From a Free and Merry Spirit story
This year at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the campus Green Team has centered its efforts around a theology of caring for creation “from a free and merry spirit.” The quote comes from second-generation Andreas Musculus writing in the Formula of Concord on how we do good works not from a place of guilt but rather while joyfully celebrating the many gifts that God has given us. Growing out of this theological focus has been an effort to help folks at LTSP feel more connected to God’s creation and each other so that they may be freed to better care for both the natural world and the community around them.
During student orientation week, we led a group of volunteers in getting their hands dirty cleaning up at the Morris Arboretum after Hurricane Irene. We also organized a hike in Philadelphia’s nearby Fairmount Park led by the seminary’s liturgy professor emeritus, Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop. In order to cultivate community, we even gathered a bunch of students to take a trip to a local green-friendly brewery. Care for creation has been emphasized in worship through occasionally conducting an outdoor compline service.
Amidst these community events, we have also worked to build on LTSP’s already strong environmental stewardship program. A large compost tumbler was set up on campus to extend composting into the winter months and we set-up a new Terra-cycling program in the seminary café. Most importantly though, the students, family members, staff and faculty of the Green Team have recognized that we need a strong plan and new partnerships to move beyond basic recycling and composting toward a more robust vision of caring for God’s creation. We have therefore begun a process of developing a “green seminary certification program” in collaboration with Greenfaith and other theological leaders.
While developing the program over the coming months, we will engage in a comprehensive audit of green practices and support for environmental justice on campus in order to discern how to move forward. We are also planning a large green fair and worship service to be held during Earth Week. Building on the efforts of those who have come before us, the LTSP Green Team is striving to help members of our campus community become a good stewards of God’s wondrous gift of creation from a free and merry spirit.
- View The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia's Green Profile here (this link will be restored at a later date.)
- Story submitted February 1, 2012
- Story submitted by Dustin Wright