The Green Circle at Bethany Theological Seminary has created a website featuring resources for pastors and church leaders who want to promote environmental awareness in their congregations.
The site includes resources for worship, activity suggestions for children and youth, and material on the theology of God’s creation — all geared to the needs of congregations in the Church of the Brethren. Curated by Ingrid Rogers, a student pursuing a Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination, the site began as a project for a course in ecotheology taught by Joelle Hathaway, assistant professor of theology.
Rogers says that her interest in creating this website connects to the paper “Creation: Called to Care,” which the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference passed in 1991, urging congregations and individuals to educate themselves about environmental issues and take steps to limit negative impacts on the environment and to work to protect and restore creation.
“Since this paper was adopted, the environmental situation of our planet has deteriorated exponentially,” notes Rogers. “More than ever, Christians need to respond. At Bethany, an environmental awareness group known as the Green Circle formed a few years ago in support of local initiatives. The group has now launched a new website pulling together resources for worship and education that can help pastors, congregations, and individuals who seek to address the call to creation care.”
With the support of the Green Circle (a committee with representatives from Bethany faculty, staff and students) Rogers took the lead in creating the website. During her research phase, Rogers polled 11 Bethany students who currently serve as pastors of Church of the Brethren congregations and selected content based, in part, on those students’ responses. Rogers drew on existing materials available on Mennonite, Quaker, United Church of Christ, and Roman Catholic websites.
Dan Poole, assistant professor of ministry formation, believes that the Moodle site will be very helpful to pastors and congregations. “This site should serve handsomely for pastors and those desiring a more eco-friendly and eco-informed community.”
Launched ahead of this year’s Earth Day (which will be celebrated on April 22, 2021), the Green Circle hopes that this new website will be a helpful resource for congregations for years to come.