An online publication of the EcoFaith Network NE-MN Synod with St. Paul Area Synod Care of Creation
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.
Held in the Motions of God's Hands
a reflection by Melissa Foster
It’s not easy for our mom to talk these days, but when she talks, we listen. A couple weeks ago, I walked in on a phone call between our older sister, Kristin, and Mom. She was remarking to Kristin, “Not everyone celebrates the fact that we are all held in the motion of God’s hands. Kristin’s response was, “Yes, but we are all held whether we realize it or not.”

On these crystalline September days, we see nature shimmering in the motion of God’s hands. On one of the last days of the summer season, I was sitting on the steps in Michigan overlooking the place where our mother brought us every summer. The lake was glittering, the waves rippling rhythmically up the shoreline, and the soft sand was radiating a gentle warmth. Her words came back to me. “Held in the motion of God’s hands” -- and I was celebrating like mad! I felt the love my mother and father had poured into us, their deep delight in helping us bond with nature and each other every summer, despite the sacrifices that had to be made. This place was and is Good.

Read the whole reflection here
Green Blades Rising in Congregations and Synods
This past July Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Stillwater Care of Creation Team did a tabling event on alternatives to single-use plastics. Recognizing that a “plastic-free” July, avoiding the use of all plastic for a month, is not realistic, congregants were encouraged to reduce their use of single use plastic for a month. Across the earth, the annual amount of single use plastics weighs approximately 150 million tons, nearly as much as half the total weight of the earth’s human population. And since many plastics take centuries to break down, the accumulative effects are staggering! It was clear that a positive impact could be made by educating and motivating the congregants.

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
Coming 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 on-line 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! Links and guiding questions for October are here.

Preaching Roundtable
The Green Blades Preaching Roundtable offers weekly reflections on the ecological echoes, implications, and intersections of each Sunday's lectionary. Contact Kristin Foster, editor, at to inquire about writing or to be added to the weekly email list.

Welcome to four new contributors to the roundtable from the Northwest Wisconsin Synod and the Oregon Synod! With Karen Behling's reflection on water for October 9, Gary Hedding's reflection on perseverance and place for October 16, Paul Strike's reflection on the centrality of confession for October 23, and Nathan Aaseng's reflections on freedom for Reformation Day, we deepen our own awareness of the ecological echoes and implications of the texts on these Sundays. 
Pr. Karen Behling, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
October 9, 2022
2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c 

Namaan is instructed through the prophet Elisha to go and wash in the waters of the Jordan. It is a simple message, delivered indirectly, and Namaan is offended. Can such a simple remedy bring healing? Surely there must be more to it than that!

Read the whole reflection here
Rev. Gary Hedding, retired pastor in WI and IA
October 16, 2022
Gen 32:22-31
Ps 121
2 Tim 3:14-4:5
Luke 18:1-8

I am struck by two themes in these texts that relate to our relationships and stewardship of the creation of which we are a part: Place and Perseverance.

I became aware of Holy Place in my first parish. Prince of Peace Lutheran Church is in the village of Coloma, WI. The congregation had a building that most people recognized as being wildly impractical for worship, education, or fellowship. Situated at the top of the hill in the village, there were eight steps people needed to climb to get to the worship area (yes, I am aware of at least two coffins dropped by pall bearers and several falls in the winter on these steps), and from there you could get to the basement education/fellowship area and bathrooms by descending 14 steps - if you were healthy enough.

Read the whole reflection here
Pr. Paul McLean Strike, New Life Lutheran Church, Florence, Oregon
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Luke 18:9-14
Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22
Psalm 84:1-7
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

For us readers and contributors to Green Blades Rising, our place at the intersection of church and environmental concern colors this Sunday’s gospel passage. Namely, the Pharisee embodies the self-righteous stereotype that dogs both Jesus followers and tree huggers, alike. 

What might serve as a bridge between these two camps—the truly self-righteous and those resistant to the in-breaking of Gospel? How about the foundational act of the Lukan passage: Confession?

Read the whole reflection here
Nathan Aaseng, microbiologist, author, and parish pastor
Reformation Day, October 30, 2022
John 8:31-36

Jesus says in our Gospel passage that we do not have to be locked into the old ways of doing things that have always produced division and injustice and wars and want and starvation. We can get free of that. We can do that by remembering that just as the descendants of Abraham were slaves in Egypt and God led them out of bondage to freedom, so too, we have been slaves to wealth and to the fear and selfishness that keeps the world in turmoil. We can remember that Jesus shows us a way out of that to the promised land.  
Reformation Day is a good time to reflect on this Gospel lesson. The Reformation was a bold attempt to recover our memory of the God who loves and redeems us. It was a daring initiative to use that memory to break loose from the shackles that bound the church to a false past filled with failure, and a present filled with failure. It was an attempt to stand up and say “yes” to God’s offer of a new future, lived in the reflection of God’s mercy.

Read the whole reflection here
Connections with Creation

October 2 – 17th Sunday after Pentecost / Lectionary 27
The story of the mustard seed conveys the tenacity of life and faith. The seed and the “shrub” that grows from it are not impressive to the eye, but they are plucky and tenacious. Given water, sunlight, and even the most marginal soil, life begins to spring forth. Biophilia is the love of life, naming God’s relationship to the creation God speaks into existence and calls good. Might biophilia also name life’s tenacious desire to be, and might this also point back to the Creator in love? The Greek novelist Nikos Kazanzakis wrote, “I said to the almond tree, ‘Speak to me of God,’ and the almond tree blossomed.” Mustard starts small, grows quickly, shelters birds, and becomes a sturdy plant that speaks to us of God, whose kingdom has taken root among us.

Read all Connections with Creation for October and November
EcoFaith Book Corner
EcoFaith Book of the Month
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future
by Mary Robinson

The title of Mary Robinson’s book sets the theme concisely. She powerfully and anecdotally brings together the threat of climate change and how it affects real people, threatening, not only their way of life, but their very lives. Robinson effectively puts skin on the problem that the warming of the planet is posing for millions of people globally, mostly poor and disenfranchised populations who are victims and not causes of climate change.

Robinson weaves the disastrous threat of climate change with the real life stories of people whose lives have been disrupted by climate change, and what they are trying to do about it.The personal stories Robinson outlines reveal two things. There are real threats to the very existence of some peoples and their traditional ways of life. Secondly, Robinson shows how the individuals she writes about are finding ways to combat climate change and educate people on how to live more sustainable lives.

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 are some options in the Duluth area!

EARTH HARMONY, Oct 13 - The Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum of the College of St. Scholastica offers a study group on environmental stewardship, 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 The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist's Guide to the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac (2021). An in-person meeting is planned from 8:00-9:00 a.m. at Chester Creek Café in Duluth. For more information contact Pastor Carlson, 

RELIGION & SCIENCE IN DIALOGUE, Oct 19 - Through the College of St. Scholastica, Pastor Carlson facilitates a monthly discussion group in the community on the topic of Religion and Science. The group is lively and engaging and connects our readings with current events and daily life. Newcomers are welcome! This month, we’re reading chapters in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari (2018). A Zoom meeting is planned from 8:00-9:00 a.m. Contact Pastor Carlson for the link,

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;  Money While You Help the Planet
  • the remarkable benefits of wetlands, and addressing threats to them by John McDonald
  • the threat of invasive (non-native) species, and then some encouraging news 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 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.