Resolution on the Environment and the Church approved by the 202nd Annual Meeting (2001)

6/9/2001


Voted by the 202nd Annual Meeting, June 9, 2001

As Christians, we say that God created the earth and called it good. Human beings are called to care for the earth. We do not own it, but are to treasure it and nurture it as a sacred trust.
 
WHEREAS, A pattern of ecosystem changes produced by human behavior threatens human survival; and a suffering earth, like the prophets, cries out against human greed, neglect, and destructiveness; and

WHEREAS, Christians are called to respond as faithful stewards by taking personal and collective actions to defend and heal the earth; and

WHEREAS, "An Open Letter to the Religious Community" signed in 1990 by 32 scientists of great
stature and 271 spiritual leaders from 83 countries urged people of faith to acknowledge that the environmental crisis is so grave as to have "a religious as well as a scientific dimension"; and

WHEREAS, In response to the "Open Letter," the National Council of Churches, U.S. Catholic
Conference, Coalition for the Environment and Jewish Life, and Evangelical Environmental Network founded the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, whose goal is "to weave the mission of care for God's creation across all areas of organized religion"; and

WHEREAS,
The National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Working Group, in which the United Church of Christ participates, works to mobilize congregations through such efforts as the Environmental Justice Covenant Congregation Program, the Energy Stewardship Congregations Program, and the Interfaith Global Climate Change Campaign; and

WHEREAS, The national Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ encourages
local churches, Associations and Conferences to "engage in direct action for the integrity of creation"; and

WHEREAS, Despite these efforts by ecumenical and denominational bodies, most churches in the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ remain in a state of inertia with respect to the need for Christians to defend and heal the earth; and

WHEREAS, The global environmental crisis is deepening, marked by scientifically-attested evidence of climate change, ozone depletion, species extinctions, a rising incidence of natural disasters and damaging impacts of toxic pollution on human health;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED,
That the 202nd Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ urges:

1. The Environmental Task Team of the Commission for Mission and Justice Ministries of the Massachusetts Conference to reach out to all Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ
member congregations with a program of environmental education and action; and

2. Local church members to prayerfully consider giving a high priority to making the personal and congregational choices needed to defend and heal the earth; and

3. Pastors and lay leaders in the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ to work for public policy changes which, along with individual and congregational actions and choices, are needed to defend and heal the earth.

Proposed by the Commission for Mission and Justice Ministries
 


 



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