At its commencement ceremony on May 20, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) presented its Community of the Cross Award to Faith in Place. The faculty conferred the award for the ways it Faith in Place empowers people of all faiths in Illinois to be leaders in caring for the Earth.
“The faithful, determined actions of Faith in Place to protect land, water, and air for future generations calls us all to hopeful action rather than succumbing to despair,” said the Rev. Dr. Kathleen D. Billman, John H. Tietjen Professor of Pastoral Ministry: Pastoral Theology and chair of the LSTC Faculty Executive Committee.
Faith in Place provides resources to educate, connect, and advocate for healthier communities. It was founded in 1999 by the Rev. Dr. Claire Butterfield, who led it until 2013. The Rev. Brian Sauder has led the organization since June 2014. It has grown from working with seven locations in Chicago to working with more than 1,000 houses of worship across Illinois to protect our common land, air, and water.
Faith in Place outreach staff in Chicago, the North and West suburbs, Lake County, and Central Illinois work in four program areas: Energy and Climate Change, Sustainable Food and Land Use, Water Preservation, and Advocacy. Faith in Place also provides a non-profit Green Lending Program and homeowners are able to secure free energy-saving products for their residences. In 2004 Faith in Place became the Illinois Affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light.
Faith in Place respects theological and social diversity and strives to make its programs relevant to faithful people of any religion, age, race and socio-economic class. It often hosts conversations on race and the environment and many of its programs have been created out of ideas that emerged in these discussions. Faith in Place helps each faith community use its own unique culture, history, context, and theology to apply practical steps to better care for the Earth.
Community of the Cross Award
The Community of the Cross award originated at Christ Seminary-Seminex, a predecessor school of LSTC. The award transferred to LSTC when Seminex faculty joined the current institution. LSTC presents this award at commencement to “a community, institution, congregation, or any collectively functioning Christian group whose actions manifest the invitation of our Lord to take up the cross and follow him, and whose service is directed to the world around it, both Christian and non-Christian, and whose satisfaction and honor clearly derive from the gospel.” Recipients of the award are nominated and approved by the faculty.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.