Approved by the 204th Annual Meeting, June 6-7, 2003, Mount Holyoke College. Proposed by First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Williamstown
Urgent worldwide concern brought the Earth Charter into existence at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. From the beginning, the emphasis was on saving and sharing energy, protection of species, concern for poverty, controlling pollution, and honoring the gift of the earth, our home. The final version was approved and released by the Earth Charter Commission in Paris, March 2002.
The secretariat for the Commission was established at the Earth Council office in Costa Rica. The text of the Charter is available online at www.earthcharter.org or Earth Charter, International Secretariat, P.O. Box 319-6100, San Jose, Costa Rica.
Commission members represent five geographic areas: e.g. Mikhail Gorbachev chairs the Europe group, along with commission members from France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Greenland. Candaidan Maurice F. Strong co-chairs the North American group. Prof. Steven Rockefeller, department of religion at Middlebury College, helped revise the document. He and religious environmentalist Thomas Berry spoke at an Earth Charter conference last May in Maine, which two members of the First Congregational Church, Williamstown also addressed.
Christians seek to respect the words of Psalm 24, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Around the globe, individuals and organizations have crafted the Earth Charter, an attempt to improve the worldwide situation in its environmental, social, and economic aspects. The Charter calls upon us to respect the earth and life in all its diversity. “The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.”
WHEREAS, a global, grassroots effort has drafted the Charter; and
WHEREAS, the January 2003 Annual Meeting of the First Congregational Church of Williamstown unanimously voted to endorse the Charter; and
WHEREAS, the same meeting also voted unanimously to extend an invitation to other U.C.C. Massachusetts congregations to do likewise; and
WHEREAS, the more individuals and organizations that signify a commitment to the spirit and aims of the Charter, the more likely it will influence decisions and actions in future years through study, endorsement, and application to immediate issues and long-term church planning; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 204th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ invite all churches in the Conference to study and to consider endorsing the Earth Charter.
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