by Erika Dornfeld
We give religious people the tools to become good stewards of the Earth. – Faith in Place
Faith in Place is unlike many environmental organizations in that it does not operate in a doom-and-gloom sort of way. Of course, the environment and the devastation it faces are taken very seriously. But though we may hug a tree, it does not hug us back. A tree does not have faith–people do. And FiP thinks that in order for us to create “a more just and sustainable world” that work must have people at its center. And people of faith have at their center something that gives them joy. Something that opens their eyes to the inherent preciousness of everything around them.
In my two years at Faith in Place, I coordinated indoor winter farmers’ markets at churches around Chicagoland. In addition, as an intern, I had the opportunity to assist on a full range of FiP activities, from environmental advocacy day, to after-school garden clubs, to domestic power rebate programs! FiP sought to offer a range of ways to help “go green,” according to local needs, instead of prioritizing projects for a community from the outside.
Working there (through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps for two years, I saw a staff and member congregations that are kind, generous folk; a coalition that that is truly diverse. It is Faith in Place that showed me the many ways to engage in ministry–but one that always included laughter, hard work, and hope. In this Season of Creation, may we be deeply grateful for those who seek justice on behalf of all of us each day, and remind us that caring for the Earth is, first and foremost, caring for each other.
Each month, St. Luke’s collects a special Justice Offering, in addition to the regular offering, during the service on the first Sunday of the month. The Justice Offering is donated to a designated organization or cause. For September, 2012, in connection with the Season of Creation, the Justice Offering will be collected on behalf of Faith in Place.
Erika Dornfeld is a 2nd Year MDiv. candidate at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and will be interning at St. Luke’s during the 2012-13 academic year.