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Posted 30 Apr 2001   For week ended April 27, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26Apr01

By Rosemary Pollock

LDS Church Makes Practical Efforts for the Environment

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will join with other denominations as Earth Day is celebrated this weekend in Utah. An interdenominational discussion at St. Mark's Cathedral and Salt Lake's First Unitarian Church were held on Monday to receive updates from Utah's Population and Environmental Coalition. And an article in the Deseret News discussed the environmental efforts of each denomination.

The LDS Church has taken practical efforts to be environmentally responsible. "The Church's new building in Utah and around the world are energy-efficient. Thermostats are on set-backs and lights are on timers," said architect Scott Bleak. While claiming that he is not an official spokesman for the church or an expert on the environment, Bleak does believe we can make a difference with the way Church buildings are designed and the use of them implemented.

"The Church landscapes with local plants," Bleak said. "Moreover, they export energy-efficient designs, such as double doors, into places where they've never been used before." "These are just little things, but little things are where the movement is right now," Bleak added.

Meanwhile, other Utah congregations preach "reverence for creation" while others talk about "restoring creation," others discuss "eco-justice" or living an "eco-kosher" life. Catholics trace their church's environmental policy back to St. Francis of Assisi. In 1990, Pope John Paul II issued a strong statement at the World Day of Peace when he asked for humans to be at peace with all of creation.

The United Methodist Church gave an explanation that is typical to many denominations. "We are to integrate respect and concern for creation into our worship, modify our personal lifestyles in accordance with this concern and respect, and work for systematic changes in our society to preserve God's creation."

The Right Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and now bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, believes that all who are spiritual, whether they attend church or not, must surely know this: All living things are holy.

"Human lives will be healed as the environment is healed," Bishop Tanner Irish said. "There are certain areas of religious life which are ecumenical. One is creation. We are all affected by the quality of air. We all gain a more intimate sense of God when we behold the wilderness."

The Lutheran Church currently has a container garden project that is a pilot program. If 10 percent of the 250,000 churches in the national conference can support three women through organic gardening, they can help 75,000 women living in poverty.

Two churches in Utah have earned the designation "Whole Earth Church" - the Holladay United Church of Christ and Christ United Methodist Church.


Churches strive to be 'green'
Deseret News 21Apr01 N6
By Susan Whitney: Deseret News staff writer
Earth Day brings environmental focus to sermons


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