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In this work, Sallie McFague unites her love of hagiography, the study of the saints, and the urgent need to address overconsumption in the economy and the environment. McFague suggests a close study of lives of the saints. Here specifically, she considers Simone Weil, John Woolman, and Dorothy Day, in the hope that contemporary believers may find a path from belief to faith-inspired action. A kenotic lifestyle, one of self-emptying, the author sees reflected in the lives of the saints considered here. She sees the unified path to kenosis inspired by the “wild space” of voluntary poverty, the awakening of the saint through this poverty to material needs of others, the increase in view of the self to include a universal self, and finally the connection of the kenotic lifestyle to the personal and public spheres of life.
Speaking specifically to middleclass readers, McFague condemns the complacent comfort in which we live that destroys God’s creation, human and nature alike. She calls for a radical understanding of the divine incarnation and expansion of the self to include the universal. An unsettling of traditional theology in favor of recognition that kenotic love is that which fuels the universe is the good news that can oppose the crisis in the economy and environment. McFague brilliantly weaves the example of the saints with our own call to action which must, like the saints discussed, be personal and public.
To learn more about Sallie McFague click here. This along with McFague’s other works can be found on Amazon or through your favorite independent bookstore.
For an individual interested in ecological justice and ministry, it may be important to attend a seminary or divinity school that is committed to care of creation. Partnering schools are listed below.
- Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
- Boston University School of Theology
- Christian Theological Seminary
- Claremont School of Theology
- Columbia Theological Seminary
- Drew Theological School
- Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
- Methodist Theological School in Ohio
- Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
- The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology
- Trinity Lutheran Seminary
- Universidad Biblica Latinamericana
- Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte.
Many other schools have filed reports with the Green Seminary Initiative. To access a list of those schools and to learn more about the partnering schools, click here.
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David Rhoads is a pastor, professor, author, and environmentalist. He was on the faculty at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) beginning in 1988 and is now a professor emeritus. He is the author and editor of many books including, The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentaryand Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet. He also was instrumental in the creation of “The Web of Creation,” a resource for faith communities looking to improve their environmental advocacy.
To connect to Dr. Rhoads biographical page on the LSTC website click here.
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Madison Christian Community is the community created by Community of Hope, UCC and Advent Lutheran Church, ELCA. They have made environmental care and action a major cornerstone of their mission. Their church website is a wonderful resource for many congregations who are looking for success stories for implementing creation care into one’s own community.
To connect with this community click here.
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Let All Creation Praise is a website maintained by Nick Utphall a pastor in Madison, WI; Susan Zencka, a pastor in Stevens Point, WI; Alydia Smith, programing coordinator for the United Church of Canada; Leah Schade, a professor of preaching and worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (KY), and David Rhoads, director of Lutherans restoring Creation. The website has many resources for worship, and they are an advocate for supporting the Season of Creation which is an opportunity to add this season of four Sundays celebrating creation and the creator to the traditional church year.
You can connect to their website here or connect via facebook here.
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A 2017 article written by Robert Badgeley and published by the Lancaster Eagle Gazette shares the success of the Baltimore Community Gardens sponsored by Faith Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Ohio. Extra produce is donated to the local Baltimore Food Pantry.
For more information on the Baltimore Community Gardens click here.
Image courtesy of Sybil Lee via Faith Presbyterian Facebook Group
Faith Presbyterian is involved in many service and mission programs in Myrtle Beach where they are located. Their service work includes a community garden. They use the produce of this garden to support those who experience food insecurity in the Myrtle Beach area and to connect with God as creator. One of the ways that they share information about their community garden is through a Facebook page. Facebook pages or groups can be a great resource for faith communities who are beginning their own community gardens too.
To connect with Faith Presbyterian click here. To see their facebook group click here.
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The PIN Garden Ministry at Asbury United Methodist Church was started in 2007 to provide fresh produce to People In Need, a service organization in Delaware County. It is tended to by parishioners and intentionally includes children in the maintenance of the garden as a way to extend youth ministry into the outdoor classroom.
To learn more about the PIN Garden Ministry click here.
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St Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Powell, Ohio created Anthony’s Garden to memorialize the son of family in their congregation. The garden is tended by parishioners, and each week produce from their garden is donated to their local food pantry Help My Neighbor.
For more information on Anthony’s Garden click here.
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The Seminary Hill Farm is a ministry on the campus of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). Made of fields, hoop houses, and a greenhouse, the farm works to provide fresh food throughout the year to the Seminary Hill Kitchen, a three-season community supported agriculture (CSA), and local farmers markets. The work of the seminary hill farm supports sustainable practices and MTSO’s commitment to faithful earth stewardship. You can also follow their blog that features articles on eating fresh local produce and life at the farm.
To learn more about the Seminary Hill Farm click here.