Now the green blade rises from the buried grain
An online publication of the EcoFaith Network NE-MN Synod with Saint Paul Area Synod Care of Creation
Saint Paul Area Synod Assembly Welcomes Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing
The Saint Paul Area Synod welcomed the Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing for synod assembly on May 13th. Under the assembly theme of "Living in Hope," Rev. Dr. Rossing shared as fast-moving presentation called "Seven Things That Give Me Hope for the Climate Crisis."

The Rev. Dr. Barbara R. Rossing is professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. She loves to teach and preach about the Bible, including the Bible’s role in public life.

Rev. Dr. Rossing's Presentation is available here. Bishop Lull preached about caring for creation at the Assembly's opening worship. The sermon, titled, "The Gift of Creation," is available here.
The ELCA Church Council adopted a new social message titled "Earth's Climate Crisis" on April 20, 2023.

The ELCA writes, "Drawing from existing social teaching, social messages provide theological rationale and social analysis to foster discernment and engagement on a relatively narrow social issue. This project was authorized in light of the grim contemporary situation affecting our global home and the need for fresh action on the part of this church. It draws its framing themes from several social statements, particularly Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice." A Spanish translation and a study guide will be released shortly.

Jim Martin-Schramm, professor emeritus at Luther College, has prepared a powerpoint overview with discussion points that is available here.
2023 EcoFaith NE MN Synod Micro-grants Awarded!

The EcoFaith Leadership Team is excited to award 2023 micro-grants to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Princeton and Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry.  
  • Lil Sprouts Caring for Creation (VBS and much more) - Immanuel, Princeton - educate children about sustainable gardening from soil to harvest. Our garden program promotes a ministry learning environment, educating children by growing creation from soil (soul), to seed (faith curriculum) to self (strength, support, and nutrition). 
  • Exploring Your Environment at VLM - programming and hands-on environmental education with campers during the summer and winter months, self-guided exploration and education for retreat groups, guests and community members, and tending to the natural spaces at our sites.

Micro-grant projects stimulate new ventures in the care of creation that can become models for the rest of the synod. We will share their highlights on Facebook and in the Fall Green Blades Rising.

Some funding is still available for 2023 micro-grants. If you would like to apply, please contact
Abundance Delight
A transcript of one of the stories shared at the 2023 EcoFaith Summit. Listen to the recordings of all the EcoFaith Summit Storytellers, the keynote speaker, and worship here.

by Rumbidzi Masawi, Program Director of Health Equity Northland and Lead Gardener at St. Mark Giving Garden

I grew up in an urban setting. My father in his wisdom would send me off to his rural home during school holidays. There l stayed with my grandmother. Grandma’s home culture was abundance. It was only the two of us, but she made a huge calabash of a traditional brew called mahewu. She also made a humongous pot of mutakura – a mixture of par boiled dried maize, groundnuts, groundnuts, and black-eyed peas.

Her field was plentiful too. It was a rainforest of plants. Inside the maize field l would pick the thorny cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, beans, the African version black eyed peas, wild vegetables among many others......

Anyone who passed through grandma’s homestead was served generously from the calabash and off they went on their way. Some would stay longer for mutakura and help grandma weed before proceeding with their journey. During harvest time the calabash grew into a drum and the whole community would gather to help grandma harvest. This tradition is called Nhimbe. If anyone in the village needed lots of workforce, they called for Nhimbe.

Read the full story here
Trying to figure out how Faith and Science work together every week? 

Listen to The Faith and Science Podcast, following the Revised Common Lectionary each week and try to answer that question. It can be found at wherever podcasts are found or at
Creation Care Connections Quarterly Zoom
Thursday, July 14, 7-8p.m.
More information will come soon!
Green Blades Rising in Congregations and Synods
Teaching Kids To Love The Earth: Sharing a Sense of Wonder
Earth Day at First Lutheran Church, Duluth
Teaching Kids To Love The Earth: Sharing a Sense of Wonder was the Earth Day Theme for 2023 at First Lutheran Church (FLC) in Duluth, Minnesota. Pr. Dianne Loufman donned butterfly wings. John Sippola preached in monarch butterfly cape, and Tim LaMaster captured the imaginations of young disciples with his snake stories.

Prize Drawing and Exhibits: First Prize was a $500 voucher from Voyageur Lutheran Ministries for any outdoor program at Camp Hiawatha or Vermilion. Maple Syrup was donated by Simple Gifts (Dave Rogotzke). Exhibitors included Pollinator Gardens (Shoreview Natives), Home Energy Audits (Ecolibrium3), BeeKeeping (Leif Ringsred), Soft Plastic Recycling (Eagle Scout Jacob Warren), UMD’s Students Apiary Project (Violet Forster and Emma ), and Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet of Two Harbors provided snacks for 300!

On Sunday, June 25 after church volunteers will plants FLC’s pollinator garden. Stay tuned to learn more about FLC’s Community Garden.
Earth Day at Pilgrim Lutheran, Saint Paul
by Kris Grangaard, Saint Paul Area Care of Creation

Whitney Terrill was our inspirational Forum Presenter on Earth Day at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Saint Paul. She is the Environmental Justice Organizer, North Star Chapter, Sierra Club.

You may know Whitney from when she served as the Environmental Justice (EJ) Program Manager at Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL) where she created and led community-based programming and partnerships for MNIPL and individual faith communities.

Whitney started the presentation by playing a song by Mayyada: “Mississippi.” Search those two words in your browser, and you will hear a wonderful song of the river and a song of our personal strength and growth.
She continued her presentation by stressing the need for connecting with stories, and through stories, as ways to head toward environmental justice. So, of course, she told us stories accompanied by photos of events, ritual, songs, smiling
volunteers, and of people conversing.

We discussed advocacy setbacks. After losses, there can be a climate grief that needs to be woven with celebration for the good being and effort of people working for justice. She emphasizes beauty and art -- and working together to stay
committed. Whitney also encourages volunteers to “have your ‘Why’” and to remember the whys when you see injustices continue; they help you stay resilient. Also, we can continuously ask the “What ifs,” to keep our imaginations
alive. Ask children to talk about their visions of a green future and about what community means to them.

Read the full article here
Walks of Wonder
Join Our Savior's (Duluth) and United Lutheran (Proctor) for Walks of Wonder this summer and renew your sense of awe. We gather with a shared value of the natural world with a centering reading and prayer. Throughout the walk, we will pay special attention to renewing a sense of awe and connection to the natural world and our creator while also building community with each other. A variety of walks are planned throughout the Duluth area. Some walks have a special focus, including birding, journaling, and stargazing. Everyone is welcome; the terrain type is listed for accessibility planning.
Plotting for Pollinators!
The pollinator plot continues with over two dozen congregations planting or planning for pollinator habitat. Here is a recording of the introductory zoom event led by the Pollinator Project Steering Committee of the NE MN Synod, and here is a list of Plotting Resources from the EcoFaith Summit. Help is available from the Pollinator Project Steering Committee. Contact if you and your congregation want to join the pollinator plot. 

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear it! Please email Rachel, EcoFaith Network Communication Coordinator, at
This Month's Green Tips

Use these in your congregation's bulletins, Facebook pages, websites, or newsletters!

Here are Laura Raedeke's Green Tips from Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa

The Products We Buy: Vote with your Dollars to Help Create a Set of Values that are
Good for You and the Planet.

Green Tips for July and August will be made
available prior to each month.
EcoFaith Network Partner Congregations: Has your congregation become a partner?

The EcoFaith Network thanks the 2023 Partner Congregations for your prayers and your financial commitment (as of April 2023) as we live out God’s call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation.

Baptism River, Finland $250
Bethel-Trinity, Bovey $100
Calvary, Mora $200
First, Hibbing $250
Holden, Isle $300
Gloria Dei, $500
Zion WELCA, Grand Rapids, $50

We thank you!  

Help nurture the growing ministry of the EcoFaith Network by becoming an EcoFaith Network Partner Congregation in 2023. Become an EcoFaith Network Partner Congregation in 2023 and make a financial contribution of any amount.  

Learn more and find partner congregation forms here
Worshipping with the Whole Creation
Are you celebrating the Season of Creation in worship?

Each year, Christians around the world join in celebrating the Season of Creation. This is a time for renewing, repairing and restoring our commitments to God, to one another and to all of creation – relationships at the heart of Christian discipleship. It is also a time for deepening and expanding our work and witness for climate justice and environmental care. This Season follows the same three year cycle as the Revised Common Lectionary. Here are the suggested readings and prayers.  

A growing number of congregations in our synods are celebrating a Season of Creation, sometimes shaping it according to their own chosen theme. Gloria Dei, Duluth, for example, celebrates a Season of Creation during July. This year their theme is Tree of Life.  Here is their weekly focus. 

If your congregation celebrating a Season of Creation, let us know what you are doing!
Green Blades Preaching Roundtable
The Green Blades Preaching Roundtable weekly reflections by a variety of preaching writers on the ecological implications of each Sunday’s lectionary. 

The Green Blades Preaching Roundtable is taking a two month summer pause after June and will resume again in September. The Roundtable editor, Kristin Foster will be scheduling writers for 2024 and she welcomes new ones! Please email her if interested at
Rachel Wyffels, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
Holy Trinity Sunday
June 4, 2023

John 16:12-15

Today, we return to the liminal space of John’s gospel in those final, precious moments that Jesus has with his friends before his betrayal and crucifixion. In hopes of comforting his friends, Jesus uses these moments to describe how he is fully present in the Holy Spirit, this advocate that he will send to be with them, even though they will not see him. As we heard today, what the Father has becomes the son’s, and the spirit receives what is the son’s and declares it. This network of giving and receiving, of pouring out and being filled, reflects the very life of God. The good news for us this Holy Trinity Sunday is that interdependence is a holy reality. We also receive the call not only to observe but to participate in this active exchange within Godself.
I want to leave you today with the question of what healing and restoration we will see as we participate in the active, interdependent exchange at the very heart of God’s being. What will we find and shout out with excitement as we are called into new relationship with God, our neighbors, and all of creation? Reconciliation? Joy? Peace? Justice? Compassion? May we engage in this work as the spirit continues to guide us into all the truth.

Read the whole reflection here
Pastor Kristin Foster, Cook, MN
June 11, 2023

Hosea 5:15-6:6
Psalm 50:7-15
Romans 4:13-25
Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

Mercy, Not Sacrifice Zones
The scriptural inscriptions for this Sunday repudiate sacrifice with divine ferocity. In the Hosea reading, this repudiation startles us at the end of a dialogue between Israel and God, in which the people appeal to God for mercy, and God rejects their appeal as specious, evanescent like morning dew. The people’s call to ‘return to the Lord’ for hope and healing is, from the prophetic perspective, merely a ploy to avoid real change. The final clincher: “For I desire
steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offering.” (Hosea 6:6)...

The prophetic word of Hosea, spoken and enacted by Jesus, says No. No. More. Sacrifice. God’s desire is not sacrifice zones of sacrificed people and sacrificed ecosystems. God’s desire is steadfast love for all. Mercy for all. And in this mercy, no created thing, no place, no group of humans, is to be sacrificed. Jesus’ actions in Matthew 9 and throughout the gospel demonstrate what this looks like in particularized ways and places of his ministry.

Read the whole reflection here
Rev. Greg Kaufmann, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 18, 2023

Exodus 19:2-81
Psalm 100  
Romans 15:1-8
Matthew 9:35 – 10:8(9-23)

Esther Menn (LSTC) wrote the study notes for Exodus for our Lutheran Study Bible. In her comments on Ex. 19:6 she noted “The Israelites are a ‘priestly kingdom and a holy nation’ – a people set apart for a special calling to do God’s work among the nations. In a similar way, as Christians we all share the work of worshipping God, serving our neighbors, and caring for God’s good creation.”

So what is God’s work? What does it look like? When one couples this idea with Genesis 1 and its creation account, we remember that we relate to all of creation in the same way God does. Dominion or rule in the OT is all about serving, not dominating. How do we serve each other? How do we serve God’s creation? How do we faithfully participate in the ongoing creation process? 
Read the full reflection here
Sue Lyback, SAM; Holden Lutheran, Isle, MN
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
June 25, 2023

Jeremiah 20:7-13
Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18
Romans 6:1-11
Matthew 10:24-39

I find Jesus’ reassurances comforting when I read Matthew 10:24-39, especially when I consider the continuing challenges facing people of faith these days. I appreciate Jesus’ honesty about how hard it can and will be to follow him. How hard it can be to follow the way of love and life in the midst of dissension and increasing dualism (maybe even duel-isms) among and between family members, communities etc.

But sometimes when I read Matthew 10:31b, I feel like shouting out “NO! The sparrows are just as much of value as we people are! Why did you use this example, Jesus? Didn’t you know it would just deepen humanity’s insistence on the hierarchy that places animals and birds and all of creation beneath human beings??? Didn’t you realize people will take this and run with it in our continuing efforts to prove our superiority and thus further separate ourselves from your creation….and thereby even from you?!” 
Read the full reflection here
Connections with Creation

June 18 – Third Sunday after Pentecost
Jesus tells the disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. He then calls them together and sends them out. In baptism we are also called and sent to care for our neighbors, live out our faith, and labor in the field. This call continues to be an agricultural one. Food and water are necessities for human survival, yet many do not have access to clean drinking water or healthy food. The items most often donated to feeding ministries are highly processed with a long shelf life. Though great in a pinch, these are like an adhesive bandage on a broken bone. In the name of Jesus Christ we are called to radical love, not just enough love to get by. As people of faith, how can we work together toward sustainable agriculture that cares for the earth and for our neighbor, so that all have access to healthy and fresh food?

Read all Connections with Creation for June and July
Join our Teams in the Work of Caring for Creation!
The Northeastern Minnesota Synod EcoFaith Network Leadership Team 
includes lay and ordained participants from throughout the synod (and synod affiliates) whose mission is to nurture a growing network of congregations and other companion partners in living out God's call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation. We meet as a whole team monthly via Zoom and have work groups who help with specific aspects of our ministry to connect, equip, and encourage congregations, neighboring synods, and other church-based organizations. We oversee the work of a part-time EcoFaith Network Communication Coordinator, including the publication of the Green Blades Rising Newsletter. We have one in-person planning meeting, usually in January, and are participant hosts in the summer EcoFaith Leadership Retreat. Please contact or to learn more and join us!

The St. Paul ELCA Care of Creation Work Group is an inspired active group of approximately 12 members. We are seeking to expand to at least 18 members. The only Our Work Group meets approximately 10 times per year in the afternoon or evening. At least half of the meetings are held online via Zoom. The remaining meetings are in-person and often include a potluck dinner. Our members are also encouraged, not required, to attend and assist in the planning of an annual eco-faith summit and leadership retreat, both involving eco-faith leadership teams from other synods. The only prerequisites are a passion for caring for God's gifts of creation, a willingness to learn, and help spread the message. Please contact or to join us!

EcoFaith Book Corner
The Planet You Inherit: Letters to my Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing
by Larry Rasmussen

Review by Rev. Dr. Dennis Ormseth
Saint Paul Area Synod Care of Creation Work Group

We face uncharted territory, Larry Rasmussen warns in his recent book, The Planet You Inherit: Letters to my Grandchildren When Uncertainty 's a Sure Thing.  We -- homo sapiens, that is -- stand at the edge of the abyss called the Age of the Anthropocene, the age of human domination of the entirety of nature.  Addressed to his two grandchildren, Eduardo and Martin, the letters in this incredibly engaging book were written with deep regret to have been part of the crowd which has unfairly placed them before such immense difficulty.  As their grandfather, Larry hopes to provide the boys (and us, with our progeny, of course), a map of "the world for a different way of life" in "a new age of discovery and a dangerous pilgrimage." The phrase captures both the sense of adventure and an awareness of peril which pervade the book.

Read the whole review here
The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth
by Ben Rawlence

Review by John Hanson, retired pastor

Rawlence’s observations and conclusions are at the heart of the book.  For instance:  “It has always been the case that life is a moral endeavor, the very act of living a legacy.  To look at the forest through Celtic, Koyukon, Sami, Nganasan or Anishanaabe eyes is to see the world of multiple selves and souls communicating with each other.  If we acknowledge all this other life and our dependence on it, we have to confront the question: What is the right thing to do?  The leaf talks to the wind, the flower talks to the bee, the roots talk to the fungi – the world is a chaotic, noisy place!  When we step into the forest we are making the world with our bodies, our feet, our eyes, our breath, our imaginations.  A million randomized branching futures are possible.  The forest is a sea of possibility, an infinite experiment in coevolution.”

Read the whole review here
Through the College of St. Scholastica, Pastor Dave Carlson of Gloria Dei in Duluth facilitates two monthly book discussion groups, to which all are welcome: 

- Earth Harmony, Thursday, June 8 - Freeing Energy by Bill Nussey (2021). Meeting 8:00-9:00 a.m. in person at Chester Creek Cafe in Duluth.

- Religion & Science, Wednesday, June 21 - Thinking, with Heidegger, the Religion-Science-Theology Relation by David L. Carlson (2013). For those interested in participating in the discussion, copies of his father’s book in paperback or PDF are available from Pastor Carlson for a donation to Gloria Dei. Meeting 8:00-9:00 a.m. via Zoom. Contact Pastor Carlson for the link or for more information,
Read. Watch. Listen. Share!
The EcoFaith Network NEMN Synod 
Living out God's call to be stewards of the earth for the sake of the whole creation. 
SPAS Care of Creation
We are called to care for God's creation as a central part of our Christian faith and identity.