Dear sisters and brothers and siblings in Christ,
Future generations will look back upon Thursday June 18 as a hinge moment on which creation's future turned - so long as people of faith the world over affirm God's call to our generation to join together in common witness to save the Eden into which we were born.
On Thursday June 18 Pope Francis will issue his much anticipated Encyclical - "Praised Be: On the Care of the Common Home" - a milestone moment for people of faith the world over, uniting our voices in the call to protect God's great gift - our home - the earth. By making climate action a pillar of his Encyclical on ecology, Pope Francis is declaring that climate change IS A MORAL ISSUE. Indeed, acting on climate change and its impacts on communities around the globe - especially the poor and the marginalized - is a moral obligation. You can read the English translation of the Encyclical (available Thursday morning) and find resources that will help you interpret the Encyclical here: http://www.climatewitness.org/pope-francis-encyclical.html Additional resources will be added as they become available.
Other faith leaders are joining Pope Francis' call for climate action. Last month emergent church leader and author Brian McClaren called for "a national religious uprising on behalf of the planet." Climate leader Rabbi Arthur Waskow is calling this a moment of "deep ecumenism" when many traditions lift up the profound wisdom and truth they share with other traditions. This is an opportunity to join in common witness to address a shared challenge. Read the Rabbinic Letter signed by 300 Rabbis calling for vigorous climate action: https://theshalomcenter.org/torah-pope-crisis-inspire-300-rabbis-call-vigorous-climate-action. Thursday June 18, 2015 is also the first day of Ramadan. Leading American Muslim organizations and teachers have this year called for "Green Ramadan," focusing on the spiritual meaning of Ramadan and its fasft that turns away from material obsessions, by acting with care for all Creation. For information on Green Ramadan, see http://muslimmatters.org/2014/07/02/getting-green-during-ramadan/.
Here's a first-step response:
Ask your pastor to preach on climate change sometime in the fall. And if you're clergy, just make a commitment to do so-even if you've already preached on the climate crisis. Protestant climate leaders throughout New England are calling for a "New Awakening - A Season of Prophetic Preaching, Prayer and Practice." The hope is to get at least 70% of all pastors to preach on climate change immediately following the Pope's address to Congress (September 24, 2015) as the world awaits the Paris climate talks in early December. Here is the link for more information and to commit to preach on climate: http://www.climatewitness.org
Pope Francis, the moral leader of more than one billion people worldwide, is calling for action on climate change. Now is the time for all people of faith to rally behind the core tenets of our faith, which include a covenant with all creatures alive and yet to be born and a moral obligation to care for all Creation - #OurCommonHome.
Listen to Jim Antal's keynote speech at SWC Annual Meeting 2015
What Can You Do for the Earth's Sustainability and Environmental Justice?
Why not volunteer to serve on the Southwest Conference Earthwise Congregation Task Force!
The SWC Executive Board has authorized formation of this group:
- To determine what it means to be an Earthwise/Green Justice Congregation
- Recommend to the Executive Board how the SW Conference could increase awareness and adoption of this designation by congregations
- Form a group which will support and sustain efforts among congregations to increase awareness of and commitment to the Earth's sustainability
The 27th UCC General Synod in 2009 passed a resolution encouraging congregations to adopt this designation, which includes specific actions to follow up on this commitment. Since then, the Minnesota Conference has become a leader in congregational commitment making this a meaningful designation.
How we meet and how often will be determined when the number of members of the task force is established based on how many people decide to volunteer. Meetings may be in person, by e-mail, by conference call, and perhaps by videoconferencing, as appropriate.
Websites With Useful Information
350 means safety from the climate crisis. To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million ("ppm")to below 350 ppm. But 350 is more than a number—it's a symbol of where we need to head as a planet. At 350.org, we're building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and push for policies that will put the world on track to get to 350 ppm.
What the world needs to watch Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases. To help the world succeed, CO2Now.org makes it easy to see the most current CO2 level and what it means. So, use this site and keep an eye on CO2. Invite others to do the same. Then we can do more to send CO2 in the right direction.
Blog featuring posts on a variety of environmental issues and concerns. Post categories include: conservation, environmental disasters, food, green tips and tricks and technology.
UCC Environmental Ministries
Following are Links to information in the Environmental Ministries section on ucc.org