs into action for the Earth. They embody a spiritual, moral, locally-organized and globally connected response to environmental concerns. There are presently seven active GreenFaith Circles in New Jersey.
The mission of the South Jersey GreenFaith Circle is “Connecting people of faith and spiritual communities to inspire, influence, and motivate individuals, groups, and institutions to protect and regenerate our living earth for current and future generations.” Presently we have roughly 29 members from 9 faith traditions participating in the Circle. Initially the Circle will be focused on three key issues:
- Single-use Plastics,
- Sustainable Agriculture and Diet, and
- Social/Environmental Justice.
We are currently planning actions include events across congregations and faith communities, as well as local, state and national advocacy.
One action we are asking all Circle congregations to take now is the July “Plastic-Free Ecochallenge”. Plastic Free Ecochallenge is a month-long, global effort sponsored by the Coalition of North American Zoos and Aquariums, as a way for all of us to reduce our single-use plastic consumption in creative and innovative ways while still prioritizing public health and safety during this pandemic. Go online to sign up for specific Challenges, and throughout you can share your progress, success, and reflections with fellow Ecochallengers, all while earning points for completed actions. The combination of collective inspiration, camaraderie, and friendly competition makes change a little easier – and a lot more fun. After all, progress is social! T
he Green Team will be regrouping in the fall, with the hope of identifying new ways of growing in our ministry and serving the congregation during the ongoing challenges of COVID. In the meantime, you can find us on our website, by following the SMLC Facebook page; or by emailing me. Please have a safe and healthy summer, and remember we are always looking for new members to join us!
Fast Fact: Did you know that microplastics can be found in nearly all water systems in the world, including bottled water, tap water – and even rain! Take the July Plastic Free Ecochallenge!