Wartburg Seminary widened its outreach through a #NoPlasticsforLent campaign led by Savanna Sullivan, program director of ELCA Young Adults and auxiliary member of the steering committee for the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology.
The work of Sullivan and fellow Wartburg student Kellie Lisi was also was part of a digital conference “The Creation in Crisis: Science and Theology Respond” as part of the AAAS grant program.Originally slated to be a conference on the Wartburg campus in Dubuque, Iowa, the program shifted online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But even prior to the stay-at-home orders, Lisi went to Facebook Live to talk theology and practical tips for sustainable living for individuals, families and congregations under the hashtag #NoPlasticsforLent.
The online nature of the movement, which was geared to young adults ages 18-30, enabled students to press on despite the COVID-19 concerns. And it lives online today and the videos can be accessed here.
Wartburg, which won a grant this past year for its “Science, Technology and Being Human” project through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) program, partnered with churchwide as part of Sullivan’s independent study project.
“We reached about 100,000 people online, produced a video series and a total of six devotional small group resources with respect to creation care and theology on our blog,” said Sullivan.
The Lenten initiative saw people committing to sustainability practices from 30 states and five countries, with the Lutheran Church in Hungary signing on as a partner as a church body, she added.
The project encouraged practicing sustainability together at home, in congregations and in the community through the sharing of tips and tricks via a weekly video during the season of Lent.
Led by young adults, the project engaged participants to pray for creation, lament the ways we have been complicit in the degradation of the earth and to act as a neighbor in fasting for 40 days from relying on single-use plastics.
The Wartburg sustainability group was even featured in an article in the New Yorker magazine in March.
Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.