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Mission & History

EM BannerEarth Ministry’s Mission:

"To inspire and mobilize the Christian community to play a leadership role in building a just and sustainable future."

  

An Earth Ministry Timeline 1992-2012

 

2012

  • Made nearly 100 public presentations on faith and environment.
  • Presented at four major forums on toxics and children’s health; hosted a Toxic-Free Kids Fair; and turned out religious leaders to testify at five legislative committee hearings in Olympia, attend in-district meetings and town halls, and participate in literature drops at the capitol.
  • Held 3 religious leader advocacy trainings in Spokane, Bellingham and Seattle to prepare clergy and lay leaders to testify at 7 public hearings around Washington State on proposed coal export terminals. Together with partner organizations, turned out 10,000 citizens in opposition to coal export at these hearings.
  • Organized and turned out religious leaders to speak at 10 public “Coal Hard Truth” forums around Washington – reaching an additional 2,000 active people of faith on coal issues.
  • Wrote and circulated a religious leader sign-on letter against coal export which garnered 250 signatures of clergy and other key faith leaders in Washington.
  • Partnered with the environmental community to organize a legislative workshop and Environmental Lobby Day, and the religious community to organize Interfaith Advocacy Day and Catholic Lobby Day. Turned out over 200 people for the legislative workshop and 1,000 people at the three lobby days.
  • Supported 300+ congregations in implementing creation care activities.
  • Featured in the book Sacred Acts: How churches are working to protect Earth’s climate.
  • Media coverage in Huffington Post, Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, The Olympian, The Fig Tree, Texas Public Radio, Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News, Interfaith Power & Light, KPLU, and other media outlets.

2011

  • Led successful passage of the Coal Free Future for Washington bill in the state legislature, which will implement a phased shut down of Washington’s only coal-fired power plant while investing in real, community-driven economic development
  • Conducted extensive educational efforts around the issue of toxics and environmental health, increasing the visibility and effectiveness of the faith community in advocating for safe products for our children
  • Partnered with the national United Church of Christ denomination to launch a new national Environmental Justice Center in the Seattle area
  • Served as the principal organizer for Moving Planet Seattle, part of the 350.org international day of climate action on September 24, 2011. Co-hosted by three city agencies and numerous environmental organizations, the event featured activist workshops and a rally to demonstrate Seattle's call for clean energy and transportation solutions.
  • Through Earth Ministry’s Washington Interfaith Power & Light project, led four sessions at the national Interfaith Power & Light conference in Washington, DC and organized joint faith/health care community meetings with Congressional leaders on clean air standards
  • Made over 80 public presentations on faith and the environment
  • Supported congregational activists in greening their churches
  • Media coverage in the Huffington Post, Sojourners Magazine, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tacoma News Tribune, The Olympian, Vancouver Columbian, NPR, Green Acre Radio, Mother Nature Network, Episcopal Vestry Papers and other media outlets

2010

  • Made over 90 public presentations on faith and the environment
  • Added a record number of "Greening Congregations" working to care for God's creation in churches around the country
  • Engaged over 1,000 people of faith in community forums and advocacy days for the environment in the state capitol of Olympia
  • Through Earth Ministry’s Washington Interfaith Power & Light project, hosted an interfaith climate preach-in, interfaith climate vigil, and a prayer vigil in response to the BP oil spill; presented to the Acacia Muslim Foundation, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, League of Women Voters, and at other conferences on an interfaith religious response to climate change; and met with Congressional offices on national climate legislation
  • Led a field trip for religious leaders to Joint Base Lewis/McChord to learn about the Army’s environmental sustainability efforts, and an environmental justice boat tour of the Duwamish River, a Superfund site
  • Published via multiple articles and OpEds in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle PostGlobe, Spokesman Review, The Tri-City Herald, Yakima Herald, Bellingham Herald, Kitsap Sun, and other media outlets
  • Featured in Chapter 8 of the religious environmental book Natural Saints: How Churches are Working to Save God’s Earth by Mallory McDuff

2009

  • Made over 85 public presentations on faith and the environment
  • Supported a growing network of "Greening Congregations" through a year-long strategic planning process to implement sustainable practices
  • Led Earth Ministry members on an eco-tour of the Holy Land and Jordan
  • Organized clergy turnout and gave religious testimony at a 2,000-person national Environmental Protection Agency hearing on climate change
  • Delivered thousands of postcards from 43 congregations to the US Department of Energy regarding energy efficiency standards for appliances
  • Engaged nearly 1,000 people of faith in community forums and advocacy days for the environment in the state capitol of Olympia
  • Through Earth Ministry’s Washington Interfaith Power & Light project, partnered with the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, Acacia Muslim Foundation, Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, and other organizations on an interfaith religious response to climate change
  • Published multiple articles and OpEds in the Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Spokesman Review, The Tri-City Herald, Sound News, Catholic NW Progress, and other media outlets

2008

  • Launched Washington Interfaith Power & Light, an interfaith religious response to global warming.
  • Hundreds of members and Colleagues participate in a pre-session legislative workshop, environmental lobby day, and two faith advocacy days; this increased faith voice in Olympia significantly contributes to the passage of all four environmental bills endorsed by Earth Ministry and the Priorities for a Healthy Washington
  • Board and staff members made 25 presentations on faith-based environmentalism during Earth Month (April) alone to congregations, conferences, college classes, and regional gatherings
  • Over 60 people congregate at Holden Village for an Earth Ministry retreat
  • The Irreplaceable Photo Exhibit is shown at the Burke Museum and Earth Ministry hosts a panel of faith leaders including Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Evangelical Association
  • Earth Ministry holds its first sermon contest at the Celebration of St. Francis

2007 - Earth Ministry's 15th Anniversary

  • Earth Ministry co-founds the Religious Coalition for the Common Good, an ecumenical coalition of eight statewide faith organizations endorsing a unified social and environmental legislative platform

  • Nearly 70 members and Colleagues participate in a pre-session legislative workshop, environmental lobby day, and two faith advocacy days; this increased faith voice in Olympia significantly contributes to the passage of all four environmental bills endorsed by Earth Ministry and the Priorities for a Healthy Washington

  • Forty-two congregations participate in Earth Ministry's Earth Day event, the "Step It Up for Climate Solutions" march and rally, showing that global warming is an important moral issue

  • Three years of intensive planning culminates in the Interfaith Creation Festival, a major regional faith and environment gathering uniting Christians, Jews, and Muslims in care for all creation

  • In partnership with American Rivers, the fourth module in the Caring for All Creation program is released: By the Waters, which engages congregations in protecting and restoring God's gift of water

  • Three Spirit of St. Francis awards are given to Rev. Paul Benz, Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and Marcy Golde for their faith and environment work at Earth Ministry's 15th Anniversary Celebration Dinner & Silent Auction

 

2006

  • Earth Ministry becomes the first faith organization to join Priorities for a Healthy Washington, a partnership of conservation organizations working to pass environmental bills in the state legislature

  • Working with Save Our Wild Salmon, Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation, Earth Ministry hosts a Candlelight Vigil for Salmon to honor and pray for endangered Pacific salmon

  • Earth Ministry leads the religious community's successful efforts to pass I-937, the Clean Energy Initiative; and defeat I-933, the Irresponsible Developers Initiative

  • Three "Caring for All Creation" trainings are held to assist congregations in using the curricular resources to plan an Action Sunday in their church

  • University of Washington professor Dr. David Domke and Presbyterian minister Rev. Lisa Domke headline the Celebration of St. Francis, accompanied by the Shades of Praise Gospel Choir

 

2005

  • Earth Ministry is one of eleven authors of the National Council of Churches' statement on the environment, entitled "God's Earth is Sacred"

  • Washington's first ecumenical Earth Day event is held with reflections and restoration at Hamm Creek followed by an inclusive worship service at the Georgetown Gospel Chapel, a Greening Congregation

  • Earth Ministry steps up its participation in faith-based environmental advocacy efforts, which include leading a sign-on letter of 65 religious leaders in support of clean-car legislation

  • The Board approves a 5-year strategic plan (2005-2010) based on input from Earth Ministry members, supporters, and stakeholders; and email listservs are launched to better connect members and Colleagues with Earth Ministry's programs

  • At the annual Celebration of St. Francis, Earth Ministry co-founder Rev. Carla Pryne delves into the life of St. Francis himself, and Betsey Beckman's dance troupe performs "The Universe Story"

 

2004

  • Three modules of the "Caring for All Creation" congregational curricula are developed, linking faith to environmental issues: On the Road (transportation and climate change), At the Table (sustainable food and farming) and In the Home (energy use and toxic-free cleaning and gardening)

  • A "Green Church Professionals" group is started to assist clergy and other religious leaders in including a creation-care focus in their ministries

  • Earth Ministry hosts a Lenten Retreat on Simplicity, Spirituality, and Sustainability; a Liturgy of Celebration and Healing in response to a Puget Sound oil spill; and a second advocacy workshop

  • Bill McKibben and Betsey Beckman return to the stage as Celebration of St. Francis presenters

 

2003

  • Earth Ministry co-hosts the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Conference on "Sustainable Living in a Global World" at Seattle University

  • The Colleague program includes 141 Colleagues from 104 congregations, representing 15 Protestant and Catholic denominations throughout Puget Sound

  • Simpler Living, Compassionate Life surpasses 25,000 copies in print, and The Cry of Creation: A Call for Climate Justice is published in collaboration with the Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign

  • Earth Ministry makes over 50 presentations, offers three field trips, and endorses 35 advocacy campaigns to engage people of faith in environmental stewardship

  • Earth Ministry hosts an advocacy workshop for Colleagues in partnership with the Lutheran Public Policy Office and People for Puget Sound

  • Noted nature writer and fly-fisherman David James Duncan speaks at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

2002 - Earth Ministry's 10th Anniversary

  • Earth Ministry's curricular resources Greening Congregations Handbook and Food and Faith: Justice, Joy, and Daily Bread are published to great acclaim

  • Earth Ministry Colleagues, clergy, and congregations use these resources to further creation-care activities in over 100 churches around the Puget Sound

  • Members enjoy faith-filled trips to see eagles and salmon on the Skagit River, old growth forests on the Olympic Peninsula, the sources of Seattle's drinking water in the Cedar River basin, and wildflowers on Mt. Rainier

  • Dr. Gary Nabhan, author, and John de Graaf, Seattle-based video producer, share keynote duties at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

2001

  • The Handbook for Creation Awareness and Car in Your Congregation (the forerunner of the Greening Congregations Handbook) is released

  • Earth Ministry co-sponsors a Joy and Justice Lecture Series, featuring David Korten, Cheryl Broetje, and Lois Canright; and a Sacred Earth Conference on Native religions and sacred spaces at Seattle University

  • A major "Food, Faith, and Farming" weekend is held in conjunction with the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in Central WAshington, including speakers, workshops, and organic farm tours

  • Earth Ministry moves from its original home in Christ Church Episcopal to new offices in Trinity United Methodist Church

  • Author Terry Tempest Williams gives the keynote at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

2000

  • Earth Ministry staff and Speaker's Bureau give over 70 presentations at churches, university, conferences, and community events

  • Simpler Living, Compassionate Life sells 12,000 copies by year's end and Earth Ministry hosts numerous voluntary simplicity workshops around the country

  • Earth Ministry endorses numerous important legislative and regulatory efforts, including barring oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the US Forest Service Roadless Areas Policy, the Clean Energy Now campaign, and state regulations concerning persistent toxins

  • Nearly 100 volunteers from 10 local congregations restore habitat along the Duwamish River

  • Kaiulani Lee performs a play based on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Mara Gray provides Celtic harp music, and Pete Dorman shows nature photography at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

1999

  • Earth Ministry's Simpler Living, Compassionate Life is published

  • Over 100 Colleagues (church activists) from 85 congregations around Puget Sound participate in the Colleague program

  • The Leopold Lecture Series commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Aldo Leopold's The Land Ethic, and features his daughter Estella Leopold, Winona LaDuke, and Terry Tempest Williams

  • The first stream clean-up and habitat restoration project involving churches is begun on Hamm Creek

  • Earth Ministry, Washington Association of Churches, and Church Council of Greater Seattle represent the Christian community's social and environmental concerns in the WTO marches

  • New York Times correspondent Timothy Egan speaks at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

1998

  • Earth Ministry's website, www.earthministry.org, debuts in cyberspace

  • Earth Ministry hosts eco-justice presentations by Tuenjai Deets (Working with indigenous tribes in Thailand), Oranto Douglas (galvanizing support for people facing corporate and government exploitation in the Niger Delta), and Rosemary Radford Ruther (Christian theologian focusing on environmental justice)

  • Three field trips to the Skagit River, Cedar River Watershed, and Snoqualmie River; and a gathering entitled, "Francis of Assisi: A Model of Ecological Wisdom", engage Earth Ministry members

  • The National Wildlife Federation gives its Special Achievement Award to Earth Ministry for bringing the spiritual resources of the faith community to the cause of environmental protection

  • Authors William Kittredge and Bill McKibben headline the Celebration of St. Francis

 

1997 - Earth Ministry's 5th Anniversary

  • Earth Ministry presentations too numerous to count!

  • Publication of Simplicity as Compassion: Voluntary Simplicity from a Christian Perspective, and Food, Faith, and Sustianability - forerunners to Simpler Living, Compassionate Life and Food and Faith

  • A second lecture series, co-sponsored by Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry, features Sallie McFague, Larry Rasmussen, and George Tinker

  • William Kittredge speaks at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

1996

  • Earth Ministry reaches over 30 congregations with the message of creation care

  • Colleague program is launched, formalizing partnerships with congregational activists

  • Collaboration with the City of Seattle P-Patch program allows Earth Ministry to sponsor a community supported agriculture venture at the Rainier Vista Housing Project

  • Four "Spiritual Journeys in Nature" hiking, birding, and kayaking field trips provide Earth Ministry members opportunities for spiritual growth in the outdoors

  • Poet Pattiann Rogers, author Richard Nelson, dancer Betsey Beckman and singer/songwriter Dana Lyons are featured at the Celebration of St. Francis

 

1995

  • Earth Ministry makes nearly 30 presentations, including adult education hours, retreats, and workshops in Puget Sound and around the country

  • Frontier of Environmental Theology Lecture Series begins, featuring Vernice Miller, John Cobb, Calvin DeWitt, Richard Cartwright Austin, Sallie McFague, Larry Rasmussen, and Thomas Berry

  • Authors Brenda Peterson and William Dietrich, and interpretive dancer Betsy Beckman keynote the first Celebration of St. Francis

 

1994

  • Earth Ministry expands its presence locally and nationally by launching a Speaker's Bureau

  • Gatherings are hosted on "Eco-Spirituality", "Science, Despair and Hope", "Let Me Tell You as Story, Let Me Sing You a Song", and "Rediscovering Celtic Christianity"

  • First Holden Village retreat

  • Co-sponsorship of a liturgy workshop with the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA

 

1993

  • Preaching/teaching in 13 Puget Sound congregations, 14 presentations in churches and conferences nationwide

  • Earth Ministry produces two workshops, one for ministers and lay leaders in stressed timber towns, the other on play as a learning modality

  • A two-year collaboration with Seattle University results in graduate courses offered as part of the University's Sacred Universe project



1992 - Earth Ministry Founded

  • Six "care of creation" groups are launched in area churches

  • Earth Ministry's Resource Center is started (articles, books, audio/visual materials linking faith and creation care)

  • Preaching/teaching in 21 churches, 11 presentations at events and conferences

  • Earth Letter enters circulation with 3 issues

  • Earth Ministry is represented on the Episcopal Presiding Bishop's Environmental Stewardship Team

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Washington Interfaith Power & Light

IPLEarth Ministry’s Washington Interfaith Power & Light (WAIPL) project organizes an interfaith religious response to global warming. WAIPL is part of a national Interfaith Power & Light movement that is 28 states strong and growing.

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