Eco-Justice Ministries  

Eco-Justice Notes
The E-mail Commentary from Eco-Justice Ministries

Missing Pieces of the Puzzle
distributed 2/16/01 - ©2001

Over the last two weeks, I have touched on the theme of "necessary and sufficient" factors in social change. Allow me just one more meditation on that theme, taking it in a somewhat different direction!

As local churches go about the challenging task of ministering to folk in this modern world, there are many segments of life which are addressed.

  • Clearly, the church deals with faith and spirituality.

  • We know that ministry means talking about families and relationships.

  • The demands and stresses - as well as the rewards - of work are issues which must be faced.

  • Health concerns are named frequently in prayer.

  • Ethical and moral questions abound.

All of these are necessary parts of the church's ministry. We would not be doing our job if these critical needs were not addressed. And, indeed, they frequently are addressed in worship, education, and pastoral care.

But however necessary our ministries around these commonly recognized needs, this list is not sufficient. If our list stops here, our ministry is incomplete. From my perspective (unbiased as it is!), there are at least two other elements that are necessary if the church is to minister faithfully.

  • We must address justice - the ways in which right relationships are maintained in our institutional structures, and looking at matters of institutional power.

  • We must address environmental perspectives - looking beyond our immediate setting to see the ways in which we are joined in a web of relationships among human communities, among the entire community of life, and within the functioning of natural systems.

A display board for our agency that I have taken to conferences asks the question, "How can we help our people make sense of their lives, when we don't talk about all of the pieces of the puzzle?" Justice and the environment are the missing pieces in the ministry of many churches.

Our work at Eco-Justice Ministries in motivated by the conviction that Eco-Justice is not an optional part of church life. Eco-Justice is a necessary component of faithful and effective ministry.

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I'm delighted to say that new sections keep being added to our website! The website address is

In the last week, we've posted:

  • an archive of these occasional e-mail messages

  • a new listing of web links to resources, articles and agencies related to the environment and eco-justice, especially faith-based links. There is also a page with detailed contact information and links for a number of denominational offices, programs and resources.

The web links represents many hours of working with Internet search engines and following links from site to site. However, I'm sure that it only scratches the surface of the helpful websites that are available.

Please let us know about the webpages that you have found which are helpful in understanding and living Eco-Justice!


Peter Sawtell
Executive Director
Eco-Justice Ministries

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Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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