Rev. Soren Schmidt of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Chassell shares how his congregation is getting inspiration for earth stewardship, and how they ease their fingerprint on the environment. As one of the 11 participants in the Sacred Spaces program, this Michigan congregation is well on its way to achieving its efficiency goals.
Holy Trinity in Chassell, MI describes itself as " A church that actively shares a living, daring, confidence in God’s grace with our community and the world."
Rev. Schmidt, what can you tell us about Holy Trinity Lutheran Church?
Holy Trinity has been in existence since 1912. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has served the Chassell community and Houghton County area for many years with worship services, youth and family events and gatherings, aiding the local Strawberry Festival, care of Creation, providing services for hunger advocacy, aid for the homeless and those in need: youth programs, community services and programs, local school activities, and bus routes, providing special meals to seniors and programs for locals in care facilities, Lions Club, and winter festivities. Members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church are truly and faithfully invested in the lives of those in their community and have a gift to ensure help when needed for various issues of the homebound, including snow removal, checking-in, and providing meals.
What is your congregation's spiritual or religious inspiration for practicing earth stewardship?
We seek in our care of Creation to follow best practices in our community through simple prayer, recognition of proper use, and tending to resources and the connectedness that surrounds us.
How do you understand environmental justice?
We look within the 1993 Social Justice statement by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice" - specifically section 4 which begins with "Caring, serving, keeping, loving, and living by wisdom—these translate into justice in political, economic, social, and environmental relationships. Justice in these relationships means honoring the integrity of Creation and striving for fairness within the human family. It is in hope of God’s promised fulfillment that we hear the call to justice; it is in hope that we take action. When we act interdependently and in solidarity with Creation, we do justice. We serve and keep the earth, trusting its bounty can be sufficient for all, and sustainable." It is in this promise and focused practice that we can truly look at all of Creation as a gift that we are called to steward and care for. Called to participate, to sustain, to be a voice in policy and action that represents this justice for the environment that surrounds us all.
What’s one key take away that you hope your congregation and/or community gains from your participation in Sacred Spaces?
An awareness and a renewed sense of this care of Creation - realizing that it takes effort, focused preparation, and continued tending. A realization that, together, there is more we can do in big and small ways to ease our fingerprint on the environment; replenish places less cared for; renew activism and inter-connectedness between humanity, environment, and all of God's Creation; and lift up a servant leadership style of care that unites now and in the not yet.
together, there is more we can do in big and small ways to ease our fingerprint on the environment
Michigan IPL is glad to assist Holy Trinity as they implement building improvements to increase their worship facility's energy efficiency and have less impact on the environment. With these upgrades we trust that Holy Trinity, and all Creation, will reap benefits for years to come.