The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector , St. Columba's
Episcopal Church
Washington, DC
Dear Ministry Leaders,

Caring for God's creation is a biblical injunction. Not only are we called upon to be stewards of our earthly home for its own sake, we are also charged with protecting the most vulnerable of God's people, who are often those most affected by environmental degradation and climate change.

In recognition of this, the Episcopal Church, in 2015, adopted a resolution to promote environmental sustainability. Long before this resolution was adopted, St. Columba's was in the forefront of introducing environmentally responsible practices, mostly in an ad hoc and spontaneous manner, often at the initiative of individuals or the Environment Committee. Achieving environmental sustainability requires action on many fronts. An important way that each of us can contribute is by changing our consumption patterns and reducing waste. To this end, in June 2016, the Vestry officially endorsed the goal of zero-waste. This means that all of us, vestry, clergy, staff and ministry groups are now called upon to reduce waste in facility operations, church services and other activities. As a community, we are committed to reducing the use of disposables, promoting reuse, composting organics and recycling materials when reuse and composting are not feasible. Zero waste practices have multiple positive impacts. They reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and other resources for production, transportation, packaging and waste treatment; they reduce the environmental degradation caused by waste disposal; and composting returns rich nutrients to our gardens and farms, eliminating the need for artificial fertilizers.

Many of you have already called upon the Environment Committee to help you organize zero-waste events. I am now calling on you to integrate zero-waste into your ministry on a routine basis. This will require some creativity and adapting but, with practical support and prayer, I am confident that we can do this. For the practical support, the Environment Committee stands ready to provide hands-on coaching to you and your ministry members and has created "zero-waste kits" for you to use once you are familiar with the practices. Please consider inviting an Environment Committee member to one of your regular meetings to give a 10-minute demonstration and answer your questions. 

Regarding prayer, consider bringing care for the earth into your ministry group's prayers and spiritual reflections by contemplating how your ministry connects participants with all of creation. An excellent collection of prayers for this purpose is available in our own Craig Eder Library: Earth prayers from around the world: 365 prayers, poems, and invocations for honoring the earth (call number 291.2 Rob). Thank you for your role in furthering this vital effort at St. Columba's.


St. Columba's | 4201 Albemarle St., NW | Washington, DC 20016 |