The season of Creation provides us with an opportunity to connect with Earth as our home and with the creatures of Earth as our kin through an Earth ministry as well as through a season of worship. Earth ministry refers to the many ways we can care for creation and express our love for God’s Earth. Earth has long nurtured us. Now we are called to nurture Earth in the face of environmental crises.
Genesis 2:15 refers to the role God assigned our primal parents in Eden, our first garden home. Planet Earth is the garden home we have inherited. God placed Adam in the garden to ’till and tend it’. The Hebrew word translated ’till’ (abad) more commonly means ‘serve’. Our role, like that of our first parents is to ‘serve’ and ‘care for’ Earth as our God-given home.
It may be wise, in order to facilitate the practical aspects of an Earth ministry, to create an Earth Ministry Team, involving both young and older people committed to caring for creation. The team may wish to focus on one or two of the suggested environmental projects in a given year and pursue other projects during subsequent years. There are a number of fine resources that congregations or individuals may use. One of the most user-friendly of these is Eco-Church. An Action Manual by Albert Fritsch and Angela Iadavaia-Cox (San Jose: Resource Publications, 1992).
Another very useful workbook is Greening Congregations Handbook, edited by Tanya Marcovna Barnett (Seattle: Earth Ministry, 2002). Also valuable is Practically Green with Love by Christina L Scheidt Schueller, sponsored by the Division for Church in Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
For additional reflective exercises we recommend Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use by Margie Abbott RSM (Unley SA: MediaCom Education, 2001), or Seven Songs of Creation by Norman Habel (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2004).
In Australia, congregational groups are directed to Becoming an Eco-Congregation, produced by the Anglican Church in Dunlop, ACT. See www.pastornet.net.au
For Earthkeeping News in the USA contact email@example.com
For New Earth Partnership with Rev. Dennis Ormseth contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Log on to www.ecen.org/ecenhome.shtml for a wide range of resources in the European context.