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Earth Ministry

Abstract An ecumenical, non-profit organization, Earth Ministry works on both local and national levels to cultivate environmental awareness and ecological stewardship among Christians. Through a wide variety of programs for both individuals and congregations, Earth Ministry seeks to deepen spiritual and ecological awareness, promote justice and sustainability, encourage collaboration and political action on behalf of all creation, and initiate institutional "greening" processes in Christian churches. In the Puget Sound region, the organization sponsors ecological restoration projects, field trips and educational events, an annual lecture series, eco-spiritual celebrations, congregational outreach programs, and hosts a lending library with books and videos about faith and the environment. Working with other environmental and religious organizations, Earth Ministry cosponsors public events and political campaigns dealing with environmental issues and participates in an Action-Reflection Network that combines hands-on conservation with spiritual reflection. On a national level, Earth Ministry offers workshops, retreats, presentations, programs, and resources about congregational greening, environmental justice, eco-theology, and community supported agriculture. Its publications include the highly regarded mini-journal Earth Letter, which is issued five times a year both electronically and in print; Simpler Living, Compassionate Life; Food and Faith; and The Greening Congregations Handbook, which provides guidance and tools for congregations embarking on the “greening” process. At present, Earth Ministry has approximately 1,700 individual members nationwide.
Religion Christianity
Geographical Location United States of America
(Seattle, Washington)
Duration of Project 1992–Present

Founded in 1992 out of a desire to draw attention to the moral and spiritual dimensions of the ecological crisis, Earth Ministry reflects the desire of a growing number of Christians to connect their faith with social and environmental sustainability. Earth Ministry grew out of a congregational eco-spirituality group at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, which organized study groups, educational events, and hands-on projects around ecology and Christianity in the late 1980s. In 1991, three active members in that group, Carla Berkedal (then a priest at St. Mark’s), Jim Mulligan (current Executive Director of Earth Ministry) and Ruth Mulligan, decided to form an organization to help foster environmental awareness and earth-care groups in Christian churches. Donations from members of St. Mark’s and other supportive individuals and a grant from the National Wildlife Federation enabled the launching of Earth Ministry. By early 1992, Berkedal and the Mulligans had gathered a Board of Directors and applied for 501(c)(3) status, and later that year, the first edition of Earth Letter was published. By the end of the next year, Earth Ministry had attracted fifty participating congregations representing nine denominations; networked with various religious, environmental, educational, and community organizations; opened a resource center; made a video about Christian environmentalism; and sponsored various eco-religious gatherings, workshops, and educational programs. In subsequent years, Earth Ministry has grown continuously both locally and nationally, gathering members and affiliates and expanding both its staff and programs. In 1999, Earth Ministry received a Special Achievement Conservation Award from the National Wildlife Federation for its work with eighty-five different congregations in the Puget Sound Region. In 2001, Earth Ministry initiated a salmon habitat restoration project at a superfund site on the Duwamish River. In their tenth anniversary year of 2002, Earth Ministry staff made an average of two presentations a week, supported 103 congregations representing fifteen denominations, participated in a variety of eco-justice and conservation campaigns, sponsored field trips and events, and published a new edition of the Greening Congregations Handbook as well as a new book, Food and Faith. In June 2003, Earth Ministry, the National Council of Church’s Eco-Justice Working Group, Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, and the Washington Association of Churches co-sponsored a conference at Seattle University entitled “Enough for All: Sustainable Living in a Global World.”


Mission Statement “Earth Ministry helps connect Christian faith with care and justice for all creation. Our work engages individuals and congregations in knowing God more fully through deepening relationships with all God’s creation. We believe that through this experience both personal lives and cultures can be transformed. These transformations include discovering a worldview that sees creation as a revelation of God, practicing simplified living, environmental stewardship, and seeking justice for all creation. Together these enhance the vitality of the Christian faith.”
Partner Organizations Church Council of Greater Seattle
National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Working Group
The Wilderness Society
Partnership for Religion and the Environment
Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network
Washing Toxics
Friends of the Cedar River Watershed
Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry
The Washington Association of Churches
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Earth Ministry
6512 23rd Avenue NW, Suite 317
Seattle, WA 98117
Ph:       206.632.2426
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)