Introduction to Educational Materials for Seminaries and Other Educational Institutions

Over the past five years, more and more people from the world’s great faith traditions have realized that caring for the earth must become an important aspect of their religious identity and practice.

But for those of us who want to protect the earth as an expression of our faith, there’s been a hurdle standing in our way — an absence of images and stories that show what it means, and what it looks like, to be a religious-environmental leader. And the absence of these images and stories has slowed the growth of the religious-environmental movement, and prevented many from taking action on creation’s behalf.

Now, thankfully, that has changed. RENEWAL is the first, feature-length documentary that offers us these images and stories of religious-environmental action. Thanks to filmmakers Marty Ostrow and Terry Kay Rockefeller, we have a superb film that tells eight stories, stories that show how a diverse set of religious groups are putting their beliefs into action for the earth.

And now, thanks to Auburn Media, there is a study guide to help people of faith explore the important issues raised by RENEWAL. This study guide is suitable for a wide audience — from seminary students who want the environment to play a prominent role in their identity as rabbis, pastors and imams to adults who want to think more deeply about what they believe about the environment.

RENEWAL is one of the most important tools available to help people from diverse religious backgrounds think critically and faithfully about what their tradition asks of them in relation to the earth. And Auburn Media’s Study Guides are a valuable asset to that process of engagement. We encourage you to use them — whether as a teaching aid in a graduate seminar or colloquium, or in an adult education forum. Your belief will be enlarged and your perspective deepened as you reflect about what you believe your tradition teaches you about the environment — and as you decide how you will respond.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper
Executive Director

Faith Leaders: New Ways to Get Involved with RENEWAL

Expanded Resource List

In addition to the educational resources on this portion of, we encourage you to peruse an ever-changing list of resources, found at the end of each educational module and on the Additional Resources page. We hope to be updating these resources on a regular basis. If you have a resource you’d like to see added, visit and drop us a line.

Bookmark RENEWAL’s Social Media

RENEWAL is on Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Wikipedia, IMDB, and YouTube. Become a fan and check back for updates, tips, and events.

Educational Materials & Resources Forum

Once you begin using the RENEWAL materials, you may want to discuss your experience with others. We are excited to provide you with a way to offer real-time feedback. In the RENEWAL Forum, you can post your thoughts, ideas, and comments in the section called Educational Materials & Resources Forum.

PDFs for your Seminary or Faith Community

Each educational module has a link to a printer-friendly PDF, making these materials turnkey to use and easy to share and email. Look for the link in the upper right-hand corner of each module, then click for download.

How to Use These Materials

The 90-minute documentary is designed for theatrical, institutional, and community screenings, and for broadcast; yet each of RENEWAL’s eight stories also stands on its own. From the DVD Main Menu you can choose to play the entire 90-minute documentary, or you can select any individual story. The individual stories are slightly longer than the versions in the full documentary and contain additional scenes and information.

The educational materials are organized into eight modules, each tied to a story in the film. In each module you will find:

  • Background summary for each film episode
  • An overview of key religious and ecological themes
  • Questions for individual or group discussion
  • Take-action tools for students, teachers, and administrators
  • Engagement strategies for partnership with other communities of faith
  • A list of resources for extended exploration and investigation

Copyright © The Renewal Project.