Green Seminary Initiative
In April 2009, CTU became the first Roman Catholic seminary to join the national Green Seminary Initiative. This initiative is a national effort among theology schools and seminaries to care for God’s creation and to educate future ministers in ecological theology and ethics. Since 2009, the Green Seminary Initiative Committee, as an official institutional standing committee of CTU, has been working to bring CTU into compliance with the standards of the Initiative. Click here for National Green Seminary Initiative website: http://www.greenseminaries.org/
About Green Seminary Initiative
Theological Education for a Sustainable Future
Three Central Purposes
The Green Seminary Initiative is devoted to:
- Equipping graduate students to lead congregations and communities in creation care.
- Fostering seminaries as models of creation care.
- Being a resource for information, ideas, and resources
Two Central Convictions
The Green Seminary Initiative is premised on two convictions:
- The first is that the religious community has a unique and significant calling to turn back human-caused environmental destruction and to participate in bringing all of creation into health and wholeness. Religious communities express thanks for God’s creation. We remember that we are called to serve and preserve the earth. We participate in God’s covenant with Noah and all living things. We recognize our human failing in our vocation to care for creation. We gather to reverence the beauty and grieve the destruction. Together, we confront the spiritual crisis and reorient our hearts and minds to simpler, sustainable and just lives and to the vision of a renewed creation.
- The second conviction is that seminaries should provide clergy and religious leaders with the tools necessary for them to lead their congregations, communities and organizations in meeting their unique call to protect and restore creation. Specifically, they need a creation-centered education that provides the theological, Scriptural, spiritual and ethical bases of creation care and eco-justice. They need to understand the depth of the spiritual and ethical challenges inherent in the ecological crisis. They need to appreciate the breadth of the ecological challenge and to be prepared to respond to its impact on the least among us.
Five Program Areas
As a seminary committed to care for creation, we affirm the creation in all its glory and beauty. We acknowledge God as the source of all things. We acknowledge Christ as the redeemer of all things. We acknowledge the Spirit as the sustainer of all things. The whole earth is full of God’s glory. As a result, we strive to respect all of life as sacramental. We accept our vocation as earth-keepers who care for creation. We see ourselves as part of the covenant of Noah that God made with humans and with all the animals of the land, sea, and air. We accept our responsibility to live justly in relation to our fellow human beings in ways that all creatures may mutually thrive together.
- Worship: We seek to worship throughout the year so that we express our gratitude and praise to God the creator and so that we glorify God intentionally together with all creation. In worship, we will celebrate creation, confess our sins against creation, grieve the losses of creation, and commit ourselves to care for the earth.
- Education: We seek to learn about the biblical, theological, and ecclesial traditions concerning creation, including the mandate from God for us to care for the earth. We will seek also to learn about the present degradations of creation due to human activity, how we as religious people are implicated in this degradation, and what we as Christians can do to heal and restore creation for future generations. We will seek to train people to be leaders for the church and the community in their efforts to care for creation.
- Building and Grounds: We agree to assess the destructive impact that our activities and the use and maintenance of our property may have upon creation—in such matters as energy use, toxic products, paper use, water use, waste, transportation, among others. We will strive to make choices that lessen our negative impact on the earth and that serve to renew and restore earth community.
- Discipleship: We encourage ourselves as individual members of this seminary—students, staff and faculty—to care for creation in our offices and in our homes, knowing that our habits and practices are connected to key environmental issues. We seek to foster a closer relationship with nature so that we can live simply and walk lightly upon the earth.
- Public Ministry: We seek to change the systems that foster the degradation of creation and to rectify the injustices that result from it. And we seek to alert our members to environmental legislation that protects creation and to encourage their active participation in the development of public policy. We encourage members to participate in civic activities that foster environmental health. We seek to let our care for creation be known to others.
What Every Seminarian Should Learn about Caring for Creation
By David Rhoads, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
- Scriptural, theological, historical, and spiritual foundations for Earth-care.
- How faith communities can incorporate Earth-care into their identity and mission — worship, education, property, home and work, public ministry.
- How faith communities can be places of moral deliberation on justice and ecology.
- Personal lifestyle changes necessary to minimize our human impact on the earth.
- Local ethical issues related to the environment and a global ethic.
- The systemic changes needed to create a sustainable world (laws, policies, protocols, treaties, and how to advocate for them).
- The ecological state of the world and a vision of sustainability.
- The human justice issues related to ecological degradation.
- How to work though fear, guilt, grief, and anger so as to offer ecological leadership with joy and grace.
- How to cultivate reverence for the natural world as a basis for our actions. (“We will not save what we do not love.”)