Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Sign of God's Faithfulness

by Deanna Matzen, Operations Manager

The first time I saw a hummingbird in our yard was about 3 years ago. We'd lived in our house barely a year and the Chilean fire tree in the front yard was in full bloom. It was May and the tree was ablaze with red blossoms with long slender necks grouped in tufts. I couldn't have designed a better tree for hummingbirds. You would think, looking at the tree, that it would be ablaze with hummingbirds during the near month-long bloom fest. But no, it's sadly not.

It was a fateful night. We had just come home from work and were doing some weeding in the yard when we noticed them. First one, then two or three hummingbirds began to swirl around the tree. One of us ran for the camera, another ran for a chair. We staked out the tree for hours. We sat in the front yard and answered phone calls, snapped photos, and chatted about our days while we watched the hummingbirds come and go. It was a blessed evening.

The birds came less frequently and it appeared that they had retired for the evening, so we did too. We never saw them again that year, but we were on the prowl. The next spring, we would cast an occasional glance towards the tree, hoping to see another hummingbird, but we didn't.

That fall, I decided to "set a trap." For my birthday that year, I asked for a hummingbird feeder. Certainly, they would not be able to resist a feeder! Unfortunetly, it sat in the closet for probably another year before we got the hook put in the roof to hang it outside our office window. For many months it sat there, the nectar slowly lowering but we never caught sight of the hummingbirds...until this last winter.

It was a cold and snowy winter in Seattle and my husband and I decided to work at home during the worst week of snow in December. It was so cold that the hummingbird nectar froze! To our surprise, first one hummingbird then two then three or four came to our feeder day after day. We took nearly a hundred photos, or so it seemed, of our visitors. The little splashes of color and life entertained us during those cold and lonesome days. I had no idea that hummingbirds lived in the Northwest all year long. Now I have proof!

Since those beautiful snowy days, the visits by the hummingbirds have been fewer. But today, just as the month of May and the blooms on my fire tree are winding down, the hummingbirds revealed htemselves again. It happened this evening as I was about to walk up the steps to my house from the sidewalk after work. I had been stopped by a guest of my neighbor and as we were talking I heard a commotion around the tree. I quickly turned my head into the sunlight and saw two hummingbirds dancing about. The commotion appeared to be a discussion as to which bird had rights to the tree at that moment. Before I knew it, a red headed hummingbird (Anna's, I believe) flew towards me and over my head as the winning bird began gracefully drinking from the long, thin red stems of the fire tree.

There is something so comforting in God's design. Creatures of habit, both human and bird, find comfort in the repetitiveness and cycles of this natural life. Hummingbirds on the fire tree in May bring me joy and peace because they remind me that God is good all the time and that God's faithfulness endures forever.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Join Other People of Faith At a Rally For Climate Protection!

By LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director

Are you looking for something new to do during your lunch break? Me too.

Luckily, the EPA is in town just in time. This week the EPA is holding two public hearings on their proposed finding that global warming pollution is a threat to human health. Two hearings in the country. One in each Washington - Seattle and Washington, DC. Seattle has the spotlight to tell our nation's leaders that it's time for immediate and comprehensive climate action. But it's going to mean you'll miss your lunch.

Earth Ministry and Washington Interfaith Power & Light have joined with a wide range of environmental organizations to turn people out for this historic event. Can you give us your noon hour to help tell the EPA to act now to stop global warming?

Please join us for a climate rally!
Thursday, May 21st at Noon Outside of Bell Harbor Convention Center 2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66 in Seattle

Click here for more information and to RSVP:

Clergy are encouraged to wear collars, stoles, tallit, or other religious garments. If you're not clergy - wear whatever the heck you like, just be sure that you're there!

This Thursday is our chance to demonstrate decisive and overwhelming support for bold federal action on global warming. Can we count on you to rally with us? Please go to to let us know if you're able to join us.

Thanks for everything you're doing. I'll see you on Thursday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

AMEN - It’s Time to Tackle Climate Change!

By Chris Olson, Outreach Coordinator

One of my earliest memories, in fact probably the earliest memory I can recall pertaining to my understanding of environmental issues, comes from a summer evening when I was six years old. My dad owns a set of apartment buildings in my hometown and on this particular evening he was cutting the lawn with my older brother. Since I was too little to help I got to spend a few hours playing with one of my dad's renters, Willow. She was great. She was an sweet, elderly woman who always had cookies and milk for me along with a good story or two. For some reason I was watching TV with her this night. The program was about global warming, asking if it was real and, if so, what would the consequences be for the world. I vividly remember a segment about droughts, how with less rainfall forest fires would become more frequent and intense. The television screen was filled with a close up of flames from a forest fire, roaring wildly and destroying everything in its path. I was freaked out. That image left an imprint on my brain that I have never been able to wipe away. As a six year old I thought, "That's not supposed to happen! How can we let this happen?" Today, as I watch the news, read the reports, and listen to the experts telling us that climate change is real and happening and the consequences are in the here-and-now I'm still thinking, "That's not supposed to happen! How can we STILL be letting this happen?"

On Thursday, May 21st there is the chance for us to take a BIG step forward to help stop climate change. Seattle will host one of only two EPA public hearings in the entire country. The EPA is seeking public input on their decision that global warming pollution is a threat to human health, the first step in establishing new rules to reduce global warming pollution. The faith and environmental communities are stepping out in full force to call for real action to stop global warming and build a clean energy economy and we are asking YOU to join us! We’re planning a big rally outside the hearing, because it’s time for Seattle's faith community to say climate change is a moral issue and we need action now. The rally will be held at noon on Thursday, May 21st at Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Pier 66, downtown Seattle.

Please join Earth Ministry and Washington Interfaith Power & Light in speaking out for the good of all creation. We are also asking each of you to become a “Rally Magnet” and attract at least five friends to come to the Rally on May 21st. The goal is to get 3,000 people, and we’re going to need your help. Clergy, Rabbis, and other faith leaders are encouraged to wear collars, robes, and other religious garments. This event will have some fantastic speakers and will be a wonderful and memorable learning experience so feel free to bring your kids! Each act of love that we do for the Earth makes it a better place for us and future generations. We also become role models for others. Raising your voice with so many others on May 21st is one of the most important this you can do this year for the environment. For more information and to sign up for the rally follow this link or click on the Cool Crowd picture. Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life After People

By Kyoko Tsuzuki, Intern

Picking classes for Spring Quarter was a challenging process. I had two classes already, but I needed one more. As I scrolled through my options, I came across “Religion and Ecology.” It sounded interesting, so I signed up. Being a sophomore psychology major, I was not completely interested in religion or ecology, especially since I am not a huge fan of the outdoors. I am in Professor Cynthia Moe-Lobeda’s Religion and Ecology class. Professor Moe-Lobeda is a passionate woman devoted to religion and the environment. I trudged through the readings and half-heartedly sat through the lectures. I was still trying to figure out how religion and ecology could possibly be connected.

One day, my professor told me that everything in the environment is connected. At first, I was completely confused by this comment. However, after she explained it further, I understood the observation as everything in nature is reliant on something else in the environment. For instance, the plants rely on the animals and the animals rely on the plants. In order for a functional existence and habitat, one needs the other. Another addition that I picked up on during this discussion was that humans disrupted this efficient give-and-take relationship. Human beings use the environment freely and at their own will. This often comes at the expense of God's creation.

After reflecting on this sobering conclusion for several days, I saw an advertisement for a television series on the History Channel, called “Life After People.” It sounded interesting. I sat myself in front of the television for two hours to watch this program. It started out with some startling images of famous buildings overgrown with foliage and shrubbery and animals running freely on green plains.

“Life After People” gave me some hope amidst all the destruction and gloom. Perhaps humans are not completely destructive. If I learned one thing it is that humans have an important role on this planet. We are here to care for the planet and all creation. Many of our current lifestyle choices deeply impact the health of the planet, ourselves, and future generations. People need to be conscious of how they are living and try to reduce their "footprint" on the earth. This is the ultimate call of our generation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Climate Action in DC - We Need Your Help Today!

What’s Happening Now

This week members of the U.S. House of Representatives are discussing the most important climate legislation in a generation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Earth Ministry Executive Director LeeAnne Beres is in Washington, DC now working to move this bill forward. We need your help today.

Please write or call your Representative (see to find yours) and urge him/her to act now to address the serious moral aspects of climate change. A contribution to Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light is another way of bringing the religious perspective to this debate in Congress. Our voice is vital to ensuring that the final bill has a strong cap on carbon and includes adequate funding provisions that protect poor and vulnerable populations.

Why This Bill is Important

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the ‘Clean Energy Jobs Plan’, provides an opportunity for the U.S. to take a leadership role in the urgent global effort needed to stabilize the climate. The bill includes the key ingredients necessary for a transition to a clean energy future: energy efficiency, renewable energy, modernization of the electric grid, and a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. This important legislation will also develop green jobs through a program of worker training, education, and transition to support the growth of a clean energy economy.

Our Executive Director LeeAnne is in the nation’s capital right now with 54 other religious leaders from 29 states – all calling on our elected leaders to support the American Clean Energy and Security Act. She’s there as part of the national Interfaith Power & Light network, representing you and thousands of others like you who believe that we need action on climate change now.

What You Can Do to Help

1. Contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to support the American Clean Energy and Security Act for these reasons:
  • Climate change is the most important moral issue of our time. We must love our neighbors as ourselves by protecting human communities and all of creation by passing strong climate legislation this year.
  • The Clean Energy Jobs Plan moves us closer to energy, economic, and climate security. It will reduce carbon pollution that causes global warming, break our dependence on fossil fuel, and generate millions of clean energy jobs.
  • Global warming requires a long-term moral response that embodies the hope, compassion and vision that people of faith strive to generate in our own lives and communities. The American Clean Energy and Security Act reflects these values and our elected officials should support it.

You can find your Representative and the best way to contact them through the search function on the website of the U.S. House of Representatives:

2. Make a donation to Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light to make sure your voice is heard in Washington, DC this week!

  • $15 provides an information packet on the moral dimension of climate change to an elected official
  • $30 provides that elected official with one of Earth Ministry’s creation care publications
  • $75 subsidizes the cost of meeting with one elected representative on behalf of climate protection
  • $300 covers one full day of advocating for God’s creation on Capitol Hill

You can make a secure donation online at or by calling (206) 632-2426.

Monday, May 4, 2009


By Chris Olson, Outreach Coordinator

Each Lutheran Volunteer Corps house is given a name by the first group of volunteers who are placed there. The new group gets to choose the name and they often choose a word from another language with deep, cultural meaning or an influential social justice, environmental, or spiritual leader whose ideals they want to live out in their shared community. When I first received my acceptance letter to LVC, I hoped I would be placed in a brand new house so I would have the opportunity to help pick the name. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I learned that I would living in a house that had already been established but, not only that, a house with a name that I didn't even know what it meant. Ubuntu. What?

Throughout the year, my appreciation for the concept of Ubuntu has grown to the point of seeking to embody it in everything I do. It's a traditional African philosophy which recognizes how we are inextricably bound in each other’s humanity and translates as "I am because you are". I cannot be fully myself unless you are fully yourself. Our humanity is linked and in living lives of compassion we must care for one another as we would want others to care for us. The idea struck me when I first moved into our little community, but recently it embedded itself in my mind when I was exploring the Global Oneness Project website and found a video that fully explained Ubuntu from the view of those who live it out every day as part of their culture. Please take a second to check out this clip (its worth it!)

On Saturday, May 9th, Earth Ministry is sponsoring a free Global Oneness Project event titled The New Narrative: Local Voices for a Global Future at MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry). The event will include short films from the Global Oneness Project, interactive cafe-style conversations, guest speaker Orland Bishop, and a Q&A with filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee. For more information visit Earth Ministry's homepage.