Six New Things – Week of April 08, 2024

While not everything is ‘hot-off-the-press’ this week, they’re new to me – and so, so timely – touching on creation care and climate grief, divisiveness and courageous spaces, slavery and trauma, and Arab American Heritage Month. There’s a lot going on; we’ll help you navigate.


Cloquet’s April Hepokoski was co-author/consultant for Ron Greenfield’s 2022 Zero Waste Kids: Hands-On Projects and Activities to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Quarry) and now she’s self-published her expansion volume, Closing the Loop on Zero Waste: Living in Alignment with Nature.

Learn more about April’s zero-waste, nature-based classroom at Slow Your Home and find more Creation Care Books in our lib guide.


I tabled next to April at EcoFaith Summit 2024: Cross+Currents in the Flood: Building Arcs Together for a Livable Planet, where I also co-facilitated – with the delightful Joy Hensel, NEMN ELCA Synod Minister for Mental Health and Wellness. In our workshop, ‘Climate Grief and Mental Health: Building Arcs of Awareness and Wellness in Anxious Times’, Joy shared Shawna Weaver’s Climate Grief: From Coping to Resilience and Action (Lantern), which ‘acquaints us with the realities of climate change and its accompanying grief’ as it reminds us that, ‘the planet can’t be healed by a few people working out of despair but by many people working out of hope, care, and openness to learn’.

Fun fact: Shawna’s a local author, too – and she’s speaking at Peace, UCC, Duluth on Sunday, April 21. Learn more here.


Interrupt climate grief as a congregation:

Lutherans Restoring Creation has a Self-Organizing Kit with Guidelines and Resources to direct congregations through an ‘evolution’ of creation care actions. Their Covenant with Creation provides Affirmations and Actions congregations can engage for a more sustainable planet.

Also check out our Eco-Anxiety Toolkit, created in conversation with Joy, to develop congregational awareness of climate grief / eco-anxiety, and enhance climate-related pastoral care.


I also co-facilitated – with Tammy Walhof, Director of Lutheran Advocacy-MN – the workshop Graceful Conversations: Building Arcs across Divided Perspectives, where I shared our Courageous Spaces: Congregations that Listen, Lament, and Repair.

That feels extremely timely in light of Diana Butler Bass’s Donald Trump’s Political Idolatry: Just Say No: Are We All at the Base of Mount Sinai Now?, in which Bass declares that all Christian congregations need to address politics because ‘You’ve been politicized’; The Atlantic’s, The True Cost of the Churchgoing Bust, which wonders – from an agnostic perspective – why/how ‘many Americans seem to have found no alternative method to build a sense of community’; and North Carolina hospice social worker, Scott Janssen’s, ‘I Work with Dying Trump Supporters. It’s…confusing.‘, which explores the ’emotional and psychological’ common ground ‘upon which we all gather, not as tribes, but as part of a larger human family’.


Trauma – including historical, generational, and theological – lies at the root of much of our division and divisiveness. Slavery in Early Christianity: Expanded Edition (Fortress), offers a, ‘penetrating study into slavery’s impact on early Christianity, from the pages of the New Testament to the branded collars used by Christians who held people in bondage’; God Trauma and Wisdom Therapy: A Commentary on Job (Fortress), explores Job’s transformation from a ‘victim consciousness’ to ‘a cosmic wisdom consciousness’, an important lens for all pastoral care providers.

Deepen and brighten worship with The Many’s, Rise Up – a beautiful Easter Season response to trauma, despair, and anxiety.


April is Arab American Heritage Month. Building Faith’s, Arab American Heritage Month Resources for 2024 lists books, blog posts, articles, and more, ‘To help Christian communities lift up Arab American voices and stories’, as ‘a starting point for gaining greater understanding of Arab American histories and cultures and for engaging in justice efforts with Arab American communities’.

Find additional tools for understanding and action in our Israel & Palestine lib guide.


May this Easter Season be full of New Life for you, your congregations, and the planet we are called to steward!!