WTS Partners with A Rocha for Creation Care Project

Jun 6, 2024


About Western Theological Seminary

Located in Holland, Michigan, WTS offers 16 graduate programs online, in residence, in English, and Spanish for women and men preparing for faithful Christian ministry. WTS was founded in 1866 when seven of the eight members of Hope College’s inaugural graduating class wished to become ministers and petitioned their denomination to allow them to complete their education in Holland. Since that time, WTS has been preparing women and men for a lifetime of ministry all around the world in many ministry and denominational contexts.

By Western Theological Seminary

Western Theological Seminary (WTS) is excited to announce a new partnership with A Rocha USA, a leading organization dedicated to environmental stewardship, which has been awarded a significant grant of $625,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. As part of the Thriving Congregations Initiative, this grant marks the inception of the eagerly anticipated church partners program.

Entitled “Churches of Restoration,” this innovative program empowers church communities nationwide to deepen their commitment to caring for creation. In collaboration with partners such as BioLogos, the Au Sable Institute, Energy for Purpose, and Western Theological Seminary, this initiative will introduce a wealth of resources and opportunities for learning and action in creation care at the grassroots level.

“The climate crisis presents a challenge for Christians: care for, protect, and heal creation with the same passion and energy with which we worship and love God,” said Dr. Ron Rienstra, Professor of Preaching and Worship Arts. Refugia Doctor of Ministry students at WTS are all engaged in projects that do this vital work. I’m excited at how this grant will enable them to share what they are doing with others.”

Over the coming months, Churches of Restoration cohorts will be established in three focal regions: Austin, Texas; Titusville/Orlando, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, virtual cohorts will be launched to engage churches in other geographical areas.

Participating churches can anticipate a comprehensive 18-month journey, during which they will be guided to integrate creation care seamlessly into various facets of church life. The framework encompasses:

  1. Practical Initiatives: Churches will embark on practical creation care projects, from carbon and energy audits to cultivating native plant gardens, fostering tangible impacts within their communities.
  2. Integration into Worship and Discipleship: Resources and support will be provided to weave creation care themes and practices into worship, teaching, and discipleship activities, enriching spiritual engagement with environmental stewardship.
  3. Collaborative Dialogue: Opportunities for transformative conversations between lay church leaders, especially young people, and clergy members across congregations within the same region will foster collaboration and shared learning.
  4. Community Resilience: By nurturing the health and resilience of local ecosystems and neighborhoods, Churches of Restoration will promote holistic well-being, benefiting both humans and the environment

This milestone development is a testament to our partners and supporters’ dedication and vision. As we embark on this exciting journey, we are grateful for your prayers, participation, and generous support.

Support Creation Care work at WTS

When you give to WTS, you support opportunities like this for churches worldwide. Your gift to the seminary fund provides an affordable and accessible theological education that provides students with a practical foundation for a lifetime of ministry, including caring for communities impacted by climate change.

Image of student and handler during the annual Blessing of the Animals Chapel service.

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