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
Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice!

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   Green Church is a six-week study of this critically important topic from a Christian perspective. Using Scripture and scientific findings, the study begins where we are and helps us think through what we know, what we can learn, and what we can do to make a difference.
Long Description:   Subjects for each week: 1. Repent (Biblical focus: Genesis accounts of creation and the flood, or de-creation.) 2. Reclaim (Biblical focus: the human call to stewardship of the creation.) 3. Reduce (Biblical focus: Sabbath.) 4. Reuse (Biblical focus: Matthew 6:19-21 - treasure.) 5. Recycle (Biblical focus: resurrection.) 6. Rejoice (Biblical focus: texts of joy from Psalms to Revelation)
Reviewed by:   Jean Bass, a United Church of Christ pastor of a small church in New Hampshire

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Rebekah Simon-Peter
Publisher:   Abingdon Press
Publication date:   2010 Website for this resource:   www.cokesbury.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?flid=3133
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Cokesbury
201 Eighth Ave, South
Nashville, TN   37203-3919  
Phone 800-409-5346   Fax  
Website /www.cokesbury.com E-mail cokes_serv@cokesbury.com  
Price $12.00, Leaders guide $14.00  Order # 9781426702921 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High     Sr. High     Adult
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size 7-12 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 6 class sessions each lasting about 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Weeknight Small Group, Sunday School Class, Weekend Retreat.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? While it is assumed that participants will have read each chapter before a session, the lesson plan re-states highlights, so those who have not read the material will still be able to participate.  
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

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 materials required:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:The Leaderīs guide does not require an expert leader, as it spells out each step, from gathering markers to getting out chairs, to asking discussion questions, to lighting a candle and reading a written closing prayer. In other words, the leaderīs hand is held all the way.
Description of the Student's Book:The studentīs book is accessible, presenting both Biblical material and science in non-technical terms. The authorīs approach is decidedly Christocentric, with the stated goal that the book will renew the readerīs relationship with Jesus Christ.

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? Not Necessary to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Light: class preparation could be done in less than an hour. Little additional reading is asked beyond review of the participant´s book. Gathering of materials is largely limited to markers, paper and a candle. 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as one of several emphases  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? No specific issue was described.  
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  
Does the curriculum provide detailed content in a particular academic area?   For example, is there significant content in biology, physics, sociology, economics, etc.?
Biblical & theological content are covered below
No  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
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 reviewer did not answer this question.  
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

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
I would use this as a gentle introduction to the relationship between Biblical faith and environmental concerns, with those for whom this is a new concept.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
The author moves with ease from Biblical story to personal witness to science. Explanations are brief, clear and pertinent (e.g., a simple, 2 paragraph explanation of the greenhouse effect). She seems to hold two goals: to sound an urgent alarm on behalf of Godīs world and at the same time to make us feel good about God and/or about our attempts to green our lives. In the process, some Biblical concepts become stretched (e.g., the resurrection as divine upcycling).
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
Early on the author wonders if changing light bulbs and driving a hybrid are enough to meet the present crisis, and urges a worldwide movement. But the suggested responses to the crisis that pepper the rest of the book donīt push the reader very far beyond eating less beef, going outside, recycling paper and turning off electronics. If we know at the outset that these are not enough, then what?
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
The reviewer did not answer this question
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
The reviewer did not answer this question
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
The reviewer did not answer this question


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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