Lutherans in the Twin Cities

All Saints Lutheran receives gardening recognitions

Members of the Gang Green Team at All Saints Lutheran Church, Cottage Grove, are seated in front of Cottage Grove City Hall. The photo includes, from the bottom step up, Marge Ihrke; Marge Campbell (left) and Char Lindquist; Bob Campbell, Les Beaudoin, Gary Lindquist, and Dick Ihrke; and Jules Erickson, Shirley Erickson, and Diane Fredrickson. Photo provided by All Saints Lutheran Church

All Saints Lutheran Church (ELCA), Cottage Grove, Minnesota, recently received two awards for its outdoor campus — the City of Cottage Grove’s “2011 Commercial Green Garden Award” and the “Pine Ridge Garden Award.”

All Saints’ “Gang Green Team,” a group of more than 30 congregational members, tends to the outdoor church campus. “The Gang Green Team works together to care for and nurture our campus,” said Senior Pastor Jules Erickson. “We have a group of dedicated ‘gang green team’ members who weed, plant, trim, water, and sustain our green areas around the church.”

Three years ago All Saints received a grant through the Washington County Watershed District for a rain garden, which is now mature and provides a place for more than 40 percent of rainwater runoff from the parking lot to gather, filter, and be reabsorbed into the soil.

According to Erickson, All Saints is dedicated to making its campus green from the outside in. A new team — named Go Green — has been established to assess what it means to ‘be green.’ It is currently conducting a study on the building’s environmental impact from electric usage to the plastic foam cups used during coffee hour. Changes could include a place to compost and installation of energy efficiency switches on the soda machine.

“All of this work is under the concept of what the community understands as good stewardship,” said Erickson. “Many people think of stewardship and assume they’ll be asked to give more money to the church. Stewardship is a lifestyle of being thoughtful with all of the resources we have been graciously given. Stewardship is caring for every part of creation — eating lower on the food chain, taking care of your own body, sharing your gifts and talents with those in need, sharing ten percent of your income (tithe), and leaving a legacy of goodness and grace.”

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