Creation Care as a Sign of Hope - St. John United Church of Christ
“It’s encouraging to have the creation-church connection institutionalized to give some sign of hope. This is Isaiah speaking, giving us a sign of hope in a land that’s been desecrated.”
Surrounded by the waters of Lake Superior on an island in LaPointe, Wisconsin, St. John’s United Church of Christ stands on Ojibwe sacred grounds. This place is beautiful and meditative, a reminder of the pressing need to care for the earth. When former environmental educator and current Pastor Marina Lachecki came to this congregation, the transition was easy, “I brought care of the earth as a goal to the congregation. However, since the community was already sensitive to these issues, I just needed to tap into the interest.”
With Pastor Lachecki’s leadership, St. John’s became very focused on creation-centered liturgy. Every July, St. John’s encourages all churches in the basin to celebrate Lake Superior Sunday. During this service, the congregation prays over the water and blesses it along the shores of Lake Superior. They have been joined by the local Ojibwe tribal members, recognizing earth care is inclusive of all faith traditions. Pastor Lachecki hopes that as “earth stewardship becomes ever-present, it will eventually become integrative.” Besides their focus on liturgy, St. John’s holds rummage sales, uses green cleaning products, tends a memorial garden with a bench viewing Lake Superior, and has a weave and pottery shop attached to the church where they incorporate recycled and earth materials.
Pastor Lachecki gains her energy in knowing that she is not alone. She has the support of her congregation and a great community committed to stewardship. She also gains support from organizations such as Earth Ministry. “It’s encouraging to have the creation-church connection institutionalized to give some sign of hope. This is Isaiah speaking, giving us a sign of hope in a land that’s been desecrated.” In the future, St. John’s UCC hopes to put in solar panels not only to be good stewards, but to serve as a witness to visiting tourists.