Believe Green: Newman Center Catholic Student Ministry

 On Wednesday, February 27, 2008, the students who are a part of Newman Center Catholic Student Minsitry on campus lead Chapel Hour and addressed the idea of Believe Green as understood through Catholic Social Teaching.  Here is a summary: 

The theme of “Believe Green” (Sustainability) is addressed within the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching.  We, as Catholics, desire to be sustainable because of our relationship with God and with the other people that God gave us to share the earth with.  Therefore the themes apply to the human beings relationship with each other as well as with the earth.  The themes are as follows.  First is the Life and Dignity of the Human Person- centered in the principle that all human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.  Second is the Call to Family, Community, and Participation- recognizing that the person is not only sacred but also social and that people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all.  Third is Rights and Responsibilities- stressing that every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency, as well as the duties and responsibilities that make this possible for all fellow human beings.  Fourth is the option for the Poor and Vulnerable- emphasizing the social responsibility to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable before our own.  Fifth is the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers- based in the principle that work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation.  If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected as well.  Sixth is Solidarity- the core of which is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice”.  Seventh is Care for God’s Creation- recognizing that God gave us the gift of the earth and with that, the responsibility to care for it.  We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation, and we are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.  We recognize that we are a part of an universal family with God and each other and therefore all of these themes are necessary as they relate to one another. 

Believe Green With Evelyn Chapel

Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.  Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God.  Every creature is a word of God.  If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature – even a caterpillar – I would never have to prepare a sermon.  So full of God is every creature. — Meister Eckhart, Medieval German Mystic

Believe Green is a joint creative process through Illinois Wesleyan University Dean of Students Staff.  During the Spring 2008 semester it will be the guiding theme for Chapel Hour Services of Worship.  Registered religious organizations on campus along with other interested parties will join together in worship around this common theme.  Believe Green allows us to discover what a variety of religious traditions say about being stewards of our bodies, our minds, our earth, our world.  Put another way, Believe Green encourages us to explore how we are called to care for ourselves, each other and for all of creation.  This theme coincides with a national campaign called, “Focus the Nation” which addresses the issue of global climate change through university teach-in.

Believe Green and Earth Prayers

At Chapel Hour on Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 45 people from the community gathered to sing, to talk and to pray together.  Leading the service was Matthew Damschroder, Director of the Office of Residential Life, who inspired those present with a meditation called, “Earth Prayers:  Many Paths, One Goal.” Using the music of the Indigo Girls (World Falls), Matthew challenged the congregation to create our own Earth Prayers.  This process, so organic and alive, led to the creation of this prayer called, “Common Ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action”

Our histories and experiences give us foundation

Our faith and our beliefs bring us together

Our compassion and empathy call us to act

We travel on many paths with one goalTurn the tide

Transform living apart from the natural world to living in sync

Turn the tide

Transform fear of otherness to appreciation of connectednessCommon ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

Each day we witness the miracle of

The rising and setting of the sun

Each day we share the miracle of life on earth

With each other

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

Respect of wind and rock joins respect of Earth as a whole

Winds of change sometimes blow harshly,

But respect of Earth built on rock-solid foundation is

Hope for future generations.

As stewards of this earth

May we gather our strength in vision and in action

Dreams embedded deeply in the soul

As Earth smiles, the branches grow strong

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

May the spirit of water produce fertile ground

May the fertile ground allow the seed of faith

To blossom into the flower of acceptance

Flowing waves of flowers

Inspire us to love the Earth

May we never reach the crusty summit

During our climb of the infinite mountain of faith

Let waves of compassion rush over us

And carry us towards understanding

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

Who can say how many butterflies we’ve lost,

How much we’ve neglected

Who can measure the cost

We all have a choice: to help or to hurt

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

The fish in the river seeks our protection

As we have been protected

The creatures in the valley ask of our love

As we too have been loved

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

Learning to rely on the peaceable nature of our hearts

May we protect our lands, and keep them whole

Let us learn from the mistakes of our past to protect our future,

To continue the exalted song of the birds

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action In our journey through life, may we not forget to appreciate,

And neglect our home

Let us not forget that we were born unto pure air

And let us go from here leaving nothing but thatAs we climb our spiritual hill

Even at times taking steps backwards

We see all we have been given

As leading us closer to home

The journey that we share and

The eternal home we strive for

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

A border creating division

A bridge allows for crossing

Energy spreads the Light

Creating understanding as One.

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action

Earth, wind, fire, water, heart

We could not be whole without them

Many nations stand together

One belief, one hope, one Earth

Mother nature cradles us

Give thanks

Common ground; Compelling Times; Spirit Calls Us to Action