"Everybody who sees you, Bishop Patricia, takes notice." These were the words that Bishop-elect [...]
by Vernita Kennen
April brings another two celebrations that seem to be tied tightly together. Arbor Day has been with us since 1872 while Earth Day is a more recent observance begun in 1970. Both are important as we ponder what it is that God asks of us as followers of Jesus and people who live as Easter people.
Both of these celebrations and observances are designed to inspire us and make us aware of our natural environment. They ask us to take notice of our earth and its environment. They ask us to both celebrate and pay attention. And we, as Christians, can make these designated days ones which we are especially grateful to a gracious God who created the earth and left it in the care of mere humans.
While Earth Day is celebrated more or less on a worldwide basis, Arbor Day is more of a United States' holiday. It was begun in Nebraska in 1872 and became a legal holiday there in 1885. That's quite a legacy of encouraging attention to the environment and encouraging support for planting trees. Other states also celebrate the day but choose which date and/or time of year is best for tree planting.
For more than ten years, Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program) has developed Earth Day resources that provide educational information, worship resources, sermon starters, and stories & activities that highlight various aspects of God’s creation. The 2015 resource will focus on how our changing climate impacts food security and how our food choices impact climate change. This resource will be expanded to include even more tools for pastors, educators, and worship leaders to learn and teach about how our climate is affecting the food that we eat and those that grow it.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-827-3975 to request a copy of the 2015 Earth Day resource. To find ELCA resources on climate change, food security and other stewardship issues, visit ELCA.org.