St. Dunstan’s has a long-term commitment to caring for creation. In 2016 we developed a Creation Care Mission Statement that expresses our shared intention to cultivate love of creation; pattern our daily lives as caretakers of Creation; minimize the environmental footprint of our parish; and broaden our perspective and participation in creation care work. In 2020, Rev. Miranda and Carrie T. participated in the ChurchLands program, which helped us think about our relationship with our grounds through the lenses of Creation care, evangelism, and justice and reconciliation.
As we look ahead to the rest of the spring, summer, and fall, here are some possible projects and directions that we’re considering. Please read and let us know if you’d like to get involved! You can indicate interest on our signup page at this link, or you can email Rev. Miranda at – let her know if there are particular areas you’re interested in, including things that may not be on this list!
Using church land for CREATION CARE (learning, loving, tending)
1. Exploring how to use our usable plants. This will involve some foraging, some research, some kitchen work, some taste-testing – tied to the times when something on the grounds is ready for harvest or use. We have particular plans for some exploration of black walnuts in the fall. We’ll try to send out Edible Plant Alerts over the course of the season. If you’re interested in getting involved in identifying usable plants & ways to use them, sign up!
2. Grounds tour(s), to get (re-)acquainted with the grounds & what grows here. We’ll plan a first one in May – watch for more info!
3. Explore the National Wildlife Federation’s Sacred Grounds program – a program to register part of our grounds as wildlife habitat, and commit to doing some creation-focused education within our parish and beyond. Having a small group to read up on this process and undertake the (modest) tasks involved would be great! Sign up using link above, if interested.
Using church land for EVANGELISM (welcoming, connecting)
4. Care and Maintenance, to keep things looking welcoming, tidy, safe, and pleasant, to welcome visitors and guests. We expect to handle the work this season through a combination of work days and sign-ups for tasks to do on your own time. Some possible tasks: Picking up sticks and litter, planting some new plants, weeding, removing a dead bush, possible dead tree removal, keeping woods paths clear. We’ll promote workdays when they come around, but you can sign up if you have particular skills or interests to offer for the ongoing care and maintenance of our grounds.
5. Welcoming our new neighbors. In the months ahead, folks will start moving into the apartment complex next door. How can we be good neighbors to them? One idea is to plan a series of educational events for us AND our neighbors (new and longer-term): Living Compass wellness groups; edible plant stuff; talks by city recycling coordinator, birders, bat lady, UW dendrologist; cooking/preserving classes? If helping plan events like this sounds like fun to you, or if you have ideas for the list, sign up using the link above!
Using church land for JUSTICE & RECONCILIATION WORK
6. Land Acknowledgment Task Force, planned for summer 2021. Land acknowledgement is a practice of public recognition of the Indigenous people whose traditional lands we stand upon, usually used at the beginning of gatherings. Ideally it goes hand in hand with some form of active commitment to the continued flourishing of Native communities. There is growing interest in doing this work at St. Dunstan’s, which stands on the traditional land of the Ho-Chunk people. If you’re interested, sign up using the link above!
Thanks for your interest, and watch for more information and opportunities in the weeks and months ahead!