Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Stewardship of Creation Committee, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

The Diocesan Committee on Stewardship of Creation was formed by Bishop Peter Lee in 1992 to implement a 1991 resolution of the General Convention which called for Episcopalians “to view environmental stewardship as a matter of highest urgency.” From its inception, the mission of the Committee has been to help people in the parishes and missions of the Diocese to understand environmental issues as religious concerns. The Committee’s importance for the Diocesan justice mission gained increased prominence in Bishop Shannon Johnston’s recent reorganization of the committee and commission structure of the Diocese. 

Members of the Committee have over time come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. One recent chair of the Committee was a pulmonologist who had been a member of the University of Virginia Medical School faculty; other recent members of the Committee have been clergy, engineers, architects, lawyers, physical and social scientists, educators and communications specialists.  What Committee members have shared, whatever their background, has been a common conviction that environmental stewardship is fundamentally a moral issue rooted in our covenantal relationship with God and God’s creation and a belief that the Committee can help the Diocese support the environmental ministries of parishes and missions of the Diocese.

The first Diocesan conference on religion and the environment sponsored by the Committee convened in 1994. The Committee has sponsored a Diocesan conference on environmental issues in most years since. Recent conferences have featured presentations by scientists, resource planners, environmentalists and building and landscape architects. The Committee has also produced bulletin inserts and other resource materials on environmental stewardship for parish use. Committee members with technical backgrounds in engineering and architecture have also from time to time provided technical guidance, particularly to smaller churches otherwise without the resources to obtain technical assistance for energy and water conservation.

To foster a closer relationship between the Committee and parishes’ environmental ministries, the annual meeting of the Diocesan Council in January 2011 adopted a resolution calling for each of the 183 parishes in the Diocese to designate an individual to serve as the church’s Stewardship Partner, and in that role, to consult with the Stewardship of Creation Committee on environmental issues including energy and water conservation, and to guide their parishes in work with other denominations, churches and faith traditions in their communities in jointly caring for God's creation.

Bishop Johnston’s reorganization also established a more open process for church members to become involved in the work of Diocesan committees and commissions.  Any individual, committee or commission of the Diocese can nominate an individual for membership on a committee or commission. The form used to make a nomination may be found here. Any person interested in becoming a member of the Committee on Stewardship of Creation should submit a nomination form to the Diocese and also contact the Chair of the Committee.