Looking Ahead with Joy

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by Liz Lwanga, Executive Assistant to the President at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Thinking back over this last year in the certification process, I feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. Our Green Team at Garrett-Evangelical has successfully undertaken so much, and I know the work we are doing has real, meaningful impact in the lives of students, the larger Garrett-Evangelical community, and in the world.

Through the Green Seminary Initiative certification process, we are building on steps we’ve already taken to act in our vocation as faithful stewards of God’s creation, and using the tools and resources of this program to take that work even further.

Each member of our Green Team (comprised of students, staff, and faculty) are deeply committed to this work. In the last year we’ve launched a new Master’s in Public Ministry with 3 concentration options – Ecological Regeneration, Racial Justice, or Child Advocacy. We’ve initiated a Hope for Creation campaign to raise funds for a center in Ecological Renewal, an endowed chair in Theology and Ecology, and endowed student scholarships for an eco-cohort. We’ve publicly shared our commitment to becoming a Green Seminary (see the press release here) with the full support of our Board of Trustees and Leadership Team. We’ve started composting any food remains from major seminary functions and began a recycling program for Keurig coffee pods.

In addition to working through our internal audit and creating our action plan for the certification process, our team put on a stellar array of Earth Week events, including ‘Bike to School Week’ with our highest number of participants ever, a highly-attended Earth Week chapel service, and a well-received lecture in biblical ecology for eco-reformation by Dr. Barbara Rossing of the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

And all of this is only the beginning.

I am looking ahead with joy at the work to come as I am reminded of several things.

Through the Green Seminary program, I am reminded that we are not alone in this work – there is a faithful cloud of witnesses that run the race alongside us and paved the way before us.

I am reminded that people already care about the environment and eco-justice, and we are empowering and equipping our community members to take action on things that deeply matter to them.

And I am learning that, even if there is some opposition, more people are excited about this work than not, and the effort of working through opposition or concerns in relationship with others is totally worth the end result.

The resources from other cohorts and the Green Seminary Initiative team have already proven immensely helpful. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to put our action plan into motion to build on the momentum we’ve created this past year.