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Environmental Sustainability 

Westwood adopted "Environmental Sustainability" as a core value in late 2023.

We explore the journey of our theology, God's creation, and current ecological concerns. We ask questions like, "What is distinctive about the church's response?" and "What does our faith have to do with it?"  As we ask these questions...with ears of faith, we listen. 


We are called to respond in ways that embody God's love for all of creation and the resurrection hope we cling to even in unsettling times of climate change. Even as we lament the current state of our relationship with the rest of creation, we lean on the basic proclamation: "In hope we are saved."  


"The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing" by Larry Rasmussen. 

The revered Lutheran environmental ethicist author writes letters to his young grandchildren about the world they are inheriting. Where to buy



Below are resources to Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy, the City of St. Louis Park, and Electrify Everything Minnesota. Many of the energy companies, cities, and the state have offered new and improved rebates for 2024 and beyond.

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During the 2024 Lenten season and theme, "All Creation is Groaning," Westwood's programming featured in-person speakers on theology, ethics, the Bible, and the environment. The speakers and topics helped build a theological framework that supports "Environmental Sustainability" as a core value at Westwood. 

February 18:  Jim Bear Jacobs, "The Birth of Creation" (click to watch recording) 

Born in St. Paul, he is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, an American Indian tribe located in central Wisconsin. He has degrees in Pastoral Studies and Christian Theology and has served various churches as a youth minister, adult Christian educator, and Director of Men's Ministries. He is a cultural facilitator in the Twin Cities and works to raise the public's awareness of American Indian causes and injustices. He is the Director of Racial Justice for the Minnesota Council of Churches.

February 25:  Larry Rasmussen, A Grander View - Part 1: "The Swaddling Band of Darkness: Describing Reality" (click to watch recording)

March 3:   Larry Rasmussen, A Grander View - Part 2: "Choir the Proper Praise: Lutheran Response to that Reality" (click to watch recording)

Larry Rasmussen, a renowned Christian environmental ethicist, is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Emeritus, at Union Theological Seminary. He is the author of "Earth-Honoring Faith," winner of the Earth Community and Earth Ethics Nautilus Awards, and winner of the Grawemeyer Award. He has mentored a generation of scholars in eco-theology and green religion, rooted in environmental justice practices within community contexts.

March 10:  Kathryn Schifferdecker, "Scripture and Ecology, a brief overview" 

(click to watch recording) 


Kathryn M. Schifferdecker is a professor of the Old Testament at Luther Seminary. She was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2001; Schifferdecker was also the associate pastor for five years at Trinity Lutheran Church, Arkdale, WI.

Schifferdecker is a frequent contributor to, Word & World and the author of "Out of the Whirlwind: Creation Theology in the Book of Job" (Harvard University Press, 2008). She is currently writing a commentary on the book of Esther.

March 17:  Heidi Ferris, "Climate Literacy: Parenting and Education for Sustainability"

Hands-on, interactive, and family-friendly, this is for all ages. Especially great for parents who are trying to bring environmental sustainability into their family life and for anyone who wants to transform landscapes and gardens to be more sustainable.


Heidi Ferris holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Education, is a member of the National Science Teachers Association and the Minnesota Association of Environmental Educators, and is a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership at the University of St. Thomas. Heidi gained over a decade of first-hand experience by teaching middle and high-school-level science courses and curriculum writing for classrooms, faith-based groups, and secular non-profits. She started Growing Green Hearts in 2011 to combine her passion for the Earth's interconnected systems with her creative talents in teaching children and educators. 

March 24:  Buff Grace, "How then shall we live? Embracing Climate Justice"

Join Buff Grace from MN Interfaith Power & Light for a talk on how you and Westwood Lutheran can respond to climate change in ways that foster hope, make a difference, and might just save you a bundle of money. Learn about what is happening at the regional, state, and national levels on climate action and get your questions answered about climate justice action.


When you come to understand climate change and the earth-sized crisis that it poses, almost everyone feels overwhelmed.  It is natural to feel that way, but we don't have to stay paralyzed.  There are hundreds of ways we can respond with hope and courage to alleviate the suffering climate change is causing and to heal our relationship with the earth and one another.  But which actions are the best, most important ones to do?  What actions make the biggest impact?  What actions can we do at home?  What actions are easier as a community?  What actions can get kids and grandkids involved?  How can we develop a practice that is sustainable so we don't burn out? 

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Jim Bear Jacobs

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Larry Rasmussen


Kathryn Schifferdecker

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Heidi Ferris

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Buff Grace

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