Hi and gratitude to you creation-caring- practitioners of EcoFaith Recovery!

As the map goes, I’m looking up to you in the Pacific Northwest from Southern California. I
(Peg) serve as co-chair (with Jane Affonso) of the Southwest CA Synod GreenFaith Team. At
our last meeting we read with gratitude your powerful Little Booklet of EcoFaith Recovery. The
Practices for Awakening Leadership seem to me a seven-step circle dance with movements
between contemplation and action; personal commitment and human companionship; giving and
receiving; all supported by the Spirit. Thank you for the invitation to share in this daily dance.

As you so painfully know with the current wildfires in Oregon, creation’s urgencies change like
the wind. The earth writhes, whether from fire (natural or other) or draught, or hurricanes or the
many ways we fail to love creation and thereby abuse it. Your Little Booklet wisely focuses on
leadership: how to awaken hope “though we have considered all the facts.” (Wendell Berry)

Robyn graciously invited me to write about what gives me hope in the midst of lament over our
creation being in crisis. Three questions focus my thoughts on hope: Why am I grateful for you?
What gives me hope in our shared work? Why do we bother with practices? Some thoughts:

First, why am I grateful for your work, EcoFaith Recovery? Here’s why:
It is a brave commitment you call us to – networking and covenanting in daily practice. As I
write I’m nursing a bad bout of bronchitis. My desire to commit to making good on joining the
7-fold practice has had a slow upstart. However, my spirit is here. And Lutheran theology says
daily is not too often to start anew. So, with my daily effort of recovery from bronchitis I say yes
to the practices of EcoFaith Recovery! Bronchitis recovery and EcoFaith Recovery are not
unrelated. They both deal in our need to breathe deeply and well. Both involve a journey.
I’m grateful you arrived at a do-able list of practices that you already begun living into.
I’m grateful to know more partners in this greening work that pulls deeply at hearts and bodies.
I’m grateful for the stated needed for the Spirit’s power – however She is envisioned.
I’m grateful that the practices flow between contemplation AND action.
I’m grateful the practices flow toward restored balance as a real possibility.

What gives me hope in this creation-caring work?
Community gives me hope. Discovering more and more people, many whom I’ve never met, are
breathing with equally impassioned consciousness that we must pray AND act. And act AND
pray repeatedly – that it’s a circle dance. I’m hopeful because these practices aren’t mindless.
They in fact call us to mindful living – to noticing how we’re living and believing that how we
live daily isn’t insignificant. I’m hopeful because of fellow journeyers who know the work is
about love of neighbor and that neighbor means every aspect of creation.

Why do we bother with practices? A cheese plate I have is inscribed: Amazing becomes awesome
with a little practice. If there wasn’t hope, we wouldn’t practice. As Luther wrote: “If it weren’t
for the promise, I wouldn’t pray.” Thank you for sharing this sometimes lonely, often lament-
laden work (as Robyn deeply notes) so our amazing lives can add an awesome hum in God’s
yearning, beautiful creation that needs us to keep our hopes up!

+Pastor Peg Schultz-Akerson, Lutheran Church of the Master, Los Angeles

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“Thoughts on Hope” (by Pastor Peg Schultz-Akerson from Lutheran Church of the Master, Los Angeles)