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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Lutheran social services go green

Environmental stewardship becomes central to agencies' work

In high school, Chris Burrell volunteered at Artman Lutheran Home in Ambler, Pa., serving food to elderly residents. As a student at Temple University in Philadelphia, he remained connected to Artman, one of 28 agencies within Liberty Lutheran Services.

One day Burrell, who was majoring in philosophy and environmental studies, shared an observation with longtime family friend Luanne Fisher, president and CEO of Liberty Lutheran in Philadelphia. Fisher recalled Burrell saying: "Artman is a facility concerned with excellent customer service and being a model of good stewardship in the community. Why aren't there more environmentally and ecologically sound principles being employed there?"

Brad Roos, executive director of Zion
Brad Roos, executive director of Zion Development in Rockford, Ill., bought one of the eco-friendly condos the agency created.

That struck a chord with Fisher. When Burrell shared specific ideas about how Liberty Lutheran — especially Artman — could become greener, she asked him to present his ideas at an executive team meeting. "Chris' presentation fostered a lot of things in the organization," Fisher said. "Afterward, we developed green teams throughout the organization and implemented other earth-friendly programs."

At Artman, Liberty Lutheran installed solar panels and sponsored an event where people in surrounding communities could come to have documents shredded and paper recycled. And a Liberty Lutheran staff member now collects and recycles cell phones and batteries.

Liberty Lutheran is one of more than 300 health and human services that are member organizations of Lutheran Services in America, an alliance of the ELCA and Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod that touches the lives of more than 6 million people a year — one in 50 Americans.


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