Resources to Care for Creation

04.03.15 | Advocacy and Action, Climate Justice | by Sherie Koob

    The United Methodist Social Principles say, “All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it…God has granted us stewardship of creation. We should meet these stewardship duties through acts of loving care and respect... developments have led to regional defoliation, dramatic extinction of species, massive human suffering, overpopulation and misuse and overconsumption of natural and nonrenewable resources, particularly by industrialized societies.

    "This continued course of action jeopardizes the natural heritage that God has entrusted to all generations. Therefore, let us recognize the responsibility of the church and its members to place a high priority on changes in economic, political, social, and technological lifestyles to support a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world leading to a higher quality of life for all of God’s creation.”

    What is the denomination doing to address these concerns and how can your church become involved?

    The General Board of Church and Society is the Board that is charged with overseeing and implementing our Social Principles (¶’s 160-166 of the Book of Discipline). Specifically they/we are advocating:

    Fossil Free UMC is a grassroots organization of United Methodists who recognize that it is wrong for the UMC to profit from wrecking the planet. They are in dialogue with The General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (GBPHB) and support petitions to General Conference that call for GBPHB to create investment screens for coal, petroleum and gas and to add those fossil fuels to the list of social responsible investment screens in our Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. [Note, GBPHB recently agreed to include coal among the investments it screens for. Those affiliated with Fossil Free UMC believe this is a good first step, but it is not enough.]

    Resources include:

    • a 14 minute webinar,
    • a two session Bible Study,
    • Sermon Tips,
    • a role play exercise,
    • a flyer

    Two organizations that are helpful to congregations, and individuals, seeking to decrease their carbon footprint and understand their role in being stewards of the earth include:

    GreenFaith: InterFaith Partners for the Environment offers:

    • Certification and Fellowship Programs
    • Webinars on specific projects/topics
    • Start-up Kits for Houses of Worship and for Individual Households
    • Speakers and Workshops

    Interfaith Power & Light: A Religious Response to Global Warming offers:

    • Certification
    • Cool Congregations Challenge
    • Tips on conserving energy
    • Start-up Kits and more