The word Earth comes from the Old English root 'Ert,' a word from a time when the Earth was flat and its depths unknown. Ert is a word which meant soil and carried with it the smell of freshly plowed fields and the promise of nourishment. After Copernicus rearranged the heavens for Earth's inhabitants, proving that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of the known universe, people took a word that had reffered to something tangible-the ground beneath their feet, and cast it over the planet as a whole.
The word church is more complicated, both in it's origins and its inclusion in our organization's name. It may be derived from the Greek 'kurios oikos,' in English, 'house of the lord,' referring to those structures built to house Christian congregations and the spirit of God on Earth. Some sources, including the Oxford English Dictionary, trace the origin from the Old English 'circe,' the name of the Goddess-daughter of Helios, the sun deity of Greek mythology. Whatever the origins, the word can bring up strong feelings for people both within the Church, as traditionally conceived, and outside of it.
The vision for Earth Church was inspired by a desire to protect and celebrate the Earth, planet and soil, through the mechanism of church as anchor tethering community to purpose. Earth Church is a strategy to build awareness and inspire action based on the best practices of organized religion, but Earth Church is not a religion nor is it in conflict with religion. At its heart, Earth Church is a response to Climate Change and a rejection of hopelessness. By working collectively we can increase resilience to the effects of climate change in vulnerable populations, protect our fragile ecosystems, and reduce our individual and collective carbon footprint.