In this work, Sallie McFague unites her love of hagiography, the study of the saints, and the urgent need to address overconsumption in the economy and the environment. McFague suggests a close study of lives of the saints. Here specifically, she considers Simone Weil, John Woolman, and Dorothy Day, in the hope that contemporary believers may find a path from belief to faith-inspired action. A kenotic lifestyle, one of self-emptying, the author sees reflected in the lives of the saints considered here. She sees the unified path to kenosis inspired by the “wild space” of voluntary poverty, the awakening of the saint through this poverty to material needs of others, the increase in view of the self to include a universal self, and finally the connection of the kenotic lifestyle to the personal and public spheres of life.
Speaking specifically to middleclass readers, McFague condemns the complacent comfort in which we live that destroys God’s creation, human and nature alike. She calls for a radical understanding of the divine incarnation and expansion of the self to include the universal. An unsettling of traditional theology in favor of recognition that kenotic love is that which fuels the universe is the good news that can oppose the crisis in the economy and environment. McFague brilliantly weaves the example of the saints with our own call to action which must, like the saints discussed, be personal and public.
The Christian Church sees their mission to move toward wholeness for the whole world as directly connected to their commitment to creation care. Their resource page offers links to connect with Green Chalice, a partnering ministry that is the official creation care ministry for The Christian Church. Links to further reading, resources for mindful eating, and the Alverna Covenant (a creation care covenant) can also be found on the page.
The Seminary Hill Farm is a ministry on the campus of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). Made of fields, hoop houses, and a greenhouse, the farm works to provide fresh food throughout the year to the Seminary Hill Kitchen, a three-season community supported agriculture (CSA), and local farmers markets. The work of the seminary hill farm supports sustainable practices and MTSO’s commitment to faithful earth stewardship. You can also follow their blog that features articles on eating fresh local produce and life at the farm.
The PIN Garden Ministry at Asbury United Methodist Church was started in 2007 to provide fresh produce to People In Need, a service organization in Delaware County. It is tended to by parishioners and intentionally includes children in the maintenance of the garden as a way to extend youth ministry into the outdoor classroom.
Not only do more traditionally organized faith communities create community gardens, but Derbyshire Place is an example of a faith-based community center that is also getting involved in community gardening.
Breaking ground in 2019, the goal of this community garden is to increase accessibility to fresh fruits and vegetables for families who may have difficulty affording fresh produce at the grocery store. Leaders also hope it will give an opportunity for inter-generational community conversation.
The Fossil Free United Methodist Church is on a mission to get the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church to invest in clean energy companies. Their website highlights what they are doing in their congregations and potentially your congregation.
On their website you will find their strategy to educate, support and converse with individuals, congregations, the General Conference and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. They’ve posted blogs of what they’ve done and progress that they have made on their mission to clean energy. You will also find a webinar that you can schedule with your group along with other resources to support the fossil free mission. Fossil Free UMC addresses the effects of fossil fuel divestments but promotes the long term benefits of investing in fossil free energy on their legislation page.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is a non-profit organization that aims to alleviate human suffering around the world. They are a ministry through the General Board of Global Ministries that believe all people have God-given worth. They advocate for hope and healing in more than 80 countries around the globe. One of their initiatives is to work towards sustainable agriculture and food security.
This program focuses on partnering with organizations that empower families and communities to create self-help and sustainable solutions to food security. They are currently partnering with eighteen organizations to implement food security projects in twenty-two countries including the United States. Their key priorities include:
Providing resources and technical support rural families need to grow or buy enough food to maintain a healthy and productive life.
Building the capacity of farmers, pastoralists and fishermen to reverse the trend of poor land and water resource management.
Strengthening the impact of agricultural projects by improving household health and nutrition behaviors with a specific focus on pregnant women and children under age 5.
Supporting the introduction and use of appropriate agricultural technology that is suitable to the knowledge, skills, capacities, interest, and economics of people and communities.
In conjunction with these priorities, the UMCOR places a focus on nutrition. Through their sustainable agriculture and food security program, they educate farmers, raise awareness of global undernutrition, and urge governments in developing nations to support sustainable agriculture. Additionally, they endorse the Scale up Nutrition framework which works to improve nutrition around the globe, especially in young children. Their initiative, called the 1,000 Days Movement, works to improve the nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life which can have an exponential impact on the future of these lives. The UMCOR encourages faith communities to support and work with the Scale Up Nutrition movement and assist in the end of undernutrition through sustainable agriculture.
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. They are defined by its five areas of ministry: Public Witness, Advocacy Administration, Ministry of Resourcing Congregational Life, United Nations Ministry, and Communications. Their website contains ways to get connected, topics to explore, and ways to take action.
Bill is a retired United Methodist Minister from Ohio. He spent much of his ministry teaching at MTSO (Methodist Theological School in Ohio). He is a graduate of The Ohio State University (B.S. in Educ. and Ph. D.) and of MTSO (M. Div.). His involvement with the Climate Justice Movement began in 2014. During that time he has been active on the Creation Care Taskforce of The West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and in Fossil Free UMC.
The United Methodist Church addresses environmental issues in a different way. They call their page that focuses on these issues: Social Principles, The Natural World. Through this, you can find information about the Methodists viewpoints on water, energy, animal life, or even space.
The Seminary Hill Farm website includes the following information on their community supported agriculture program:
"Transforming the traditional model of a CSA program, our program follows a new model that allows you to choose what items you would like week to week without having to commit to the entire season. Once the season begins, simply choose the items you would like to enjoy in your kitchen that week by visiting our website and meet us at one of our convenient locations to pick up your honestly fresh ingredients. We will have the items properly washed, packed and ready for you to take home and celebrate."
General Board of Global Ministries discuss their vision and span of their work on their website. Their areas of impact run the gamut for a multitude of environmental and social justice issues:
"Connection is at the core of our work. Global Ministries connects The United Methodist Church, its people and congregations to partner with others engaged in God’s global work, which takes place in a variety of settings, countries and cultures.
Global Ministries works through missionaries and partners in more than 60 countries around the world. "
Boston University School of Theology participates in the Green Seminary Initiative. In addition to their larger mission (as stated on their website at https://www.bc.edu/content/bc-web/schools/stm.html), the GSI website describes their environmental efforts:
"Located in Boston, MA, Boston University School of Theology is a United Methodist seminary with broad ecumenical connections, including Episcopal and United Church of Christ Communities of Learning. BU has been actively working toward ecological justice since 2008, and built green initiatives into their strategic plan in 2010. BU brings to the Green Seminary Initiative an expertise in how to imagine what is possible as a theological school embedded in a large university that is also committed to ecological sustainability. They also exemplify what it means to transform curriculum and communal practice, and renovate aged buildings."
Boston University School of Theology strives to infuse care of the earth into all aspects of theological education.
Claremont School of Theological participates in the Green Seminary Initiative. In addition to their larger mission (as stated on their website at https://cst.edu/), the GSI website describes their environmental efforts:
"Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, CA, is a United Methodist Church seminary. Ecological sustainability has been a priority for the school since the tenure of Professor John Cobb, an early eco-theologian who began work at Claremont in 1960. Claremont held its first conference on the environmental crisis in 1971. The leaders of Claremont’s Green Team, Dr. Philip Clayton and Kristin Ritzau, shared with GSI that they see the certification process as a way to become a place of ecological education and empowerment for seminary leaders, students, and community members in Southern California. Claremont enters the program eager to share its curriculum and syllabi from multiple eco-classes and programs."
Claremont School of Theology strives to infuse care of the earth into all aspects of theological education.
Drew Theological School participates in the Green Seminary Initiative. In addition to their larger mission (as stated on their website at https://www.drew.edu/theological-school/), the GSI website describes their environmental efforts:
"Drew Theological School, a seminary of the United Methodist Church and part of Drew University in Madison, NJ, hosts The Green Seminary Initiative. Professor Laurel Kearns heads the Green Team, which also includes Dr. Catherine Keller and Dr. Heather Elkins on the faculty. All three publish, teach, and lecture on topics related to theology and eco-justice, joined by several other faculty who bring environmental concerns into their classes. Recently, eco-justice began to be integrated throughout the curriculum, building on almost two dozen courses with an ecological focus, including several required courses. Students can focus on religion and ecology in all degree programs. Drew’s other environmental initiatives include environmental justice field trips, native species and integrated pest management, water bottle refilling stations, reusable cutlery and sustainable food options. The campus includes a community garden, arboretum, labyrinth, native species planting, and a forest. The school is particularly proficient in establishing environmental policies to guide its institutional practices, and integrating environmental themes into chapel services, curriculum, speakers, cross-cultural trips, and broad social justice work."
Drew Theological School strives to infuse care of the earth into all aspects of theological education.
Methodist Theological School in Ohio participates in the Green Seminary Initiative. In addition to their larger mission (as stated on their website at https://www.mtso.edu/), the GSI website describes their environmental efforts through the following excerpts:
"MTSO has a Sustainability and Land Initiative, which includes Seminary Hill Farm, a certified organic farm that makes it possible for MTSO to incorporate environmental learning into student life. This farm plays a prominent role in the school’s Ecology and Social Justice specialization."
"The Sustainability and Land Initiative seeks to further MTSO’s aspiration to 'prepare and invigorate transformational leaders to engage the church and the world in leadership and service' by creating a 'sustainable campus plan which establishes a model for theological education through the cultivation of sustainable teaching and learning communities on our land.' Current practices in sustainability include 90% of all food served in Dunn Dining Hall being sourced from organic and humane farms within 50 miles of campus, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and commitments to urban farming partners in nearby Columbus. The campus has also installed geothermal heating/cooling and solar panels to power its administration and academic buildings."
Methodist Theological School in Ohio strives to infuse care of the earth into all aspects of theological education, including its offering of eight distinct religious-environmental courses.