Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God's Earth

Overview

At La Capilla de Santa María, parishioners weatherized their church in an effort to decrease the utility bills that took up a fifth of the annual budget. At Jubilee Community Church, parents and the education coordinator revised the Sunday School curriculum to integrate care of creation for all age levels. And at All People's Church in Milwaukee, the sanctuary became a free farmer's market on Sundays with produce grown by youth.

Natural Saints shares the stories and strategies ...

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Overview

At La Capilla de Santa María, parishioners weatherized their church in an effort to decrease the utility bills that took up a fifth of the annual budget. At Jubilee Community Church, parents and the education coordinator revised the Sunday School curriculum to integrate care of creation for all age levels. And at All People's Church in Milwaukee, the sanctuary became a free farmer's market on Sundays with produce grown by youth.

Natural Saints shares the stories and strategies of contemporary church leaders, parishioners, and religious environmentalists working to define a new environmental movement, where justice as a priority for the church means a clean and safe environment for all. Mallory McDuff shows that a focus on God's earth is transforming both people and congregations, creating more relevant and powerful ministries . As a result, people of faith are forming a new environmental movement with a moral mandate to care for God's earth.

McDuff highlights eight key ministries: protecting human dignity, feeding the hungry, creating sacred spaces, responding to natural disasters, promoting justice, making a pilgrimage, educating youth, and bearing witness. With two daughters in tow, she traveled across the country to document environmental actions grounded in faith. This journey transformed the author's own faith and hope for a sustainable future. Congregations and individuals seeking to integrate care of creation into their faith community will find inspiration and concrete advice in the lives of these natural saints.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mallory McDuff provides a narrative on the church's role with environmental issues that is rich with stories and contextual detail. This book is a must read for anyone interested in how churches are working to protect God's Creation."

—Cassandra Carmichael, Director of Washington Office and Eco-Justice Programs, National Council of Churches

"In her stories about cob ovens, toxic tours, mountaintop removal, and eco-Shabbat prayer, Mallory McDuff gives voice to grassroots individuals and movements that address hard questions of race, poverty, hunger and economics in 21st century America. She challenges religious communities to be 'partners for justice' not mere 'givers of charity.' We should all take notice."

—Bill J. Leonard, Professor of Church History, the Divinity School, Wake Forest University

"The action needed to protect the environment and provide a sustainable future will not happen without the moral voice that religion brings to the dialogue. McDuff brings those actions motivated by Christian values together with crucial environmental needs, demonstrating that merging the two will result in justice and reconciliation. This is an important book for understanding the role that religion will and must play in healing this wounded Creation."

—The Reverend Sally G. Bingham, President, The Regeneration Project, Interfaith Power and Light Campaign

"This plain-spoken book is both unsettling and hope-inspiring, as it surveys works of destruction and of healing across our land. McDuff offers detailed yet clear analyses of what motivates individuals, congregations, and organizations, and what makes their ministries effective. The breadth of coverage here gives readers the opportunity to widen their concerns and perhaps to find their own calling to work for the healing of the earth and of local communities."

—Ellen F. Davis, author of Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible

"Every now and then a book takes hold of you and you can't stop thinking about it. As you read it, slowly you realize that if you were to really do what the book advises, you could change your life. When you close the book, you realize you could change the planet . . . such a book is Natural Saints. . . [McDuff's] book, the result of visits to churches across the country, is proof that American churches are now actively combining environmental theology with traditional spirituality."—Rapid River Arts & Culture Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195379570
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mallory McDuff teaches at Warren Wilson College in the Swannanoa Valley near Asheville, North Carolina, where she lives with her two daughters. She grew up on the Gulf Coast in Fairhope, Alabama, where her parents connected faith to environmentalism through actions such as giving up driving for Lent. She has a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation, with a focus on environmental education.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction
The Doxology and a Communion of Saints: A Journey with Faith and Earth

Chapter 1
Protecting Human Dignity: Fair Food, Farmworker Rights, and the Church

Chapter 2
Feeding the Hungry: Gardening for God's Children

Chapter 3
Creating Sacred Spaces: Energy efficiency, Green jobs, and Green building

Chapter 4
Responding to Natural Disaster and Rebuilding: Loss and Resurrection on the Gulf Coast

Chapter 5
Promoting Justice: Environmental Justice, Toxic Tours, and GreenFaith

Chapter 6
Making a Pilgrimage: Mountaintop Removal, Water, and Wildflowers

Chapter 7
Educating Youth: Solar Panels at Camp, Creation Care at Sunday School

Chapter 8
Bearing Witness: Engaging People of Faith in Environmental Advocacy

Conclusion

Afterword by Reverend Brian Cole

Notes

Index

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