Skip to content »

sustainGETS

sustainGETS

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is committed to integrating ecological perspectives and sustainable practices throughout the curriculum, worship and spiritual life, programming, buildings and grounds, and administrative operations of the seminary.     

Garrett-Evangelical's commitment to environmental sustainability includes empowering students, faculty, and staff to be good stewards of the earth and its resources in their daily lives, while seeking out institutional collaboration with environmental groups in the Northwestern, Evanston, and Chicago communities. Because the ecological crises we face are interconnected with matters of human justice, and since the poor and marginalized are often hardest hit by realities like climate change, toxic waste, and resource depletion, Garrett-Evangelical encourages efforts to tie our commitments to creation care with the seminary’s longstanding commitments to racial, gender, and socio-economic justice. 

Garrett-Evangelical's Environmental Sustainability Efforts

Garrett-Evangelical's environmental sustainability efforts are ongoing and expanding. Through our various partnerships, practices, LEED certified Loder Hall, academic course offerings, and sustainGETS Committee, a lot of small efforts are making a huge impact.

Partnerships

  • The Seminary Stewardship Alliance is a consortium of schools dedicated to reconnecting Christians with the biblical call to care for God’s creation.
  • The Green Seminary Initiative encourages schools of theology to be participants in, and keepers of, God’s creation in all its human, biological, geological, and ecological manifestations.

Academic Courses

sustainGETS Committee

The sustainGETS Committee promotes the just and wise care of God’s creation in all areas of our seminary life together.

sustainGETS Student Group

The sustainGETS Student Group offers educational, advocacy, and spiritual formation opportunities for students, faculty, and staff committed to ecological justice and regeneration.

Sustainable Practices

  • Campus wide recycling
  • Recyling bins at seminary-owned apartment buildings
  • Campus wide use of green cleaning products (no bleach or harsh chemicals)
  • Updating air conditioners with energy efficient options
  • Putting in energy efficient pipe insulation
  • Designating a hybrid car parking spot in visitors lot
  • Updating lighting to be more energy efficient
  • Use of green products or products made with recycled content

LEED Gold Certified Loder Hall

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary was  awarded a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the renovation of Loder Hall in November 2012. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Building Rating System is a feature-oriented rating system that awards points for satisfying specified green building criteria. Some of the improvements that qualified the building for LEED certification were: geo-thermal heating, motion sensor lights, wall and roof insulation, dual disposal water conservation commodes, and ENERGY STAR building materials.

Growing for the Future

Hope for Creation Endowment Campaign

Positioning Garrett-Evangelical for Ecological Renewal

Download Case Statement   |   Download Gift Intention Form

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is committed to addressing the urgent environmental crises facing the world’s peoples today and to promoting the just and wise care of God’s creation for the flourishing of all. This commitment is rooted in an affirmation of God’s love for the world, an embrace of our human vocation to be faithful stewards of the good earth, and an active hope in God’s promise to establish justice and righteousness throughout the land.

Through the pioneering work of faculty emeritus Rosemary Radford Ruether, Garrett-Evangelical has long been associated with a critical eco-theological perspective, viewing the aims of environmental sustainability as inseparable from struggles for racial, gender, and socio-economic justice. In recent years, the seminary became a founding member of the Seminary Stewardship Alliance,[1] achieved LEED Gold certification for Loder Hall, and formed a sustainGETS student group ­and administrative oversight committee. Additionally, Garrett-Evangelical hired assistant professor of theology and ecology Timothy R. Eberhart to teach in the areas of ecological theology, environmental ethics, and food justice. Eberhart was recognized for his work in the recent “Report on Faith and Ecology Courses in North American Seminaries.”[2]

Even so, the times call for even deeper levels of commitment and response. The human-related crises of climate change, ecological degradation, biodiversity collapse, and resource depletion are already the sources of devastating social and ecological harm worldwide. Unless we see widespread, profound changes in humanity’s relationship to nature and to one another, we can expect an ecological collapse of the earth and human society as we know it.

Theological education has a unique role to play in the great work of transitioning toward a more life-sustaining and socially just future. In the September 2014 issue of Science magazine, scientists Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University and Veerabadran Ramanathan of the University of California write that “finding ways to develop a sustainable relationship with nature requires not only engagement of scientists and political leaders, but also moral leadership that religious institutions are in a position to offer.”[3] In a separate article, Ramanathan writes, “eight decades of research…on the natural and social science aspects of environmental changes has led us to the doorsteps of moral leaders of religions to rescue humanity from climate change.”[4]

Garrett-Evangelical is poised to meet this urgent challenge. In particular, we aim to strengthen our longstanding commitments to ecological justice in three distinct but overlapping ways: 1) by educating ecologically literate leaders for faithful service to the church and the world, 2) by integrating sustainable practices and ecological awareness throughout the life of the seminary, and 3) by expanding our public engagement for the sake of environmental and social regeneration.

I. Education

a. An Endowed Chair in Theology and Ecology

A fully endowed chair will ensure that ecological justice remains central to the seminary’s curriculum offerings at the certificate, master, and doctoral levels, support the development of an MA focus in environmental theory and practice, and solidify the seminary’s leadership in the fields of ecological theology and environmental ethics. Garrett-Evangelical is seeking $2 million to permanently endow a chair in theology and ecology.   

b. Endowed Student Scholarships for Eco-Cohort  

Financial support for students drawn to study ecological theology/philosophy and environmental ethics in a setting of experimental learning will help nurture faith leaders equipped to address the environmental challenges of our time. Garrett-Evangelical is seeking $5 million to support full-tuition scholarships for five students a year (at the endowment cost of $400,000 per student per year) for up to three years as part of an eco-cohort of no more than 15 total students. 

II. Integration

a. The Greening of the Seminary  

The integration of sustaining ecological practices and a robust ecological consciousness across the seminary’s entire operation spans the following areas: administration (e.g. coordination, purchasing and investments, metrics), buildings and grounds (e.g. energy, dining services, cleaning supplies, waste and recycling), faculty and curriculum (e.g. faculty training, new course development, library resources, field education opportunities), seminary culture (e.g. community life, worship, student groups, programming), and institutional collaboration (e.g. Northwestern, Seminary Stewardship Alliance, Green Seminary Network, Faith in Place, Citizens Greener Evanston). Garrett-Evangelical is seeking $1 million to support the implementation of the sustainGETS Environmental Stewardship Plan, which identifies key sustainability goals across all areas internal to the seminary’s operations.      

III. Engagement 

a. An Endowed Center for Ecological Regeneration  

The historic social commitments of Garrett-Evangelical are embedded in our many centers and institutes: e.g. Center for the Church and the Black Experience, Hispanic/Latino/a Center, and Reuben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation.[5] At present, the seminary does not have a related center/institute focused upon ecological justice. Garrett-Evangelical is seeking $2 million to endow a Center for Ecological Regeneration to support an annual budget for staffing, research, conferences/ workshops, an online Journal for Bioregional Discipleship, and public eco-theological engagement with the Evanston community, Chicago area, and Midwest region.    

 

[3] Science, “Pursuit of the Common Good” Sept. 19, 2014.

[4] “An Appeal from Science Leaders to Religious Leaders on Environmental Protection,” Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Sept. 18, 2014.

[5] See www.garrett.edu/alumni/centers-and-institutes.


 

Gifts of all sizes, including monthly gifts and five year pledges, are welcomed. To make a gift today, go to Garrett.edu/Giving. To explore the multiple ways you can support the endowment of a faculty chair and student scholarships, go to Garrett.edu/WaysToGive or contact Rev. Dr. David Heetland, vice president of development at Garrett-Evangelical, at david.heetland@garrett.edu or by phone at 847.866.3970.

 

Videos

Eco-Ministry as Spiritual Healing in the African American Beloved Community
Dr. Ventra Asana

Eco-Theology for the Heartland: A Bioregional Approach
Dr. Timothy Eberhart

Resilient Faith: The Greening of Religions on a Tough New Planet
Dr. Timothy Eberhart

Resources

Selected Bibliography

  • Bahnson, Fred and Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation, IVP Books, 2012. 
  • Baker-Fletcher, Karen, Sisters of Dust, Sisters of Spirit: Womanist Wordings on God and Creation, Fortress Press, 1998.
  • Berry, Thomas, Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community, selected by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Orbis Books, 2014.
  • Berry, Wendell, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry, ed. by Norman Wirzba, Counterpoint, 2002.
  • Bouma-Prediger, Steven, For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care, Baker Academic, 2010.
  • Daly, Herman E. and John B. Cobb Jr., For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, The Environment, and a Sustainable Future, 2nd ed., Beacon Press, 1994.
  • Davis, Ellen F., Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Finney, Carolyn, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors, University of North Carolina Press, 2014.
  • Gorringe, Timothy and Rosie Beckham, Transition Movement for Churches: A Prophetic Imperative for Today, Canterbury Press, 2013.
  • Jenkins, Willis, The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity, Georgetown University Press, 2013.
  • McFague, Sallie, Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature, Fortress Press, 1997.
  • Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia D., Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation, Fortress Press, 2013.
  • Moltmann, Jürgen, God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation And The Spirit Of God, Fortress Press, 1993.
  • Myers, Ched, Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice, Wipf and Stock, 2016.
  • Nixon, Rob, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Harvard University Press, 2011.
  • Pope Francis, Laudato Si: On the Care of our Common Home, 2015.
  • Rasmussen, Larry L, Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key, Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Shiva, Vandana, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, North Atlantic Books, 2015.
  • Wall Kimmerer, Robin, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, Milkweed Editions, 2013.
  • Wallace, Mark I., Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature, Fortress Press, 2005.
  • Wirzba, Norman, The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion In An Ecological Age, Oxford University Press, 2003.

 

Congregational Resources

 

Theological Education

 

Interfaith

 

Community Action

 

Energy, Natural Resources

Climate

 

Food and Agriculture

 

Permaculture

 

New Economy

 

 

Garrett-Evangelical Spring 2017 Environmental Focus

This spring sustainGETS, the Garrett-Evangelical sustainability group, is planning a variety of events and activities for Garrett-Evangelical students, faculty, and staff to learn, engage, and discuss environmental care and sustainability.

Bike to School Week | April 17th-21st

sustainGETS is hosting its second annual Bike to School event during Earth Week! Ride your bike, walk, or take public transit to care for the earth through sustainable practices and earn points towards awesome prizes. We will have a Blessing of the Bikes to kick off the week on Tuesday, April 18 at 12:15 pm. If you'd like to sign up to participate, please email Liz Lwanga at liz.lwanga@garrett.edu by Friday, April 14

sustainGETS Chapel Service with Beth Norcross | April 19th

Wednesday, April 19 | 4:00 p.m. | Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful

sustainGETS is excited to welcome Beth Norcross, Founding Director of the Center for Spirituality in Nature (centerforspiritualityinnature.org), as the Chapel preacher for Earth Week. Her sermon is titled, “Spiritual Practice in Nature: Our First Way of Knowing God."

Lecture: Praying the Book of Nature | April 20th

Thursday, April 20 | 12:00 p.m. | Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful

In this lecture, Beth Norcross will open the Book of Nature to see how it reveals a deep and ancient way of being with God, and with all our neighbors -- human and non-human. We will explore together how the natural world provides a sacred, “thin” place where we experience both the transcendent and the immanent God, and how it opens us to a loving relationship with all the creation.  We will also discuss a number of spiritual practices designed specifically for deepening our relationship with God in and through nature and will try one as well.

sustainGETS Movie Night: The True Cost | April 23rd

Sunday, April 23 | 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. | Room 205

sustainGETS is hosting a meal and movie night on Sunday, April 23 from 5:30 to 8:00 in room 205. The documentary (truecostmovie.com) provides an introduction to the ecological and social impacts of the fast fashion industry. There will be a discussion afterward. Please RSVP for the meal to Liz Lwanga at liz.lwanga@garrett.edu by Thursday, April 20.

Spring Convivium | April 28th

Friday, April 28 | 4:30 p.m. | Eberhart’s Home

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, sustainGETS invites students, staff, and faculty to Tim and Becky Eberhart's home on Friday, April 28 from 4:30 p.m. onward for an afternoon-evening of good food and company. If weather allows, outdoor games, a garden/yard tour, bonfire, and other assorted festivities can be expected. Please RSVP for the meal to Liz Lwanga at liz.lwanga@garrett.edu by Wednesday, April 26.  

People's Climate March - Chicago Sister March | April 29th

Saturday, April 29 | 10:45 a.m.

Join students and faculty participating in the People’s Climate Movement March in Chicago and across the country to stand up for our communities and climate (https://actionnetwork.org/events/chicago-march-for-climate). A group of students will meet at Garrett-Evangelical to leave for the march by public transit at 10:45 am. For more information, contact Liz Lwanga at liz.lwanga@garrett.edu.