We are reaching out to the known Eco and Green teams in our churches and faith communities, the University, and the community to explore the response and feasibility of such a network.  We would like to gather people in the community who have common eco/green/sustainability interests for a discussion of interests and ideas that would bring us together as a network and communicate to enhance our effectiveness in bringing sustaining ecological awareness to all who live and work in Lawrence.

We form this team to serve the community as a network and communication center to raise the awareness of individuals, congregations, and other groups about the issues and concerns regarding caring for Earth’s ecosphere and how we are impacting it.  These concerns include the changes in our environment caused and affected by our use and misuse of the Earth available to us, especially the elements of water, land, and the air we breathe.  We are further troubled and concerned about the mistreatment of life forms that dwell and are sustained by these elements and by their diminishing availability when we despoil a natural aspect of Earth.

Our mission directs us to work toward prevention and cessation of those actions that foul our atmosphere, pollute our water, or render our land fallow.  We commit ourselves to the following actions:

  • Educating the community on the issues of sustainable living in our ecosphere.
  • Raising the awareness of others on dangerous changes to our ecosphere.
  • Proposing and effecting solutions that will restore and bring sustainability to our ecosystem.
  • Communicating the needs and efforts of others in the community of active efforts for increased eco sustainability or improved environmental outcomes.
  • Supporting legislation that sustains our environment and actively express our opposition to initiatives of our government that do not.

Current Faith Community Membership and Steering Representatives

  • First Presbyterian – Thad Holcombe (Moderator) & Lori Hutfles
  • Jewish Community Center – Ken Lassman (Treasurer)
  • Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship – Pennie von Achen
  • Plymouth Congregational – Sara Taliaferro
  • Oread Friends – Beth Schultz
  • St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic – Susan Tabor & Julie Coleman
  • Trinity Episcopal – Pat Miller
  • At Large – Teresa Wilke & Paula Slater
  • Lawrence Climate Hub Editor: Lori Hutfles
  • Social media & Communications: Ary Guerrero

(membership is open to other faith communities)

Origin

LETUS was initiated by the Eco-Justice Team of Ecumenical Campus Ministries at the University of Kansas in February, 2012. After conversations with other faith communities, a network emerged with a diversity of activities sponsored by LETUS or done in collaboration with other groups.

2012

  • “Food and Faith Forum: Christianity and Agriculture”, series of “Ted Talks”, keynote address by Simran Sethi, Professor of Journalism
  • Presentations by Rabbi Moti Reiber, Director of Kansas Interfaith Power and Light
  • “Clean Coal and the Battle for our Energy Future” film

2013

  • “The Journey of the Universe” Film showing with producer, Dr. Evelyn Tucker of the Yale Forum on Religion and Culture, Rachel Myslivy as coordinator
  • Presentations by the Rev. Dr. Larry Rasmussen, author of “Earth Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key” and Theologian in Residence/Visiting Scholar in Religion
  • “Greening our Faith Communities” Carol Meyer, Director of Sustainable Sanctuary (an interfaith network of green teams in Kansas City)
  • LETUS Mission Statement adopted

2014

  • “The Journey of the Universe” (second film showing) and dinner with Evelyn Tucker/John Grim, Rachel Myslivy and Thad Holcombe as coordinators
  • LETUS book groups initiated with reading of “The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future”, by Thomas Berry, facilitators Ken Lassman and Thad Holcombe
  • “Sustainability Issues in Douglas County”, Nancy Thellman, Douglas County Commissioner and Lawrence clergy
  • Community dialogue with Peter Clay, a walker to the UN Climate March in Washington, D.C., Beth Schultz and Oread Friends as coordinators
  • Presentations by the Rev. Dr. William Brown, author of “The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder” and Theologian in Residence/Visiting Scholar in Religion
  • “Climate Change Party” (in South Park) an expression of solidarity with the UN Climate March occurring in Washington, D.C. and done in collaboration with the United States Department of Arts and Culture

2015

  • “Climate Change Talks” (continued from 2014), Ken Lassman, facilitator
  • “Lawrence Climate Hub”, Ken Lassman and Lori Hutfes, editors
  • Compilation of Douglas County earth care organizations (approximately fifty-five identified)
  • LETUS book group continues with “Red Alert!: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge” and interview with author, Dr. Dan Wildcat, Professor at Haskell Indian Nations University; “A Kansas Bestiary” and interviews with the authors Jake Vail, Doug Hitt and illustrator Lisa Grossman; “Laudato Si’,On Care for Our Common Home”, Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis
  • “Clean Power Forum” with Climate and Energy Project, Terersa Wilke and Ken Lassman, coordinators
  • Climate Art Project initiated (opening March, 2016), collaboration with the United States Department of Arts and Culture, Lora Jost, primary coordinator
  • Single Use Retail Plastic Bag Ordinance proposed, collaboration with Sierra Wakarusa (Lawrence), Sustainability Action Network, and City of Lawrence Sustainability Advisory Board. Comment regarding proposed Westar rate change to the Kansas Corporation Commission: “As an interfaith network of Protestant, Jewish, and Roman Catholic faith communities in Lawrence, we consider an important aspect of our mission to not only educate regarding earth care, but also to advocate eco-justice concerns. We align ourselves with the UN Earth Charter, which states, “We stand at a critical moment in earth’s history, a time when humanity must chose its future…Toward this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another to the greater community of life, and the future generations.” We are therefore asking Westar to acknowledge this reality and nurture a transition to more sustainable energy usage and practices. We are assuming that the Kansas Corporation Commission will take seriously our concern and are therefore asking that the increase in rates, as suggested by Westar, be considered exorbitant. Such a rate increase reflects more of an emphasis on increasing profit than increasing sustainability in energy usage.”
  • “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our common Home”, Pope Francis Encyclical, Community Conversation, Sara Taliaferro, coordinator
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