Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"
 

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
To Serve Christ In All Creation

This is the general report format.
Shorter and more detailed report formats are also available for this title.

Short Description:   Four-session study guide. "Discussion Circle" approach engages conversation around core values and spiritual connections with God’s creation. Written for the Episcopal Church USA´s Province 1, it is a response to "Pastoral Letter of the Episcopal Bishops of New England," (2003) and applicable to other denominations and geographies.
Long Description:   The process models values we need in caring for creation: Respect, care, and affirming the value of each creature, NOT for each group to come to agreement or consensus on the issues raised in the Pastoral Letter. It seeks to:

• Increase awareness and acknowledgement of the urgency of the planetary crisis.

• Develop cohesive groups that celebrate the gifts of creation and honor the sacredness of all of creation.

• Help groups take action that meaningfully demonstrates gratitude for the gifts of creation.

It is a fun, engaging, informative and empowering setting for congregants of our churches to deepen their personal understanding of what it means to “Serve Christ In All Creation.”

Introductory Meeting - Participants decide when to meet, get a copy of the Study Guide and decide who will facilitate each session.
Session One - explores the pastoral letter’s urging that we act together to honor the goodness and sacredness of God’s creation, and to acknowledge the urgency of the planetary crisis.
Session Two - explores the pastoral letter’s urging that we seek to understand and uproot the political, social and economic causes of environmental abuse, to repent of greed and waste, and seek simplicity of life.
Session Three - explores the pastoral letter’s urging that we pray and take action to restore a right relationship between humankind and creation, commit ourselves to energy conservation and the use of sustainable sources of energy, and to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Session Four - explores the pastoral letter’s urging to realize that through participation in community, public policy, and business decision-making, we have corporate as well as individual opportunities to practice environmental stewardship and justice.
Follow up - Participants decide next steps.
Reviewed by:   Vicki Hesse, an Episcopal seminary student in Colorado

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   L. Fulkerson, B. Putnam and G. Burson, members of the Committee on the Environment, Episcopal Diocese of CT, and P. Lipke and B. Tener
Publisher:   unknown
Publication date:   2003 Website for this resource:   www.ctdiocese.org/environment.pdf

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High    Sr. High     Adult
Optimum class size Recommended group size is 5-12 participants to allow each person 8-15 minutes to speak during the course of each session. Larger groups should ideally have longer gatherings. Possibly create more than one circle or different meeting schedules. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 4 class sessions each lasting about 1 hour.
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Sessions designed to last a minimum of 45 minutes, though 90 minutes per session will allow participants a much deeper exploration. Participants take home Study Guide and read the background material needed for each session.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 it is not reasonable to plan for a single, self-contained class session from these materials.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? Each session has background reading and preparation research that is recommended but not required.  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content
Note: The reviewer says that this curriculum is especially appropriate for members of the denomination or agency that developed it (Episcopal). For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement. The reviewer also believes that it is possible for groups outside that tradition to make good use these materials.

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Video
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources
 

Other supportive materials provided: Provides substantial additional reading material and points to further on-line research.
Other materials required:Newsprint and markers, or chalk and blackboard
Description of the Leader's Guide:In addition to providing detailed outline for each session, guide provides "Coordinator" as well as "Facilitator" materials.

The COORDINATOR: Receives training in the discussion circle process, reads and becomes familiar with all the material, initiates the formation of the circle conducts the initial meeting, assigns and assists facilitators for remaining meetings, monitors the process of each meeting and intervenes when necessary to keep the group on track

The FACILITATOR: Reads and becomes familiar with the material for one session, leads group in opening and closing prayer, may read the DISCUSSION CIRCLE GUIDELINES aloud at the beginning of each meeting (optional), calls on person designated for opening story, assists group in choosing key questions Moderates discussion.

In addition, the guide provides a bulletin insert announcing the study.

Description of the Student's Book:The 73-page guide provides a detailed script and approximately 3-7 pages of reading material for each session. The guide provides prayers and readings that support the interactive format. This engages the participants in dialogue, small group discussion and reflection.

The study guide for each session includes a set of open questions for individual participants and the group to consider. There are more questions than can be considered during the time allotted, so the group will discuss only two or three. Participants are encouraged to think about their own response to as many questions as seem relevant to their concerns and faith. A list of further resources is also provided.

The guide provides an evaluation for the program.

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Helpful to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Medium 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as a primary focus  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? The curriculum addresses the environmental crisis as a spiritual issue and examines the roots of our connectedness with God’s creation through Christian scripture and tradition. The core content explores some of the issues of greatest concern, "...for New Englanders and for people of faith everywhere, for whom the degradation of the environment is an issue of justice for all."  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? Yes - as part of the topic  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as one theme among several  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented


Eco-Justice Ministries   *   400 S Williams St, Denver, CO   80209   *   Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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