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Environmental Ministries (EM) of Southern California

Abstract Environmental Ministries (EM) seeks to highlight the spiritual and religious aspects of environmental issues and works to engage the religious community of Southern California in earthkeeping efforts through outreach, political advocacy, networking, and programs. Working with local congregations and regional denominational leaders as well as religious and secular environmental organizations, EM sponsors conferences and workshops about earthkeeping and eco-justice. In addition to networking with religious communities to address shared environmental concerns, EM collaborates with various religious, environmental, and community organizations to organize seminars, conferences, advocacy campaigns, and projects. EM reaches out to local congregations by distributing publications such as the Environmental Stewardship Guide to Conservation for Congregations, the Environmental Ministries Earth Week Resource Booklet, and A New Communion magazine. By promoting participation in programs such as the National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Covenant Congregation program, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Congregation program and the Southern California Ecumenical Council’s Green Energy program, EM helps local congregations become better earthkeepers. EM also engages in public policy work around forestry, biodiversity, climate change, open space and habitat preservation, and environmental health. In the 1990s EM was the leading religious environmental organization in the protracted and ultimately successful campaign to prevent California’s Ward Valley from becoming a nuclear waste dump.
Religion Christianity
Geographic Location United States of America
(Southern California)
Duration of Project 1988–Present

Environmental Ministries began in 1988 at the Culver-Palms United Methodist Church in Culver, California, where Peter Moore-Kochlacs was serving as pastor. The time was ripe for founding such a group: Reverend Moore-Kochlacs had recently completed a two-year Spiritual Formation program that heightened his sensitivity to earth care issues, the twentieth anniversary of Earth Day was approaching, and California’s AB 939 Recycling bill was soon to take effect. Within the Culver-Palms United Methodist Church, there were several motivations leading to the formation of EM, including the desire to hold occasional “green” worship services, the desire to help restore local ecosystems degraded by industrial pollution, and the desire address the legacy of the Reagan Administration’s poor environmental record.

Mission Statement

Environmental Ministries of Southern California seeks to:

  1. Awaken the religious community to the full implications of the earth as God’s creation

  2. Identify and call attention to the spiritual and ethical dimensions of environmental problems and their solutions

  3. Mobilize congregations of faith to the possibility of becoming Environmental Justice Covenant Congregations

  4. Help individuals within their congregations establish Mission to Planet Earth task forces or coordinators

  5. Provide a religiously focused environmental library and resource center

  6. Establish and carry on this ministry in affiliation with the United Methodist Church and other religious bodies

  7. Engage in both ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and cooperation

  8. Educate congregations and legislators on a variety of environmental public policy issues from a religious perspective
Partner Organizations Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Working Group
National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE)
Southern California Ecumenical Council of Churches
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
United Methodist Church
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Environmental Ministries of Southern California
The Rev. Peter Moore-Kochlacs
7579 Blue Lake Drive
San Diego, CA 92119
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)