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Garrett-Evangelical Achieves Certification as a "Green Seminary" by the Green Seminary Initiative

April 22, 2020
Garrett Certified as a Green Seminary

After the successful completion of a three-year strategic plan aimed at deepening the seminary’s environmental ethos and commitments, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has attained certification from the Green Seminary Initiative as a “Green Seminary.” Through this certification process, the seminary’s Green Team, led by Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart, Assistant Professor of Theology and Ecology, and Liz Lwanga (G-ETS 2017), sustainability coordinator, has facilitated the integration of environmentally sustainable practices into areas of education and spiritual formation; liturgy, ritual, and worship; building and grounds management; community life; and public leadership.

“I am thrilled with the progress that has been accomplished in the last three years not only toward our own seminary embodiment of environmentally responsible living, but also for the development of curricular programs that are educating leaders who will be champions for environmental regeneration.,” said Dr. Lallane J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Eberhart and Ms. Liz Lwanga for encouraging us to join the Green Seminary Initiative and for assisting us in achieving this certification!”

The certification process began in 2017 with the formation of a ‘Green Team’ to spearhead these efforts. Since then, the seminary undertook an extensive energy audit of the seminary’s grounds, implemented a composting program which reduced carbon emissions equivalent to taking 5 cars off the road per year; a K-cup recycling program that has recycled and composted over 150 pounds, addressed major flaws in the seminary’s waste stream, organized innovative chapel worship services, hosted an area interfaith climate summit, partnered with the interfaith environmental non-profit organization Faith in Place, brought numerous speakers and theologians to campus for lectures and conversations, participated in public climate marches, and more.

In addition, the seminary launched a concentration in Ecological Regeneration in 2018 for students in the Master of Arts in Public Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees, with courses offered in ecological theology, regenerative ethics, environmental justice, and congregationally-based earth ministries. Two students in the concentration, Audra Hudson and Joshua Richardson, also provided extensive leadership toward the certification as members of the Green Team.   

Reflecting upon the certification process, Eberhart said, “In an age of widespread environmental degradation and injustice, with innumerable implications for the future shape of ministry, we’re poised at Garrett to play a leading role in inspiring communities of faith to draw upon the resources of our traditions in guiding individuals, communities, and society at large to transition toward a more life-sustaining and just future. Achieving certification through the Green Seminary Initiative is a sign of our commitment to this urgent work, but also a motivation to go further. Our future students and the communities they’ll serve deserve, and will demand, nothing less”

Founded in 2007, 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. To that end, GSI is dedicated to building a nationwide coalition of theological schools that infuse care of the earth into all aspects of theological education. To learn more, go to GreenSeminaries.org.

To learn more about ecological regeneration at Garrett, go to garrett.edu/sustainGETS.