Green Faith Team – SWCA2022 Report

World Water Day 2022

We celebrated our 7th annual World Water Day with a conversation on faith and science between Rev. Dr. Dan Smith and Professor Peter Moyle about their collaboration and partnership with Putah Creek watershed restoration. The event also included Mixtec agricultural workers from Iglesia Luterana Santa Cruz, a family rancher from Bethel Lutheran in Templeton and P. Steve Beckham’s music. Thank you to all who helped. Consider how your congregation might partner to improve its watershed or ecosystem.
https://youtu.be/m9neKviSUDE

Center for Climate Justice and Faith at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

We are proud to be an early supporter and founding partner synod of the new Center at PLTS. Check it out and consider having your congregation become a supporter.
https://centerforclimatejusticeandfaith.org/

Lutheran Disaster Response

We met with the former Bishop of the Oregon synod, Dave Brauer-Rieke, to discuss his work with LDR at the nexus of Climate Change and disaster preparedness and response in ELCA Regions 1 and 2 including fires, drought and extreme heat.

Synod Memorial

We have submitted a Memorial for consideration at the Synod Assembly calling for a Just Transition to 50% reduction in US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This memorial is based on a Memorial approved by the Board of Directors of Lutherans Restoring Creation and is being considered by other synods. Questions about the memorial are welcome.

Advocacy

We participated in Lutheran Lobby Day 2021 and will do so again May 18, 2022.

Other advocacy:

• We joined the fight to protect the economic benefits of rooftop solar power
• Advocated for a setback of oil and gas drilling near schools, hospitals, churches…
• Signed on to stop shutoffs of water and energy during COVID
• Called out Chase Bank for greenwashing.
We are part of Lutherans Restoring Creation CA and the Coalition of Environmental Equity and Economics. Other partners include Interfaith Power & Light, Environment CA and Clean Water Action.
Creation Care in a few of our Congregations

Ascension Lutheran, Thousand Oaks

• Our congregation’s Green Faith Team is modeled after our synod’s team. We are working on local, regional and global creation care issues for education, action, and advocacy.
• Recently we switched from disposable coffee cups to ceramic ones and we now have three refillable water stations. Our Fair Trade ministries are also lifting up the importance of care for the planet and vulnerable people.
• Students planted parking lot garden boxes while the One Ascension Garden is in the works

Central Lutheran, Van Nuys

• We switched from paper-based toilet paper to bamboo rolls and now use recycled paper towels in our bathrooms.
• We try to make sure our disposables are compostable.
• Our converted community garden irrigation to automated drip this last year, with a smart timer using its own site-based weather station to fit our unusually hot, dry and windy microclimate in the San Fernando Valley.
• We’ve been solarized since 2020, and are working with LADWP to get our NEM credits since we’ve generated more electricity that we have used every month!

First Lutheran, Torrance

• Our Creation Care team is in its second year and led the effort to became a Lutherans Restoring Creation congregation
• We celebrated Season of Creation in August and Earth Sunday in May
• Girl Scout troop 9005 is planting a butterfly garden with milkweeds donated from Del Aire Baptist Community Garden.

Lutheran Church of the Master, Los Angeles

• We celebrate God's creation by caring for our 6-year-old Monarch Butterfly Garden, and we are adding a garden of sunflowers as we pray for Ukraine.
• We recommend the “River of Life” Vacation Bible School from ELCA World Hunger focusing on the importance of water. Great bingo game! https://lutheransrestoringcreation.org/elcas-vacation-bible-school-offerings/
• Christmas in July with Gardens-to-Go
• We avoided single use plastic during COVID using the “one element” of bread for Holy Communion. (See ELCA resource: The Use of the Means of Grace. "For pressing reasons of health, individuals may commune under one element." p. 48)
• In making our restrooms more accessible they are now more sustainable with low-flow toilets, auto-turnoff faucets and skylights
• We use Fair Trade Coffee, biodegradable cups, and metal spoonsWe share oranges from our courtyard tree and enjoy our resident black phoebe

St. Stephen’s Lutheran, Palmdale

• During Lent Dr. Carole Francis-Swayze presented a series of homilies dealing with God’s relationship to animals: Do animals go to heaven? Why did God create them? Jesus’ role with animals and what is the role of Christians in their care and preservation. The homilies were presented on Facebook video and Carole’s goal is to spread this concept to other churches.

Finally… we will miss you Pastor Peg!
After seven years as Co-Chair of our team, Pastor Peg Schultz-Akerson is stepping down. We thank you, Peg for your passionate, creative and gracious leadership filled with wisdom and wonder; for generously sharing your lovely garden and home to host our first meeting; your regal great blue herons which always graced our Synod Assembly table; your terracotta pots given as prizes; your beautiful hymn and poems; your labyrinth at our first World Water Day; and your Bible study at Synod Assembly with a recording of the dawn bird chorus from the Sea of Tiberias. We appreciate your acute awareness of the beauty of God's creation: the birds and the bees, the butterflies and the bunnies. I remember our trip to East Porterville to witness the ELCA World Hunger project funding clean water for Californians and our Lutherans Restoring Creation California retreat at Luther Glen. So many memories! May we continue to feel your spirit and wisdom as our work continues.

Join us!

If you are interested in this work, consider joining our team or being added to our email list. Let us know what’s happening in your congregation as we Green the Church together.

Jane Affonso, Chair
jgaffonso@gmail.com/
310.995.4943

Book your tickets