Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2010
Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God’s Earth shares stories and strategies of people of faith working to integrate the environment into their ministries. This book reveals how a focus on God’s earth transforms both people and congregations, creating more relevant and powerful ministries for today. As a result, people of faith are creating a new environmental movement with a moral mandate to care for God’s good earth.
This book highlights eight key ministries: protecting human dignity, responding to natural disasters, seeking justice, bearing witness, making a pilgrimage, feeding the hungry, creating sacred spaces, and educating youth. With two daughters in tow, author Mallory McDuff traveled across the country to document diverse environmental actions grounded in faith, from installing solar panels at Kanuga Camp and Conference Center to training parishioners in environmental advocacy through the organization Earth Ministry. In turn, this journey transformed the author’s own faith and hope for a sustainable future. Congregations and individuals seeking to integrate care of creation into their faith community will find inspiration and concrete advice in the lives of the natural saints revealed in each chapter.
Earth Ministry’s Chapter
Chapter 8 of Natural Saints focuses on bearing witness and features the advocacy work of Earth Ministry as well as interviews with a host of faith leaders in Seattle. You may recognize people and places such as LeeAnne Beres and her staff in the office of Earth Ministry, a trip to an Interfaith Advocacy Day meeting in Jessie Dye’s Subaru, the garden and a visit with Rev. Rich Lang at Trinity United Methodist Church, the words of Rev. Lisa Domke on a panel about faith and climate change, and the basement with the best view of Puget Sound at St. John United Lutheran Church.
Other Success Stories
At La Capilla de Santa Maria in North Carolina, Latino immigrants weatherized their church in an effort to decrease the utility bills that consumed 20% of the church’s annual budget. At Jubilee Community Church, the education coordinator and parents revised the Sunday School curriculum to integrate care of creation for all age levels. At All People’s Church in inner city Milwaukee, the sanctuary became a free farmer’s market on Sundays with produce grown by youth. And in New Orleans, St. John Baptist Church rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina using green techniques thanks to a grant from the National Council of Churches.
Sales of Natural Saints support Earth Ministry’s environmental advocacy efforts. Purchase a copy for yourself, your pastor, and members of your congregation’s green team…it’s a must read for anyone interested in the growing religious environmental movement!