Faithful Response to Climate Change


Jim Antal

9/9/2009

To Pastors and all who care about future generations,

The greatest opportunity the human community has ever had to affect future generations is less than 90 days away. On December 7-18, over 150 countries will gather in the hope of committing to an international agreement that will begin to slow, and ultimately reverse, CO2 emissions. Because God’s covenant is not only with us, but with all of creation, extending to all future generations, we are called to engage this opportunity with all of the love, creative activity, and hope God has showered upon us.

Please share this with at least one member of your congregation who will join you in providing leadership in one or more of the suggested activities. And if you are receiving this email from your pastor, please email your contact information and the name of the congregation you call home to Willie Sordillo at sordillow@macucc.org. That way you will be part of the growing UCC movement for a sustainable future.

OPPORTUNITY #1:

Make plans for your congregation and town to join thousands of others on October 24-25: International Day of Climate Action.

Publicly encourage the world’s governments to act upon the latest climate science and move towards 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the environment. Already over 1,400 actions in over 100 countries are planned. Here are some ideas that may be right for you:

  • If you haven’t done it yet, ring your church bells 350 times on Oct. 25 in conjunction with a sermon, adult ed session, or community gathering. For ideas, sample press release, etc. seehttp://www.macucc.org/news/350challenge.htm
  • Put on a “Climate Theater” as part of your worship or on your town common; see below.
  • Hold a post card drive in your church. Here’s a guide from the National Council of Churches.
  • Hold a prayer service in a place threatened by climate change, such as the coastline.
  • Host a community dialogue about climate change.
  • Organize an interfaith forum on spiritual perspectives on the climate crisis (see below re: the Interfaith Call:  www.350.org/interfaithcall.)
  • Invite the community to come together to help weatherize homes, support local food production and farmers markets or create another service action.
     
  • For more great ideas, see : www.350.org/action-ideas
  • For other resources and ideas from the National Council of Churches:www.nccecojustice.org/

BE SURE TO TAKE A PHOTO OF YOUR EVENT and upload it on www.350.org so that your event will be part of the thousands of events worldwide which are counted in the campaign.

 

Once you’ve decided what you and your congregation (and town?) are going to do, please register your idea on350.org: http://www.350.org/faith

 

Note that the World Council of Churches is completely on board with the 350ppm movement:

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/news/news-management/eng/a/article/1634/statement-on-eco-justice.html

 

OPPORTUNITY #2:

Join me and sign the on-line Interfaith Call for 350.

For more information and to sign, go to: www.350.org/interfaithcall. Also, encourage your congregation members to sign. On Oct. 18 the Call will be delivered to world leaders to urge them to negotiate a new climate treaty that adheres to the latest science. EVERY YEAR GOD’S EARTH IS ABOVE 350 parts per million carbon dioxide, (we’re at 390 now), billions of people and the world’s ecosystems are in jeopardy. We are asking the nations of the world to write a climate treaty that commits the world to decreasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to below 350 parts per million. 350 is the stable and safe upper limit for the world's people, creatures, and future generations. Bill McKibben's global 350.org climate campaign is working with religious leaders worldwide, including the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu.

 

OPPORTUNITY #3:

Put on a Climate Theater as part of your worship.

A short, fun theatre piece that can involve anywhere from 4 to 40 people has been written by climate change activists and is available to you. You’ll find it especially useful for engaging youth and young adults who care about the environment and could make a real contribution to the community by enacting this playful bit of theater. Contact Willie Sordillo (sordillow@macucc.org) for a copy of the play. Questions? Contact Tina Clarke: tina@350.org, 413-863-5253.

 

Also, consider inviting the Just Peace Players to put on their production that focuses on climate change and the environment, Hey, Save the Earth. Contact Fran Bogle for more information: fbog@aol.com.

 

OPPORTUNITY #4:

Support the Resolution to Reverse Climate change and Protect God’s Creation at the Massachusetts Conference Annual Meeting on October 16-17.

The Environmental Ministries group has developed a resolution that the Commission for Mission and Justice Ministries has submitted to be considered by the Annual Meeting. It is hoped that the Annual Meeting will be able to vote on this resolution. Please encourage your congregation’s delegates to the Annual Meeting to support this resolution.

OPPORTUNITY #5:

Come hear Bill McKibben address the Climate Convocation at Memorial Church, Harvard University on Sunday, October 18 at 2:00 pm.

In anticipation of the October 24th International Day of Climate Action (http://www.350.org/), writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben will offer his penetrating insights on global and local efforts for climate justice and the individual, institutional, and political change the crisis demands. People of faith and people of conscience, educators and community leaders, scientists and students will meet at Memorial Church, Harvard University to hear a common call to action. Together we can make it clear that the world needs an international plan that meets the latest science and safeguards our irreplaceable earth for future generations.

OPPORTUNITY #6:

Come hear the Rev. Cannon Sally G. Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power and Light, at the Mass. Council of Churches Ecumenical Dinner on Thursday, October 29. To reserve a seat, call the MCC at 617-523-2771. See also the Mass council of Churches newsletter, A Vision of a Future with Hope at http://www.masscouncilofchurches.org/4x_Intersect_Sum09_80509%20(1).pdf

 

OPPORTUNITY #7:

New Spiritual Disciplines in Covenant with God, Creation and Future Generations.

Convene a discussion, hold an adult education session or preach a sermon on this question: “In a world of climate degradation, what does being a Christian look like and what does being a religious leader look like?” For faithful Christians in the pews and for religious leaders, what practices in the following areas could/should become “normative expectations” now and in the years ahead? How could these practices be thought of as “spiritual practices” or “spiritual disciplines” every bit as much as prayer, almsgiving and fasting?

  1. Holy habits / personal disciplines
  2. Symbolic action
  3. Legislative engagement
  4. Buildings made green - churches, homes and offices
  5. Towns made verdant by shared vision of clergy and elected leaders

 

OPPORTUNITY #8:

Consider focusing worship on Advent II or Advent III (December 6 or 13) on themes linking Advent to creation care, climate change, hope for the future, etc.

Remembering Barth’s quip that we should always preach with the Bible in one hand and the New York Times in the other, we know now that the news in the period of December 7-18 will be dominated by the work done at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

 

OPPORTUNITY #9:

Consider using the Sunday school curriculum, Sharing and Protecting God’s Creation, developed by the Congregational Church of Weston, UCC.

This curriculum offers a three-week environmental curriculum for Sunday Schools using the Workshop Rotation Learning Model. Download the curriculum in PDF format here: http://www.congwestonucc.net/Environmental%20Curriculum.pdf.

 

Thank you for sharing this with others who are concerned about creation and for your own commitment in this area.

 

Jim



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