Creation Care

sustainabilitybinoculars 1Recently through a sustainabiltiy workshop, our congregation gained a new perspective of our relationship to Earth and all it's inhabitants. As a result, a new Creation Care ministry was born at First Lutheran. New recycle bins have been added throughout the building. We have begun composting coffee grounds and other scraps from the kitchen. We have consulted with our energy provider on ways we can conserve energy. Stay tuned! More to come as this exciting and important ministry continues to grow! Contact Sunni Richardson, Director of Discipleship, if you have a passion for the environment and would like to get involved. 

 

Changes in Our Building

  • Use reusable items (e.g. plates, cups, glasses, silverware, serving trays) whenever possible. Please use paper items if you bring your own to use at church.
  • Sunday morning coffee is now served in reusable products. Instructions are available. Please consider signing up to help serve coffee on Sunday mornings. When you choose to use paper products please look for ways to reduce your waste. Please use real silverware. Instructions for the dishwasher are posted on the cupboard above the dishwasher. If you have any questions, ask one of the staff members.
  • Compost bins are available in the kitchen for coffee grounds along with compost barrels outdoors. Instructions can be found on the containers and on the cupboard doors.
  • Recycling cans are located in all classrooms. New recycle and trash bins are located in the kitchen. Bins for other common spaces are coming. Recycle bins are blue and marked as to what we can recycle.
  • Please turn lights off when you are finished with a room. Help us conserve energy.
  • Thanks for helping us do a better job of caring for creation!

Environmental Advocacy

Do you sometimes think you'd like to do something for the environment, but you're not sure what? Download this handout for suggestions of some simple things you can do or incorporate into your lifestyle which advocate for the environment. 

Outdoor Classroom

First Lutheran's certified Outdoor Classroom, located on the southeast corner of the property, is certified as a National Arbor Day Foundation Nature Explore Classroom.

ne-a certifiedclassroom1The Arbor Day Foundation, along with the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, recognizes First Lutheran as a growing network of schools and organizations committed to reconnecting children with nature. 

The Outdoor Classroom connects people of all ages to the wonders of Creation. Designed by a professional landscape architect and birthed through generous donations of time and materials, this garden, outdoor classroom and quiet space became a reality in 2010. The area serves as an outdoor classroom for First Learning Center, FaithTrek and Vacation Bible School, and offers adults a welcoming shaded place for reading, reflection, meditation and small group gatherings.

Registered as a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat, the Outdoor Classroom includes a butterfly way station, a bird bath and ornamental bird houses, and features plants which provide shelter and food sources for wildlife.

In the springtime, vibrant clusters of daffodils and tulips, planted by preschoolers and volunteers, welcome visitors. Hostas, dogwood bushes, burning bush shrubs, dozens of flowering perennials, newly-planted maples and a redbud compliment mature trees. Child-sized tables, chairs and benches were hand-crafted by a friend of the congregation. Log armchairs offer comfortable seating for adults. A free-standing loom invites weavers of all ages to experiment with textures found in nature.

weavingChildren delight in using areas specifically planned for digging and planting, music and movement, sand play, balancing and art. Miniature bricks and natural building materials, a "gizmo wall," "whispering tube" and opportunities to play freely in the central grassy area offer countless possibilities.

The Outdoor Classroom is available for use by the congregation. It is accessible from the interior of the church from the hallway near the stairway to the nursery and preschool classrooms. For their safety, please be sure children are accompanied by an adult and that both gates are closed. Feel free to give the plants a drink while you are outdoors and please pick up any litter and report to the office any repairs you may see needed.

Water Well Project

dscn2930When we have a threatening ice or snowstorm, grocery stores are inundated with shoppers stocking up on bottled water in case electricity is lost. We are lucky to have easy access to water, especially clean water. In other places around the world, people have to spend 6+ hours each day walking to and from their only available water source. The First Lutheran Creation Care Team kicked off the drive with the Earth Day Celebration in April, 2016, by challenging the congregation to raise $2500 for a water well for a village somewhere in the world through the ELCA Good Gifts program. Individuals and families saved their "change to make a change" in water jugs throughout the year. All the collected change and other donations were counted and the results of the campaign were announced in worship on Sunday, January 15, 2017. Over $3,900 was raised by First Lutheran! Since our announcement additional donations were received to not only raise up one well, but two wells!With thanks and praise, lives will be forever changed because of the generosity of many. Thank you!

Trees for Tanzania CampaignDSCN6812a

Our 2017 Earth Day Celebration celebrated the gift of trees. The Trees for Tanzania campaign was kicked off with the goal of providing 5000 trees. This campaign is part of a larger
 worldwide effort to head off an environmental disaster in Tanzania. You can read more about the need and campaign on the Trees for Tanzania webpage. 

Resources

The following resources are recommended for those interested in learning more about sustainability and creation care:

Books:
Claiming Earth as Common Ground - The Ecological Crisis through the Lens of Faith. This author is the one quoted above about "the environmental crisis is a manifestation of a spiritual problem."
The Green Bible. Includes inspirational essays by key leaders that will help you se caring for the earth as a calling and lifestyle.
Love God Heal Earth - 21 Leading Religious Voices Speak Out on Our Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment. Comes out of Interfaith Power and Light and has chapters by people from different religious traditions and across the Christian spectrum.
Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World, by Wangari Maathai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Faith based resources: 
Green Faith www.greenfaith.org
Lutherans Restoring Creation www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org
Interfaith Power and Light www.interfaithpowerandlight.org
Awakening to God's Call to EarthKeeping www.elca.org
Earth Ministry www.earthministry.org

Lincoln based sustainability resources:
Cleaner Greener Lincoln - http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/mayor/energy/sustainable-lincoln.htm
University of Nebraska – Lincoln - http://sustainability.unl.edu/
Lincoln Green By Design - http://www.lincolngreenbydesign.com/
Buy Fresh Buy Local - http://food.unl.edu/localfoods/home
CROPS (Community Crops) - http://www.communitycrops.org/
Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, NE -http://www.chelincoln.org/
Lincoln Electric System - http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=NE13F&re=0&ee=0
Sustainability Leadership Institute (Numerous Organizations) – College of St. Mary, others - http://www.sustainabilityleadershipinstitute.org/partners.php
UNL Water for Food Institute - http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/
Open Harvest Coop - http://openharvest.coop/

Children & Family Resources

The Lorax; Dr. Seuss. A classic about caring for the earth.
I Can Save the Earth; Alison Inches. Max, the little monster, who is an environmental nightmare, learns that he can make a difference.
Water; Frank Asch. Amazing art and a lesson on water's beauty and usefulness.
Compost Stew; An A to Z Recipe for the Earth; Mary McKenna Siddals. Discover the best ingredients for successful composting.