"Now the green blade rises from the buried grain"
An online publication of the EcoFaith Network NE-MN Synod with Saint Paul Area Synod Care of Creation
Join us for a Conversation on the ELCA Draft Social Message on Climate
The ELCA has released a draft social message on climate that is open for public comment until December 2nd. On Tuesday, November 15th from 7-8, the EcoFaith Network will host an open forum led by Pr. Kristin Foster and Pr. David Carlson, EcoFaith Network co-chairs. Join us for discussion, then submit your own feedback by December 2nd!

Register for the open forum here
Find the draft social message and link for public comment here
Want to act on climate? VOTE
This November, we have the opportunity to show up for our climate. Because the climate action that we need is systemic, voting is the single most impactful thing that each one of us can do to act on climate change.

A recent poll by NPR estimates that a third of climate-concerned voters are planning to sit out the 2022 midterm elections. It's understandable to feel frustrated. But if we don't show up, we guarantee that the change we care about won't happen. Now is the opportune time to elect climate champions who will pass legislation for a liveable future.

Make a plan to vote on/by November 8th, and encourage your family and friends to vote! You can check your voter registration here and learn about elections here.
Upcoming Event: Water is Life
On November 11 and 12, the Johnson Symposium will feature Winona LaDuke and Professor Diane Jacobson at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

The Johnson Symposium on Faith and Society is an annual event in which a leading theologian, scholar, and/or practitioner leads conversations over a two-day period on important issues facing the church and society today. Previous speakers have included Rev. Will Gafney, Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, and former ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson.

Register here by Nov. 4!
Green Blades Rising in Congregations and Synods
Become an EcoFaith Partner Congregation

Dear Companions in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod:
Green blades of care and concern for the creation are arising in congregations throughout our synod and beyond! The EcoFaith Network of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod is nurturing these green blades in a growing web of relationships. In this critical time, God’s call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation is germinating among us!

We invite you to help us nurture this growing ministry by becoming an EcoFaith Network Partner Congregation in 2023. The EcoFaith ministry of our synod is financially supported by congregational and individual donations. We receive no funds through the synod’s budget. Please consider becoming an EcoFaith Partner Congregation in 2023 and make a financial contribution of any amount.

Most important, we want to support your congregation’s efforts and share your stories! Stay connected by appointing one or more EcoFaith liaisons. Tell us what you need!

Read the full invitation here
By Vernita Kennen, Incarnation Lutheran, Shoreview
Saint Paul Area Care of Creation

After procrastinating about it for a few months, my husband and I have signed up as adoptive parents of Vicky Woods - - and two of her sisters!

Vicky I, and her sisters Vicky 2 and Vicky 3 are storm drains on the street which runs along the senior cooperative in which we live. And, yes, we got to name them ourselves when we adopted them.

The process could not have been easier and our only obligation is to keep them clean, removing leaves, trash and other debris off the drain surface year round. We can track our impact by recording the amount of debris collected in our account and even be reminded that it’s time to check the drain again. It’s a small and simple task but one which helps keep our neighborhood looking good while helping prevent local flooding AND protect our shared waterways.

Read the whole article here

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear it! Please email Rachel, EcoFaith Network Communication Coordinator, at ecofaith@nemnsynod.org.
This Fall: Practicing Regeneration with the Whole of Creation

This March, the EcoFaith Network of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod and St. Paul Area Synod Care of Creation along with seven partner organizations hosted a zoom conference entitled Holy Ground, Holy Table: Regenerative Practices for the Wholeness of the Earth. The presenters shared stories from their own remarkable work around food and farming which are now available as recordings, accompanied by original music videos.

Starting in October, we invite you to experience these videos. Share in online conversations, reactions, and ideas about other regenerative practices. Learn how to better support the Creation’s own capacity for regeneration!

Like the discussion page here on Facebook to join in the conversation! Direct links to the videos are here. The speakers for November are Barb Sogn-Frank and Dani Pieratos.

Preaching Roundtable
The Green Blades Preaching Roundtable offers weekly reflections on the ecological implications of each Sunday’s lectionary. This month features the lectionary reflections of Daphne Urban on the inclusion of all creatures in God’s holiness-making, Emily Meyer on pollinator pairings and perspective, David Carlson on being bystanders as standing by the cross, and Greg Kauffman on what Jesus’ injunction to keep awake means in our present moment. May their ecologically attuned reflections be part of the conversation you have with the living Word for each of these Sundays.

To inquire about writing for the Green Blades Preaching Roundtable, or to receive these reflections on a weekly basis, contact Kristin Foster, editor, at revkristinfoster@gmail.com
Pr. Daphne Urban, Bethany Lutheran, Red Lake Falls, MN
All Saints’ Day
November 6, 2022
Luke 6:20-31

Who is kind to everyone and everything they meet? Are you? I want to be. I try to be, but I’m human. It doesn’t happen all the time. In my private, individual American life, I hardly know my neighbors. I’ve never even met many of them. So when it comes to following Jesus, and loving God, I’m not doing the best job of it yet. But when I go out, deep into the woods where my family shack is, I’m a wonderful neighbor to the squirrels, birds, spiders, trees, grasses and all of the nature that God has provided in that space. That is the space that I reflect, pray, refresh and renew in. Those are the trails I walk in, to feel emersed in God’s creation. All of God is around me.

Read the full reflection here
Rev. Emily Meyer, The Ministry Lab
November 13, 2022
Isaiah 65:17-25 and Isaiah 12
Malachi 4:1-2a
Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

What perceptions must be altered - and what spaces transformed - so that the forests and seas, the hills and the oceans can rejoice - and you and your community will be able to perceive that rejoicing, because you participated in God’s rising sun and experienced the healing in its wings?

Like our fledgling roosters, God’s promise is often wrapped in the guise of hardship: many of us who are comfortable in the status quo may struggle to perceive it. It is a matter of perspective - as in, where and how are we situated? Becoming stubble, succumbing to the oven’s heat, betrayal and death - these are only one part of the cycle or one piece of the story - a story that requires a pollinator buddy to reach its full conclusion.

Read the whole reflection here
Pr. David Carlson, Gloria Dei, Duluth
Sunday, November 20
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43

“And the people stood by, watching” (v. 35).  In this dramatic scene with loud scoffing at Jesus on the one hand and a contrite voice petitioning Jesus on the other, do we notice the bystanders? How are they, how are we, being shaped by the one whose words and actions don’t seem, at first, to match the kingly inscription over him?  Many years ago, I attended Lutheran Campus Ministry in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was Good Friday, and Larry Rasmussen, a Lutheran professor from Union Seminary in New York, was our guest preacher – and he mentioned these bystanders.  He shared a poem written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Christians and Pagans,” which speaks about how God goes to everyone who is in need, hearing prayers, granting forgiveness to all who call out, but it is the faithful who “stand by God in his hour of grieving.”  I’ll never forget how he ended that sermon.  “Will we stand by God,” he asked, “or will we just stand by?”  

The same question can be asked about that which God loves – those in need, our neighbor, and the earth – toward which we also need to be converted and reconciled.

Read the whole reflection here
Pastor Greg Kauffman, Eau Claire area, Wisconsin
November 27, 2022
Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122,
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Isaiah is one of the four canonical written 8th century prophets. In chapter 1, Isaiah attacks worship (no matter how well done) devoid of justice, and declares that God simply can’t endure it any longer! He calls for the nation to “cease to do evil and learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

Our text from Isaiah 2 follows, and imagines that “In the days to come” the nations will stream to Jerusalem in order to be taught God’s ways, and that weapons of war will be converted to farming implements. What might God’s ways look like in regard to God’s creation? 

Read the whole reflection here
Connections with Creation

November 6 – All Saints Sunday
Jesus’ life and teaching occur largely outdoors, amid birds, lilies, lakeshores, and sprouting seeds that populate his parables. In the broader context of the gospel reading, Jesus comes down the mountain and there, under the wide Galilean sky, speaks of blessings and woes to his newly called disciples. On All Saints Sunday, we celebrate the power of God’s grace to make holy even lost sinners like you and me. In The Art of the Commonplace (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2003), Wendell Berry writes, “We are holy creatures living among other holy creatures in a world that is holy. Some people know this, and some do not. Nobody, of course, knows it all the time. But what keeps it from being far better known than it is?” The saints of God look to their human and nonhuman neighbors and see fellow creatures sustained by a common gift of grace: “Thanks be to God.”

Read all Connections with Creation for November and December
EcoFaith Book Corner
EcoFaith Book of the Month
Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World
by Karen Armstrong

The tie in to the environment is in the introduction: “While it is essential to cut carbon emissions and heed the warning of scientists, we need to learn not only how to act differently but also how to think differently about the natural world. We need to recover a veneration of nature that human beings carefully cultivated for millennia; if we fail to do this, our concern for the natural environment will remain superficial.”

I am reminded of a verse in the hymn: “This is my Father’s World.” “This is my Father’s world;he shines in all that’s fair. In the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me every-where.” Perhaps if we sit still and silently in the natural world, we will begin to understand that it is sacred because God is everywhere present in it.

Read the whole review here

This book review is by John Hanson, a retired pastor living on Turtle Lake, north of Grand Rapids, with his wife, Linda. He is a member of the NE MN Synod EcoFaith Leadership Team.

Looking for a book group? Here is an option in the Duluth area or online!

BOOK DISCUSSION, Nov 16-17 - The Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum of the College of St. Scholastica offers study groups on environmental stewardship and religion & science, facilitated by Pastor David Carlson. These sessions explore a variety of spiritual perspectives that recognize our deep creaturely interrelatedness, lament our negative impact on the earth’s well-being, and highlight our vocation as stewards. This month, we are reading chapters in Sacred Nature: Restoring our Ancient Bond with the Natural World by Karen Armstrong (2022). Meetings are planned from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov 16 via Zoom, and in-person on Thursday, Nov 17 at Chester Creek Café in Duluth. For more information or a link, contact pastor@gloriadeiduluth.org

This Month's Green Tips
Green Tips this month feature tips on
  • saving money while you help the planet (and the federal government programs that help) by Laura Raedeke 
  • energy efficiency tips from Laurie Windisch
  • the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and challenges for its future by Steve Spigarelli
This Month's Green Tips

Use these in your congregation's bulletins, Facebook pages, websites, or newsletters!

Here are Laura Raedeke's Green Tips from Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa

Here are John McDonald's Earth Stewardship Tips from Gloria Dei, Duluth

Here are tips from Laurie Windisch and the Environmental Stewardship Team of St. Andrew's, Mahtomedi

Here are Steve Spigarelli's
Green Tips from First Lutheran, Aitkin

Read. Watch. Listen. Share!
The EcoFaith Network NEMN Synod 
Living out God's call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation. 
SPAS Care of Creation
We are called to care for God's creation as a central part of our Christian faith and identity.