Ministry Spotlight: Simpler Living

MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT is a new feature. Please feel free to contact Vicki about a ministry you are involved in. Remember ministries are not only through the Cathedral–you may be sharing your spiritual gifts with ministries outside the Cathedral, (such as Hands Up Food Pantry or Uptown Faith). To Spotlight your ministry email Vicki Hoppenrath at

Ministry Spotlight: SIMPLER LIVING  Volunteer: Phil Petrie

Describe your ministry: Our ministry seeks a Christian response to the twin perils of environmental degradation and hyper-consumerism.  The latter often drives the former.  Both are symptoms, we believe of a civilization that is out of touch with what God intends for us and for his/her Creation.  We call ourselves Simpler Living because we feel that living with fewer things can open us further to God’s loving presence and is more just to those that our wealth tends to marginalize–be they our human brothers or sisters or the rest of creation.  However, we know also that for all of us this is a process and patience is always a necessary part of love.

What have you learned about yourself through your ministry?  I am not always so good at following up on a particular avenue—I tend to jump around some.  I do like working with our small committee.  I think we have developed a good rapport.  I have also learned that I should not take personally certain things that don’t always go as I would like them.  The short term is relatively unimportant—it is the longer term and the longer scope of relationships that matter.

Have you seen Jesus through your ministry?  Yes, but not in ways perhaps that are obvious.  I think Jesus was present to many of us that just completed the Richard Rohr book study.  But (borrowing from Rohr) I think Jesus’ presence was not only in those things that went well but also in those things that were more mixed or even failed.

What is the biggest secret about your ministry?  That we have a section of the St. Paul’s lending library devoted to books on the environment and simpler living.  Carolyn Lief is in charge of that.

Why would you recommend your ministry to another person? Both because I think doing something about the environmental crisis (and especially addressing climate change) is absolutely crucial and because I believe deeply that living more in sync with Creation is fundamentally good for us.  And sometimes we even have fun (look for Game Night in September)!!

What is the time commitment? For those of us on the committee it is anywhere from 2-8 hours per month.  However, we would also welcome volunteers for specific projects that would have a clear beginning and ending point, perhaps just helping to set-up for an event or writing a paragraph for our e-newsletter.  If you are interested please contact myself at or Grace van Thillo at .

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