The Lexington Theological Seminary (LTS) Green Task Force (GTF) was begun in 2007 when LTS was still at its original location on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Dr. Emily Askew initiated the GTF at the behest of then-dean Richard Lowrey. When the seminary moved to Lexington Green in 2013, the GTF shifted its focus to support the new online/on-campus hybrid platform of the curriculum.
The LTS Board of Trustees voted in the Fall of 2018 to approve the Green Task Force’s proposal for becoming a Green Chalice Seminary, including the process for becoming Green Chalice Certified. LTS became a Green Chalice Seminary in 2019. Green Chalice is organized under the Disciples of Christ Christian Church Home Missions whose mission is to connect Christian faith, spiritual practice and creation consciousness in order to demonstrate the fullness of God’s shalom. The LTS GTF has covenanted to: 1) Worship God with all Creation and pray for the healing of the Earth; 2) Study the climate crisis and engage others in climate solutions; 3) Repent and forgive for the harm we have inflicted on the Earth that sustains life; 4) Advocate for ecojustice public policies and witness by living sustainable lifestyles; 5) Rest in God’s good Creation and invite others to delight in nature.
The GTF worked with the Dean of LTS, Dr. Loida Martell, to create a Creation Care Certificate (CCC) program – 6 courses in 2020-21 involving 47 students whose projects and assignments in preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and advocacy have impacted more than 4,000 people. We also host webinars, lay schools, teach-ins, and other events that focus on environmental justice issues which have reached hundreds of people in the U.S. and other countries.
Due to the success of its Creation Care Certificate program in 2020-21, LTS has created a Masters in Pastoral Studies with a track in Creation Care and Ecotheology that prepares students with the necessary biblical and theological tools to articulate and carry out a cogent plan of Creation care and justice for their congregations and communities. This new program will launch in 2022-23. Find out more here: https://lextheo.edu/academics/degree-programs/mps/creation-care-and-ecotheology/
The LTS GTF has worked to be leaders in Creation care in theological education. As a primarily online seminary, we have focused on the areas of Education, Outreach, Justice, and Worship, and became the first “Green Chalice Certified” seminary in January 2022.
As the GTF looks to the future, we intend to focus more fully on addressing the intersections between environmental justice and racism in theological education, as well as equipping our students to address ecological issues within the scope of diversity, equity, and inclusion.