Our Work


In 2019 the ELCA formed the Sustainability Table, which acts on the Christian’s responsibility to be a steward of creation. It aims to explore ELCA churchwide and congregational strategies and activities that care for and protect all of creation, and to pull these together into a holistic, coordinated effort, making us more effective stewards of God’s good creation.


Sustainability Rooted in ELCA Social Teachings

  1. ELCA social teachings set benchmarks for us as Christians as we consider questions of sustainability in our social and economic lives.

  3. Social Statements
    • Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All (ELCA, 1999) develops this church’s vision of sufficiency and sustainability, focusing on economic life and emphasizing the poor and disenfranchised. It calls for companies to bear the wider social and environmental costs of what they produce (p. 14). 
    • Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice (ELCA, 1993) develops the church’s vision of creation and lifts up sustainability as a central part of that vision. It calls upon us to provide an acceptable quality of life for present generations without compromising that of future generations (p. 7).
    • Genetics, Faith and Responsibility (ELCA, 2011) defines sustainability in the context of unprecedented human technical power. It lays out the imperative of responsible action that promotes the capacity of natural and social systems to survive and thrive together over the long-term (p. 21).

  5. Social Message
    • The ELCA social message “Human Rights” (ELCA, 2017) defines sustainability as providing an acceptable quality of life for present generations without compromising that of future generations.



A number of work groups carryout the work of Sustainability across ELCA.

  • Steering Committee
  • Advocacy
  • Communication
  • Faith Formation/Education
  • Education and Games for Children
  • Capacity Building
  • Operation and organization practice change to Resources Practices Group
  • Funding


Sustainability Table Structure


Addressing climate change is key to sustainability, COP26 photo depicting the time to act is now. (Credit: Chuck Moore/Random Snaps Photography for Living Lutheran/ELCA)

The Sustainability Table, led by a steering committee, brings together the churchwide organization, the synods and congregations to coordinate sustainability work.

Below are the work groups tasked with carrying out this work.

  • Advocacy is the work of lifting up ELCA voices across the church and influencing policies on global, national, state and local levels that advance the common good as we further God’s work in our world. Shaped by the ELCA’s social teaching documents and the experiences of its congregations, ministries and partners, we will advocate to end world hunger and realize true environmental, economic, social, racial and gender justice. We will stand up for policies that create opportunities to eradicate poverty and inequality, and that promote peace and dignity, preserving God’s creation.


    Photo of global advocate and party participants in plenaries at COP 26. (Credit: Chuck Moore/Random Snaps Photography for Living Lutheran/ELCA)

  • Communication
  • Faith Formation/Education


    Climate education is essential for climate action. (Credit: Chuck Moore/Random Snaps Photography for Living Lutheran/ELCA)

  • Education Games for Children on Sustainability


    Learning about sustainability can be entertaining and instructional. (Photo Credit: Chuck Moore/Random Snaps Photography for Living Lutheran/ELCA)

  • Capacity Building
  • Operation and organization practices
  • Funding