Environmental activism constitutes the "fastest-growing form of Christian ministry," according to Fred Krueger, director of the Christian Society of the Green Cross. Here is a brief survey of leaders in evangelical environmental ministry:
The 12-year-old San Diego-based Floresta (619/298-7727) provides technical and financial assistance to help subsistence farmers plant fast-growing trees, thus contributing to reforestation, replenishing the soil, and containing water erosion. Some of the trees are harvested for wood products, fruit, and spices.
In 1995, 225 Third World families participated in Floresta's Agroforestry Revolving Loan Fund. With an operating budget of $250,000, Floresta is active in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Money comes mainly from foundations, corporations, churches, and individual donors.
The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) (610/645-9392) started in 1993 and has become the major source of networking among evangelicals and Christian organizations committed to creation care. Supported by foundations, churches, and individuals, the een operates on a $200,000 annual budget from the Philadelphia offices of Evangelicals for Social Action.
EEN has provided an "Evangelical Kit for Caring for Creation" to more than 1,000 churches. The kit contains a wide variety of worship resources—ranging from suggested children's activities to a booklet on sermon writing.
The Christian Environmental Council (CEC) operates under the auspices of EEN and holds an annual conference to plan and to pray for the advancement of creation care. The CEC's Advocacy Committee constitutes the political arm of the evangelical environmental movement. Consisting of attorneys, ministers, and others, it studies various issues before recommending when and how to enter the public policy fray.
The Christian Environmental Association (CEA) (408/441-1571) started a decade ago but went through a major reorganization in 1993 when president Gordon Aeschliman took over.
The CEA, with an annual budget approaching $2 million, operates a state-of-the-art, solar-powered environmental research and education center in the jungles of Belize. The center is a popular spot for students at Christian colleges to study for credit. In addition, the CEA coordinates short-term missions projects—ranging from 10 days to three months—in 14 countries. The projects focus on such ecofriendly efforts as reforestation and cleaning up water.
Incorporated in 1993, the Philadelphia-based Christian Society of the Green Cross (800/650-6600) is guided by the motto "Serving and Keeping Creation." Director Krueger says, "We noiced a severe disconnection between Christians' belief and behavior regarding environmental issues."
Thus, each of Green Cross's 20 chapters has taken on a specific project, from developing an ethnobotanical center in New Hampshire to sponsoring a radio program in West Virginia that applies Christian theology to ecological issues.
Green Cross, with an annual budget of about $300,000, also has a program to help churches save on energy bills. "A medium-size church that follows our recommendations will save $1,000 [annually] in lighting alone," Krueger says.
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