Since ministry happens in particular places, the landscape and ecosystem are of vital concern. Ecological ministry helps churches to respond to the needs of neighbors near and far, to care for God’s creation, and to adapt to local and global contextual change.

The Lutheran World Federation called on member churches to study and respond to climate issues, and the Lutheran bishops from Africa led with a summit on global warming and hunger issues in 2009.  Social statements on environment by ELCA and predecessor churches were in 1970, 1972 and 1993. The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, has been encouraging the whole church and people throughout the world to care for the earth, three popes and other church leaders worldwide have cited clear links between faith and care for the earth.

Rural churches are stewards of many acres of God’s creation.  They are places of prayer and care within God’s environment. The church is present in and with the people of the land. In response and witness to the presence of Christ in and with the creation, churches can model and lead ecological stewardship.

In 1994, TCCI Director John A. Rodgers and Professor of Stewardship, William O Avery, started the first Gettysburg course dedicated fully to matters of environment. It set the stage for more course offerings and connections to the Blessed Earth Seminary Stewardship Alliance, GreenFaith: Interfaith Action for the Environment and Lutherans Restoring Creation.