2009 Celebration of St. Francis: Creation Care Sermon Contest
On September 26, 2009, over 100 members and friends of Earth Ministry celebrated the Feast of St. Francis with a celebratory evening of worship featuring a sermon contest at University Lutheran Church. In this year's contest, four finalists were selected to present their inspired messages calling the Christian community to action on behalf of God's good creation. Each sermon presented was unique and provided a different perspective on the ways we can be called to care for creation through our faith traditions. We all appreciated their words and took them to heart.
The winners of this year's sermon contest were selected by the attendees of the event who voted with their dollars. Two awards were presented, the Franciscan Philanthropist Award, to the contestant whose sermon raised the most money in support of Earth Ministry's work and mission, and the People's Choice Award, to the contestant who received the most number of votes regardless of the amount of money donated.
The Irresistible, Sustainable Future* by Elizabeth Freese, Austin Texas *Winner of the Franciscan Philanthropist Award
Text: Psalm 118 and Palm Sunday Gospel
Compares the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly to today's economic and social changes and the certainty and hope of God's Kindom coming through Jesus' death and resurrection.
May St. Francis Speak to Us Anew by Jeanie Graustein, New Haven, CT
Explores the values and prayers of St. Francis in light of contemporary scientific understanding.
Keepers of God's Beloved World*, by Rev. Anne Hall, Seattle, WA
*Winner of the People's Choice Award
Text: John 3:14-21
Calls for action to end climate change by examining the world's state in light of the most popular verse in the Bible, "For God so loved the world."
Christ the Hope for All Creation...and Humans, Too by Rev. Dr. Henry Langknecht
Text: John 20:19-31
Asks the question, "How much did Thomas see before he believed?" If Jesus scars are humanity's and the earth's scars too, then God's mission in the universe extends forgiveness, reconciliation, and wholeness to all of creation.
Congratulations to Elizabeth, Anne, Jeanie, and Hank!
We were blessed that all four of them could join us to honor the spirit of St. Francis. And many thanks to all who entered the contest this year. The judges had a difficult time narrowing their choices to just four finalists and the final votes were very close as the audience determined the winners.
The two winning sermons will be published in the Winter Issue of Earth Letter and all four sermons can be read on our website.
In addition to the sermon contest, the University Lutheran worship team provided beautiful creation-themed music for the evening and thirty-three Greening Congregations were recognized and blessed in their good work.
This year we welcomed a record 11 new congregations to the Greening Congregations Program:
Bellevue First United Methodist Church, Bellevue, WA
Edmonds United Methodist Church, Edmonds, WA
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Mercer Island, WA
Flagstaff Federated Community Church, Flagstaff, AZ
Kirkland Congregational UCC, Kirkland, WA
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Port Angeles, WA
St. Augustine's-in-the-Woods, Freeland, WA
St. James Catholic Cathedral, Seattle, WA
St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Bellevue, WA
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Port Townsend, WA
Wooden Cross Lutheran Church, Woodinville, WA
Congratulations to our newest Greening Congregations!
While the votes were being tallied from the sermon contest, those gathered viewed the touching film, "Irreplaceable" from the Wildlife in a Warming World DVD, which is available for free to churches through Earth Ministry.
Thanks to all who attended and supported Earth Ministry. We raised over $4600 in support of religious environmental stewardship!