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Courses on Ecology for Congregations


A course on ecology can be done in many different ways - find a method that is the most interesting and helpful for you. In ecology, everything is related, so that starting anywhere will eventually lead to seeing how all the issues are connected.


You can use one of the prepared curriculum:

    God's Earth: Our Home
    This extensive packet contains many suggestions for incorporating environmental ministries into the life and mission of congregations, including worship, learning and teaching, lifestyle, community ministries and public policy. It includes a 12-session program to study and learn about all aspects of ecology; extensive suggestions for worship including resources for children, youth and adults; and background resources. It also has several articles on various aspects of the environmental crisis including biodiversity, climate change and environmental racism. Published by the Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches. $7.00. PO Box 968, Elkhart, Indiana 46515-0968. 800-762-0968, or 219-264-3102, or Fax to 219-262-0966.

    Renewing the Face of the Earth
    A resource for parishes. Today's global environmental crisis makes justice for the environment inseparable from justice for the poor. Includes the bishops' statement, Renewing the Earth; suggestions for initiating parish programs; liturgical, homily and prayer helps; background information on the connection between the environment and social justice; parish bulletin inserts; resource information. From the US Bishops' Department of Social Development and World Peace. No. 766-9, 80 pp., $6.95. Order by calling 800-235-8722, or writing Publishing Services, United States Catholic Conference, 3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017-1194, or by fax to (202) 722-8709.

    Let the Earth Be Glad : A Starter Kit for Evangelical Churches to Care for God's Creation
    This is a church activities kit designed by World Vision and published by the Evangelical Environmental Network. This box is full of resources to help your church make creation care a part of its life and witness. Included are Bible studies, children's art projects, curriculum for retreats. $10.00 To order, call 800-650-6600.

    One Creation, One People, One Place
    A 16-page tabloid newsprint study of ecology, economy and community in the Chicagoland area, with maps illustrating various indicators of our progress toward a sustainable community. This publication was produced by the Inter-religious Sustainability Project of Chicago and is available free from the Center for Neighborhood Technology at 312-278-4800, ex 255. Also available on the web at http://www.cnt.org.

Focus on spirituality and ecology.

Use information in the magazine EarthLight: Magazine of Spirituality and Ecology, 111 Fairmount Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611. $18. e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The magazine is on œthe relationship of Ecology & Spirituality-Empowering individuals and faith communities to live and work in touch with the Earth.” Published quarterly by the Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, a North American Quaker environmental concerns network. Their web site is at http://www.earthlight.org or write to EarthLight magazine 111 Fairmount Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611. For information write to: FCUN, 179 N. Prospect Street, Burlington, VT 05401 , or send e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Create a course on simple living. The ecological crisis is about overproduction and overconsumption. There are two resources you could use:

    Simplicity as Compassion: Voluntary Simplicity from a Christian Perspective. A study guide for congregations. An eight-week course, $15. By Earth Ministry: Connecting People with the Creation 1305 NE 47th Street, Seattle WA 98105-4498; 202-632-2426, Fax 206-632-2082, (call first). To get on their mailing list, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Web site http://www.earthministry.org/ Founded in 1992, their Mission œis to engage individuals and congregations in knowing God more fully through deepening relationships with all of GodÃs creation. We believe that through this experience our personal lives and our culture will be transformed. These transformations include simplified living, environmental stewardship, justice for all creation and a worldview which sees creation as a revelation of God. Together these lead to a rediscovery of the vitality of the Christian faith.

    Household EcoTeam Workbook: A Six-month Program to Bring your Household into Environmental Balance. (for adults) and Journey for the Planet (for kids) are designed to support you as you choose among actions to reduce garbage, save water and energy, practice "eco-wise" consuming, and empower others to do the same. Developed by the Global Action Plan for the Earth (GAP). Five or six households an EcoTeam -- meet regularly to support each other in following a step-by-step workbook with the help of a trained volunteer coach. Choosing from a series of practical actions, they reduce waste, use less water and energy, buy "eco-wise" products, and teach others what they have discovered. To develop a Community Lifestyle Campaign where you live, call or e-mail Global Action Plan for the Earth, Post Office Box 428, Woodstock, New York 12498, 914-679-4830, Fax 914-679-4834, e-mail, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . See web site at http://www.globalactionplan.org/default.htm.

Start a class on corporate power as a religious issue.

    The North American Coalition on Christianity and Ecology (NACCE) says that around the world people are sounding the alarm about global capitalism, the privatization of government, the disregard of the common good and destruction of the environment by powerful transnational corporations that continue, unhindered, to cause political, economic and ecological damage.

    How many of us have studied the root causes of the crises? How much do we know of the history of corporations in the USA? There is no mention of them in the Constitution. How do we account for the fact that a business corporation, an artificial entity, has special protections under US laws, and more rights than individuals? When did we as citizens abdicate our right to revoke their state charters for their destructive practices? How must business ethics change? What institutional changes and new values are needed for corporate responsibility now?

    "Our greatest fear should be that Western multinational corporations and banks will soon have reacquired the most attractive economic assets the Third World has to offer at bargain basement prices...without the cost of occupying armies; without firing a shot" (John Conner, writing in Z Magazine, www.zmag.org.

Resources by Denomination

General Protestant
Published by the NCC Eco-Justice Working Group

For a variety of resources for congregations, visit www.nccecojustice.org.
AFRICAN AMERICAN
National Black Church Environmental and Economic Justice Summit Report - Stories of people who have been affected by environmental racism are highlighted in this report of the Black Church Summit held in Washington, DC in December 1993, Also included are speeches by prominent Black pastors and community activists on the issue of environmental justice. Published by the Eco-Justice Working Group. Order from the Distribution Center.
Fruits of Creation: A Look at Global Sustainability as Seen Through the Eyes of George Washington Carver EJ5200 $8.95 - This book contains the insights of George Washington Carver, the African-American Christian scientist, on how sustainable development might occur in the developing world. Order from the Distribution Center.
BAPTIST
Our Only Home: Planet Earth EJ8205 $3.00 - The ecology policy statement adopted by the American Baptist General Board in a Bible study framework featuring articles by prominent Baptist leaders. Order from the Distribution Center.
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
Creation in Crisis: Responding to God's Covenant EJ5300 $10.00 - This study and action resource helps congregations study environmental issues and develop plans for addressing these concerns. It was published by the Church of the Brethren. Order from the Distribution Center

Three issues of Between the Flood and the Rainbow: All three can be ordered from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center with the item code given.

Biodiversity The February 1995 edition of Between the Flood and the Rainbow environmental education and action newsletter of the Church of the Brethren includes such topics as: "Biodiversity-a Life-Support System;" "Understanding Biodiversity;" "Christians, Bible, and Biodiversity;" "UN's convention on Biodiversity;" "Why Save Endangered Species?;" "What You Can Do;" and "Preserving Ecosystem & Earth's Bounty. EJ5330 $.75

Climate Change The December 1995 edition of Between the Flood and the Rainbow explains what is happening with the climate, the UN's Convention on Climate Change and reports on the Berlin Summit on Climate Change. It includes "The Top 10 Things You Can Do To Prevent Global Warming." - EJ5350 $.75.

Toxic Pollution The September 1996 edition of Between the Flood and the Rainbow explains the role of chemicals and the pollution they cause, describes the by-product dioxin and its health effects and gives resources and suggestions for action. EJ5375 $.75
EPISCOPAL
Just and Sustainable Community: A Conference on Environmental Values (June, 1995) The proceedings of this conference, sponsored by a collaborative partnership of government, a university and an interfaith environmental network, include extensive remarks by Dieter Hessel, James Nash, Vernice Miller and several others. Published by the Episcopal Church. EJ89IO $1.50. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center

Creation Season Liturgy - EJ8905 $4.00 - This package of materials will enable a congregation to plan a liturgy or series of liturgies to honor creation. (e.g. Many Episcopal congregations begin the season on St. Francis of Assisi Day in early October and conclude the Sunday before Advent.) Published by the Episcopal Church. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

Just and Proper Use: Issues in Environmental Stewardship by Judy Scherff. - EJ8920 $3.00 - How can we arrange our lives, our economics, and our social order to do a better job in relying upon and sustaining God's creation? Published by the Episcopal Church. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

One God, One Family, One Earth: Responding to the Gifts of God's Creation. EJ8915 $15.00 - Using this six session adult education curriculum, small discussion groups can rediscover our relationship with God's creation. Sessions examine environmental stewardship's theological foundations, its connections with justice issues, and our need for advocacy and action. Includes a Leader's Guide, Participant's Guide and an audiotape with musical selections from the Paul Winter Consort. Published by the Episcopal Church. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.


EVANGELICAL
Let the Earth Be Glad. EJ5100 $10:00 - This is a church activities kit designed by World Vision and published by the Evangelical Environmental Network. This box is full of resources to help your church make creation care a part of its life and witness. Included are Bible studies, children's art projects, curriculum for retreats, etc. To Order call 800-650-6600.

On the Care of Creation.The Evangelical Declaration on the Care of CreationIt, a carefully considered statement on earth stewardship, released four years ago. Hundreds of evangelical leaders in North America have expressed their agreement with the principles of theÜ declaration by signing on. The text of the declaration and a partial list of signatories is on their web site at http://www.creationcare.org/

Holy Ground: A Resource on Faith and the Environment. Sojourners, 1997.Ü A study Guide for a four session course covering: The Covenant with Creation, Systems of Environmental Degradation, Environmental Racism and Justice, and Living Rightly with the Earth. Write or call Sojourners Resource Center, 2401 15th NW, Washington, DC, 20009, 800-714-7474 or 202-328-8842. Or E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Price, 1-9 copies, $5 each; 10-49 copies, $4 each; 50+ copies $3 each. See http://www.sojourners.com/catalog.html.

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF AMERICA
To Till It and Keep It - EJ9505 $3.00 - This resource describes various congregational models for taking care of the land, from community gardening to alternative lawn care to rural-urban dialogues.Ü It was produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

Care of the Earth: An Environmental Resource Manual for Church Leaders. Edited by Tina B. Krause, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Excellent basic text. Including articles on Green Theology, advocacy, worship (including a full liturgy, models and examples). Includes a Bibliography of books, periodicals and videos. . (Not from the Distribution Center- Available from LSTC Book Center, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago Illinois 60615. 773-753-0753.)

 

ORTHODOX
Orthodoxy and Ecology -A Resource Book
. This resource for Orthodox parishes was published by Syndesmos, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth. It contains liturgies, theological discussions, and responses by the International Church. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center. EJ9740 $15. 00

 

PRESBYTERIAN
And the Leaves of the Trees are for the Healing of the Nations This booklet is a concise exploration of the biblical and theological foundations for cherishing God's creation. It focuses on the creation stories in Genesis as well as the Psalms, Pauline writings and the life and teachings of Jesus the Christ. Published by the Eco-Justice Working Group of the NCC and the Presbyterian Church (USA). - EJ9750 $1.50.Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

For the Beauty of the EarthThe July-August 1996 issue ofÜ Church and Society explores environmental ethics and theology as well as public policy issues. Profiles of congregations involved in environmental justice are included. Published by the Presbyterian Church (USA). Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center. EJ9650 $2.50 -

For God So Loves the World- Interactive resource focused on the Biblical mandate to cherish God's creation. User-friendly material for older youth and adults. Published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. - EJ9020 $1.45. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

Healing and Defending God's Creation: Hands On! Practical Ideas for Congregations, VOL.II Concrete ideas and useful resources to help your congregation develop and implement programs on caring for God's Creation. It covers worship, education, individual and congregational lifestyle, and public policy and community involvement. Published by the Presbyterian Church (USA). EJ9010 $4.95. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

Keeping and Healing the Creation. An 80-page resource paper by the Presbyterian Eco-Justice Task Force providing a comprehensive background on the eco-justice crisis and a biblical theology and ethics to face it. Published by the Presbyterian Church (USA). - EJ9040 $4.00 - Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

Hope for a Global Future: Toward Just and Sustainable Human Development This comprehensive policy was adopted by the 1996 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) addressing global poverty, environmental degradation, overpopulation, theological and ethical foundations, and policy recommendations.EJ9620 $2.50. Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.


ROMAN CATHOLIC
Order by calling 800-235-8722, or writing Publishing Services, United States Catholic Conference, 3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017-1194, or by Fax toÜ (202) 722-8709.

Let the Earth Bless the Lord: Gods Creation and Our Responsibility: A Catholic Approach to the Environment. This parish resource offers models for community action and provides an international perspective on environmental justice. Materials include articles on sustainable development; environmental justice in Latin America, Africa, and Europe; and Catholic Relief Services work in this area. Practical hints to implement and sustain a program are offered, as are homily and prayer helps, clip art, bulletin quotes, and an index of the U.S. bishops three environmental justice parish resources. From the U.S. Bishops' Department of Social Development and World Peace. No. 5-085, 44 pp., $3.95.

And God Saw That It Was Good" Catholic Theology and the Environment. This dynamic reader is designed to assist in addressing ecological crises in light of Catholic tradition and teachings. Anne M. Clifford, CSJ; John F. Haught; David Toolan, SJ; Kevin W. Irwin; and others contributed to this compilation of papers presented at a scholars conference at Mount Angel Abbey in Portland, Oregon. The volume also includes articles on Scripture and liturgy as well as the full text of related documents by Pope John Paul 11; the U.S. bishops; the Australian, Dominican, and Guatemalan Episcopal conferences; and the Catholic bishops of Northern Italy and of the Philippines. This comprehensive volume is intended for the well-read lay Catholic reading audience and was edited by Drew Christiansen, SJ, and Walter Grazer. No. 5-089, 348 pp., $24.95.

Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All Creation. This parish resource kit for environmental justice implementation provides models for parish involvement and action on environmental justice issues and includes activities for parishioner participation, homily and prayer helps, articles on conservation, and the St. Francis Prayer Card. From the U.S. bishops' Department of Social Development and World. Peace. No. 032-X, 53 pp., $7.95.

Renewing the Face of the Earth: A Resource for Parishes. A masterful resource for parishes. Today's global environmental crisis makes justice for the environment inseparable from justice for the poor. Includes the bishops' statement, Renewing the Earth; suggestions for initiating parish programs; liturgical, homily and prayer helps; background information on the connection between the environment and social justice; parish bulletin inserts; resource information. From the U.S. bishops' Department of Social Development and World Peace. No. 766-9, 80 pp., $6.95.

Renewing the Earth An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching. The U.S. bishops call on Catholics to reflect on and to discuss environmental problems, including global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, deforestation, and toxic and nuclear waste. No. 468-6, 20 pp., $1.95.

The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility. Pope John Paul 11's message calls for all citizens of the earth to respect life and to seek a solution to the ecological crisis through solidarity and shared responsibility for the world. No. 332-9, 14 pp., $1.95

 

UNITED METHODIST
Hope for the Earth. This United Methodist study was designed for congregations as they explore the faith basis for environmental ministries, examine ecological issues and make plans for future work. EJ9670 $4.50 - Order from the Environmental Justice Resource Distribution Center.

JEWISH PUBLICATIONS
Publications available form COEJL (The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life), 443 Park Avenue South, 11th fl., New York, NY 10016-7322 . Call 212-684-6950, orÜ fax: (212) 686-1353. See http://www.coejl.org/

To Till and To Tend. A Guide to Jewish Environmental Study and Action (1994). 122 pp. introduction to Jewish environmental thought and action. Scientific information on the environmental crisis; articles from a variety of Jewish perspectives on the environment; 19 programs for synagogues and schools; and an extensive resource guide. $12.50.

Operation Noah: A Jewish Program and Action Guide to Defending God's Endangered Creatures and Habitats - 37 pp. of background articles and program and action ideas for institutions and families. $5.00.

Operation Noah: Texts and Commentaries on Biological Diversity and Human Responsibility: A Study Guide -- 44 pp. of background articles and texts from range of Jewish sources (Bible, law, tales, philosophy, mysticism). $5.00

Biodiversity, Parshat Noah, and a Jewish Environmental Ethic: A Creative Arts Curriculum -- 34 pp. of hands on educational activities for day and religious schools. $5.00.

Caring for the Life-Cycle: Celebrating the Passages of Life in Environmentally Friendly Ways 24 pp. booklet for those planning a brit milah/naming ceremony, bar/bat mitzvah, or chuppah ceremony. $ 2.50.


Other books on Judaism and Ecology
:

Challenge: Torah Views on Science and Its Problems, edited by Aryeh Carmell and Cyril Domb (New York: Feldheim, 1976).

Conservative Judaism 44:1. Fall 1991. Entire issue dedicated to Jewish environmental thought and action.

Ecology and the Jewish Spirit: Where Nature and the Sacred Meet edited by Ellen Bernstein. (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 1998.)

A Garden of Choice Fruit: 200 Classic Jewish Quotes on Human Beings and the Environment, Edited by David E. Stein (Philadelphia: Shomrei Adamah, 1991). Available from Shomrei Adamah, 212.807.6376.

God in Search of Man by A.J. Heschel (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1955).

The Green Shalom Guide: A How to Manual for Greening Local Jewish Synagogues, Schools. And Offices. Washington Area Shomrei Adamah. 1995.Ü To order: Send $13.00 to Washington Area Shomrei Adamah, 706 Erie Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912.

It's a Mitzvah! Step-by-Step to Jewish Living, by Bradley Shavit Artson. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1995. See chapter 17 on Bal Tashchit (prohibition of waste). "Leader's Guide" available.

The Jewish Sourcebook on the Environment and Ecology by Ronald H. Isaacs. (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1998.)

Jews, Money, and Social Responsibility: Developing a "Torah of Money" for Contemporary Life, by Lawrence Bush and Jeffrey Dekro (Philadelphia: The Shefa Fund, 1993). To order, call 1-800-92-SHEFA/215-247-9704.

Judaism and Ecology, a study guide produced by Hadassah and Shomrei Adamah. Send $12.00 to Dept. of Jewish Education, Hadassah, 50 W. 58th St., New York, NY 10019.

The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man, by Abraham Joshua Heschel (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1951).

Seasons of Our Joy: A Handbook of Jewish Festivals, by Arthur Waskow (Boston: Beacon Press, 1982).

Seek My Face, Speak My Name, by Arthur Green (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1992).

Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment is a Religious Issue, edited by Steven C. Rockefeller and John N. Elder (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992). See "Learning to Live with Less" by Ismar Schorsch.

Texts and Commentaries on Biological Diversity and Human Responsibility: A Study Guide (1996). Available from COEJL.

This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment edited by Roger Gottlieb (New York: Routledge, 1995).

Torah and Flora, by Louis I. Rabinowitz (Sanhedrin Press, 1979).

Torah of the Earth: Exploring 4,000 years of Ecology in Jewish Thought. 2 vols. ed. Arthur Waskow. Woodstock, VT, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000. See http://www.jewishlights.com

Trees, Earth and Torah: A Tu B'Shvat Anthology edited by Ari Elon, Naomi Hyman, and Arthur Waskow. (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1999.)

"With all Your Possessions": Jewish Ethics and Economic Life by Meir Tamari (New York: Free Press, 1987).

SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (Quakers)
Order all from Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, 179 N. Prospect St. Burlinton VT 05401-1607. Prices include postage and handling.

Becoming a Friend to the Creation: Earthcare Leaven for Friends and FriendsÌ Meetings, Lisa L. Gould, ed. $15.50.

Environmental Challenges for Higher Education: Integrating Sustainability into Academic Programs, Robert L. Wixom, ed. $19.50.

Earthcare for Children, a First Day School Curriculum, by Tom Farley, Sandy Farley and Diana Egly. $15.50.

Healing Ourselves and Our Earth, Elizabeth Watson, $4.00.

Leading a Friendly Session on Population Concerns, a guide for facilitators, Stan Becker, $1.25.

Population-Resources Exercise: Instructions for facilitators, Stan Becker $3.00.

Walking Gently on the Earth: An Earthcare Checklist, Jack Phillips, $3.50.

FLYERS- (1 is free, 4 for $1.50; or 50 for $13):

Simplicity as Spiritual Exercise: Freeing Ourselves from Possessions, Tom Small.
Friends, Slavery and the Earth, Lisa L. Gould.
Preserve the Earth: FriendsÌ Witness on Rapid Population Growth, Stan Becker and Amy Weber.
Sustainable Energy-An Earth-Friendly View, William Beale.
The Spiritual Dimension- Why We Care for the Earth, Jack Phillips.
World Population Growth as a Friends Concern, Stan Becker.


 

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