Caring for Creation
Presbyterians for Earth Care
For our earlier posts
on Ecojustice (2001 - 2007) >>
Reflections on Martin Luther King Day
Theology for Earth
The Rev. Peter S.
Sawtell, Executive Director of Eco-Justice Ministries,
celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by
reminding us of some of the major characteristics of liberation
theology, and tracing their relevance for a modern theology for
liberation of the creation.
The four basic
affirmations of liberation theology, he says, are:
The experience of the community
is the starting point for theological
Liberation theology takes seriously the
presence of powerful institutions.|
theology demands action and involvement.
"The emphasis is on orthopraxis rather than orthodoxy."
Hope sustains and enlivens the struggle for
For his full
New program provides
suggestions for earth care, certifies PC(USA) congregations that
take action [9-17-10]
From Bethany Furkin, Presbyterian News
According to the EPA's Energy Star for
Congregations program, if America's more than 370,000 houses of
worship cut their energy use by 10 percent, they would prevent
more than 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
And now the more than 10,000 Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) congregations can take additional steps to do
their part, with the help of a new program from Environmental
Earth Care Congregations is a program that
encourages churches to care for God's earth and celebrates those
that have committed to this mission. The program takes a
holistic approach to earth care, incorporating worship,
education, facilities and outreach.
The Word and the World:
Psalm 8 and the Gulf Oil Spill
by the Rev.
Bruce Gillette, dated Saturday, May 29, 2010
[posted here 6-3-10]
“Effective preaching, teaching, and personal
witness require disciplined study of both the Bible and the
contemporary world.” --from
The Confession of 1967
of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Many people in our churches
have been watching the news stories of the oil spill and praying
News has the headline,
A nation mesmerized: Can BP plug the Gulf gusher?
response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Even
President Obama’s young daughter is asking when the disaster
And the Oil Spill”
was a recent column by the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer Thomas
Friedman with this comment, “…the gulf oil spill is not Obama's
Katrina. It's his 9/11 -- and it is disappointing to see him
making the same mistake George W. Bush made with his 9/11. Sept.
11, 2001, was one of those rare seismic events that create the
possibility to energize the country to do something really
important and lasting that is too hard to do in normal times.”
What may be true for the President can also be true for our
churches, that we fail to encourage people of faith to make a
difference for God’s creation at this teachable moment.
The Psalm in May
30th’s lectionary that will be read in many of our churches is
Psalm 8 with
its words praising God for an awe-inspiring creation, including
the sixth verse, “You have given them dominion over the works of
your hands; you have put all things under their feet.”
A new hymn, “O
God, the Great, Wide Seas are Yours,”
uses the image of creation care from Psalm 8:6 in each of its
verses set to the well-known tune of what is often called the
Navy Hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”
The idea of
humanity’s “dominion” over creation first shows up in Genesis
1:28. Here are some reflections about it from the recent
Journey Towards a Green Church
Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching and the Arts
(the quarterly journal is published by the
Office of Theology and Worship
of the PCUSA), 42.4 Environment and Worship issue (May 2009):
“It is always
good to look at a variety of biblical translations when
preparing to preach or teach. The first chapter of Genesis
provides a key text (1:28) by which one can look at the rest of
“God blessed them
and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the
earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds
of the air and over every living creature that moves on the
ground." New International Version
blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,
and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the
fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every
living thing that moves upon the earth.”
New Revised Standard Version
These translations (“subdue,” “rule
over” and “have dominion”) have created problems. Lynn White
wrote an influential article, "The Historical Roots of our
Ecological Crisis" (Science 155 (1967): pages 1203-7),
arguing that Genesis 1:28 says creation is “explicitly for man’s
benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any
purpose save to serve man’s purposes” (p. 1205). White believes
that the verse is an underlying cause of our present
environmental problems. While some good scholars have countered
White’s position, one wonders if we might have had the same
problems if people had pondered the better wording (“take
charge” and “be responsible for”) used by Eugene Peterson in his
The Message for the same verse:
“God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill
Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth."
In addition to
looking at various biblical translations, it is helpful for a
preacher or teacher to use the helpful resources in good study
Bibles. Terence Fretheim of Luther Seminary in St. Paul makes a
helpful comment in the Genesis 1:28 footnote of the new
Discipleship Study Bible,
a study Bible that seeks to help people “called to discipleship
in the world” (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2008, p.xii):
Subdue…have dominion-God shares power with the human, choosing
not to be the only one who has creative and ruling capacities.
Having dominion is understood in terms of caregiving, not
exploitation; it has its roots in the ideal conception of royal
dominion (see Ps. 72:8-14, Ezek. 24:1-4) and focuses on the
animals. The command to “subdue” relates to the earth,
particularly the difficult task of cultivation. While the verb
may have a coercive aspect in interhuman relationships (Num.
32:22, 29) no enemies are in view here. More generally, these
verbs assume ongoing development in the created order, rather
than a finished product. So God’s world is not a static state of
Taylor has a wonderful sermon,
Dominion of Love,”
in The Green Bible that reminds us that biblical
interpretation includes reading biblical texts in their literary
context. She comments on her resulting discovery that human
beings are not the only creatures made at the sixth day of the
“I cannot tell
you how many times I read the first chapter of Genesis before I
noticed something new on day six. For years and years I thought
that humans had day six all to ourselves— you know, the pinnacle
of the story—God’s last, best word in the utterance of creation.
With all lesser creatures out of the way, the sixth day finally
arrived… Then I noticed for the first time that day six does not
start there. Day six starts two verses earlier, with the
creation of land animals—cattle, to be exact. The text does not
mention any other animals by name except cattle— twice, in fact,
along with unspecified creeping things and wild animals… Still,
this new information is a real come down—a reminder that while
God may have made human beings for special purpose, we were not
made of any more special stuff than the rest of creation. We
were made on the same day as cows and creeping things and wild
animals of every kind. God gave us dominion, it is true, but God
did not pronounce us better than anything else that God had
Preaching and Worship: A Lectionary Commentary
edited by Roger E. Van Horn and Brent A. Shawn (Eerdmans, 2009)
includes this insight by Rolf Jacobson: “Psalm 8 pictures all of
humanity as the kings and queens of creation, bestowed with a
special divinely given gifts, which we are to use for the care
and keeping of creation” (p. 66).
A more recent article looking
at the Gulf disaster in the larger environmental context is an
excellent one by Bill McKibben in Christian Century
about the carbon:
What's worse than the gulf oil leak?”
The major new studies released on May 19th by
some top scientists in the USA
from our National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of
Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research
Council see the strong evidence on Climate Change underscores
the need for action. Long after the oil spill in the Gulf has
been stopped, we are facing a greater environmental challenge
that needs to be spoken about in our pulpits, church classrooms
and inspire creative action in the world by faithful Christians.
Grace and Peace,
Co-Pastor, Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware
A hymn for a time of disaster in
hymn-prayer was written by the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, in
response to the ongoing oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon
offshore drilling rig that started on April 20th.
O God, the
Great, Wide Seas are Yours
(“Eternal Father, Strong to Save”)
O God, the great, wide seas are yours!
You carved the oceans’ rugged floors.
You set the waters in their place
And made all sea life by your grace.
You also made humanity
To care for earth and sky and sea.
Forgive us when we disobey
And fail to care for what you’ve made.
Consuming more than what we should,
We harm the waters you call good.
Forgive us when we fail to be
Good stewards of your wondrous sea.
We pray for those who seek to care
For troubled waters everywhere—
For those who work to stop the spill
Of all that would destroy and kill,
For those who work with loving hands
To tend your marshes, shores and sands.
God, may we hear your call anew
To care for all these gifts from you.
May we protect the sea and shore
By using less, conserving more,
And humbly learning how to live
As stewards of this world you give.
Biblical references: Genesis 1-2:4
Tune: John B. Dykes, in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861.
Text: Copyright © 2010 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights
Background: The hymn-prayer was
written in response to the ongoing oil spill from the Deepwater
Horizon offshore drilling rig that started on April 20th.
Churches are also using other creation hymns by Carolyn Winfrey
Gillette, including her popular
“The Earth is the Lord’s.”
The first five hymns in her
of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor
(Upper Room Books, 2010) have creation themes. Carolyn Winfrey
Gillette is co-author of “A
Journey to a Green Church.”
A complete list of her 160 hymns can be found at:
We Wrecked the Ocean”
is an online April 2010 TED Talk by Jeremy Jackson, the Ritter
Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine
Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, on how the oceans are overfished, overheated,
polluted and getting worse.
National Council of
Churches Eco-Justice Working Group reports from Copenhagen
Tyler Edgar, Associate Director of the Eco-Justice Program of
the NCC, John Hill with the United Methodist Church, Mary
Minette of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Bill
Somplatsky-Jarman of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are all
attending the climate negotiations. Tyler Edgar is sending daily
updates on the Eco-Justice blog.
Click here to follow
along, and know the call of justice for God's Creation and
God's people is being heard during the negotiations in
A sample from
Copenhagen: Ecumenical Weekend Begins
morning here in Copenhagen and the first week of
negotiations is coming to a close while the global
ecumenical community is gearing up for a weekend of prayer,
action and climate justice events.
First a wrap
up of where the negotiations are headed. After an intense 5
days of conversation and discussion, the big development
here in Copenhagen is the role that developing countries are
playing in the negotiations. Many of the small island
nations and the least developed countries are uniting to
demand a concrete second agreement that will be
complementary to the Kyoto Protocol. This would allow
countries such as the US to engage in the new agreement
while maintaining the structure created under the Kyoto
I hope that
you will the time to express the importance of these climate
negotiations in your own community – you don’t have to
organize a march or release 2000 lanterns, but you can tell
your friends about what's happening here, say a prayer at
your church this Sunday for the negotiations happening in
Copenhagen or write a letter to the editor on what faith
communities around the world are doing to address climate
change and the need for climate justice.
do, please do something!
Creation needs your help and US leaders must know that the
faith community is committed to seeking climate justice.
Two calls for action in Copenhagen
Demand climate justice
The Pesticide Action Network is calling for
“climate justice” in Copenhagen
Urge U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing to
renounce backroom deals. The path to climate stabilization must
be transparent and equitable for all nations.
PAN is on the ground here in Copenhagen with one
objective – climate justice. The concept is simple enough: We
should not make other people clean up our mess. And, nobody
should use the political will and sense of urgency around
climate change as an opportunity to fortify their positions of
power and wealth.
ACT NOW» Tell
the U.S. negotiator, Jonathan Pershing, that the road to climate
stabilization must be a fair one if it is going to work for all
the people on the planet.
nations (especially the U.S.) are historically responsible for
over 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, despite composing
only 20% of the world's population. Meanwhile, the developing
world -- most of humanity -- is on the front lines of climate
change, paying our climate debt by enduring the harshest storms
and most severe droughts. The Kyoto protocol recognizes this
fact of "historical responsibility" by talking about "common but
According to a negotiating text leaked today, the U.S. is
working behind closed doors with the U.K. and Denmark to reverse
these key provisions of the Kyoto framework by: 1) stripping
recognition of the industrialized world's disproportionate
historical responsibility for warming the earth; and 2) handing
most control to rich nations while making the World Bank, rather
than the more democratic UN, the arbiter of global cuts. This
deal is being called the "Danish Text," and developing countries
are understandably incensed by it.
Take Action!» Tell the U.S. delegation that
playing politics at this critical hour is unacceptable. Secret
agreements between the world's most powerful players is unfair
and undermines trust at a moment when we haven't the time to
spend years rebuilding it. We will deliver your signatures with
partners here in Copenhagen.
To tackle climate
change, we need leadership with the vision and fortitude for
climate justice. Clearly, we won't get that from this delegation
unless we demand it.
Or if you prefer a more symbolic action -- Help build an ark!
Press for action against climate change
The group Faithful America, with others, is
building a giant ark on the National Mall in Washington, “to
remind our leaders exactly what’s at stake” in the UN Copenhagen
Their call for action continues:
The Copenhagen talks are our best chance at
getting a real climate deal, and it's not a moment too soon.
People in developing countries are already experiencing drought,
disease and even death because of climate change. But,
bureaucratic foot-dragging is endangering the climate talks.
We're participating in a global grassroots
effort to remind our leaders what's at stake. Today, teams of
volunteers are starting to build the Ark. Saturday, in front of
the completed Ark, clergy will join other leaders to speak about
the moral imperative to address climate change and its
disproportionate impact on those living in poverty. It's shaping
up to be an incredible witness (after all, a giant Ark is pretty
hard to ignore), so we wanted to make sure all our Faithful
America members could participate.
Sign the petition calling for a real climate deal, and we'll
bring your message with us to the Ark!
We'll post your comments on the Ark's giant
message wall. Media and leaders passing by the Ark will see our
notes and know that people of faith from across the country
demand action on climate change.
After the Copenhagen talks close, we will be
in touch with you with more ways you can help increase the
pressure on the Senate to pass strong climate change
Thanks for all you do,
Online Organizer, Faithful America
PS: If you're in the DC area, we'd love to see
you in person this Saturday at 4 PM! (More
details here.) If you are
outside of the DC area,
click here to see if there is a December 12 climate vigil
|50 Ways to Save the Earth
new book by Rebecca Barnes-Davies, Witherspoon member and former
coordinator of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, shows how
individuals and churches can make a difference in fighting global
The book, 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How
You and Your Church Can Make a Difference, is available through
Cokesbury . It outlines 50 ways individuals and churches can help
fight global warming and participate in a part of Christian
discipleship, making a connection between stewardship of the earth
and faith. The book consists of seven chapters on topics related to
global climate change: water, energy, transportation, food and
agriculture, people, other species, and wilderness and land
planning. Each chapter begins with a statement on how the content
relates to global warming, followed by seven action items.
For more information, and/or to order, click the Buy from Amazon
|PC(USA) speaks on energy policy and climate
Our Presbyterian General Assembly’s recent study,
to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming, has been
published and is also online.
The church report is timely reading with
today’s news that Obama pushes for passage of global warming
to the Rev. Bruce Gillette,
Co-Pastor, Limestone Presbyterian Church,
|PC(USA) energy policy playing well in Washington
PDA: 'Green construction' in disaster areas
hampered by lack of clarity [6-5-09]
Presbyterian News Service reports that the Obama
administration's emphasis on "green jobs" and "green construction"
tracks well with a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) energy policy
statement approved by last summer's 218th General Assembly, one of
the denomination's top disaster relief officials told the
Advisory Committee on Social
Witness Policy (ACSWP) here recently.
But a lack of clarity over what newly emerging
"green" standards entail makes it hard for agencies such as
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
to promote the environmentally sound rebuilding practices, said the
Rev. John Robinson, PDA's associate for U.S. disaster response.
encouraged by the new administration and its green jobs initiative,"
Robinson told the committee on May 15. "But when disasters happen,
we're not clear as a culture what the expectations of individuals
and governments are for responding."
There is a growing
concern in the U.S. that green construction happens, Robinson said,
"but the standards and technologies are so new that there's no
consensus on what green construction is."
The rest of the
Enough for Everyone offers
resources for Green Living, and suggestions for action on climate
change legislation [4-25-09]
Melanie Hardison, staff
person for the Enough for Everyone program of the PC(USA), sends
Hundreds of Presbyterian churches and
families around the country have changed their light bulbs, started
carpooling to church and are buying more local foods -- actions that
reduce greenhouse gas emissions and leave a smaller footprint on
God's Creation. Each individual, church and local community has a
contribution to make in the effort to mitigate the effects of
Consider deepening your involvement and celebrating every day as
Check out our Green Living materials as a place to get started.
|Engage with family, friends, your Sunday
school class or other small group to share ideas, discuss and
pray together. |
|Form a discussion group with interested
members of your congregation or community. |
Post your own ideas and practices online
-- and help expand our materials.|
|Join the organization
Alternatives for Simple Living. They provide excellent
recommendations for educational materials on simple, joyful
and green living.|
Upcoming opportunities for engagement on green living and climate
the next month, the House of Representatives will consider
legislation that addresses the United States' disproportionate
contribution to global climate change emissions. Celebrate the
glorious gift of God's Creation and our responsibility to care for
contacting your members of Congress through the Presbyterian
Washington Office. The sample letter provided is based on PC(USA)
policy. In an ecumenical effort through Church World Service, you
encourage the President to support a national climate response
and to engage in international climate negotiations in good faith.
Enough for Everyone
(888) 728-7228 x5626
Enough for Everyone is a
partnership ministry of the following General Assembly Council
| Presbyterian Hunger
| Self-Development of
| Women's Ministries|
| Presbyterian Women|
|What sort of
spirituality might be shaped by an ecological consciousness?
Peter Sawtell of Eco-Justice Ministries offers
some answers to this question in his most recent
"I feel closer to God when I'm out in nature than when I'm in
I imagine that every
pastor has heard those words on more than one occasion. Sometimes
they are voiced by a loyal member explaining why she skipped a
Sunday morning. Other times, they are a defiant assertion from
somebody who never, ever comes to sit in a pew.
For lots and lots of
people, there is a distinctive sense of spiritual connectedness that
happens away from church, away from cities, and away from mass
media. There is a rich and vivid ecological spirituality that can
come through most clearly when people are intentionally focused on,
and present in, the other-than-human parts of nature.
How do those
experiences of nature help people feel close to God? Let me
stimulate your thinking with a far-from-exhaustive list of spiritual
* There is the
emotional and spiritual reaction of awe, of encountering something
vast and powerful, which sets our personal and societal selves into
a humbling context. Seeing the stars spread out overhead when away
from the haze of city lights, the ocean stretching off into infinite
distance, and mountains shaped by eons of geologic forces -- these
put our lives and accomplishments into perspective.
* Taking the time
to "get out into nature" provides an extraordinarily rare taste of
real Sabbath. "Getting away" without an agenda offers a deep quality
of rest and relaxation. We can only be still, and know God" when we
escape from the calendar and computer, the babble of TV and
telephone, text messages and Ipod tunes.
* I have heard
from many people about the spiritual delight of encountering life in
an "other" – a deer grazing, a whale spouting, an eagle soaring, a
flock of songbirds, a colony of ants. Those creatures are free and
alive, engaged in their own ways of being which have little or
nothing to do with us. Observing those animals on their own terms
offers a realization of their inherent beauty and worth. We
experience "the integrity of creation" where the natural world is
disconnected from human use.
spirituality is nurtured as we become aware of ecological
relationships. Things do not exist in isolation. Creatures exist
within habitats. They are woven into predator and prey
relationships, and symbiotic interactions of support within herds
and across species. Ecology makes us aware of our connectedness and
* Time in nature
makes us aware of seasons and the cycles of life. Birth, growth and
death are embedded in the fabric of the world. Patterns of rainfall
and sunlight are discerned as gifts instead of commodities.
* Time alone in
the natural world can provide a more intense sense of self,
unfiltered and unprotected by the stuff of culture. A clarity about
our real needs comes to the backpacker who must carry all the
supplies for a trip. A few days in nature can trim away concerns
about style and status, and get us back to the necessities.
These are just a few
of the ways that time in nature might strengthen people in a
faithful spirituality. These are just a hint of the many ways that
time focused on the creation can draw us into awareness and
relationship with God.
The rest of his
Doing the Recovery Right: joining concern for environment and
Robert Pollin writes in The Nation:
For most of the past generation, the aims of
environmental sustainability and social justice were seen as
equally worthy, yet painfully and unavoidably in conflict. Tree
huggers and spotted owls were pitted against loggers and hard
hats. Fighting global warming was held to inevitably worsen
global poverty and vice versa. Indeed, the competing demands of
the environmental and social justice agendas were frequently
cited as a classic example of how public policy choices were
fraught with trade-offs and unintended consequences – how you
could end up doing harm while seeking only to do good.
Over the past couple of years, there has been
a dramatic reversal of thinking: the idea has emerged that
protecting the environment – in particular, defeating global
warming – can also be an effective engine of economic growth,
job creation and even poverty reduction.
The full article >>
|A Time to Take Action:
Senate to consider climate change bill
From Witness in
Washington Weekly, published by the Washington Office of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), June 2, 2008
The Senate returns from the Memorial Day recess
scheduled to take up the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, S.
2191. As described in the Witness in Washington Weekly on May 19,
2008, this bill is far from the perfect solution to global climate
change, but it is a huge step in the right direction, and a chance
to get Senators on record on a vital issue.
details, talking points, and more >>
|What Are You Doing For Earth
The Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of
Churches wants to help you in celebrating Earth Day! If you, your
community, or your church is sponsoring or attending an Earth Day
event, send an email to
email@example.com and let them know. If you are looking for a
place in your community to attend an event,
here to view an interactive map and find one near you!
Click here to download the NCC's 2008 Earth Day resource, "The
Poverty of Global Climate Change", and get your church involved!
Thanks to the Witness in
Washington Weekly, published by the Washington Office of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), April 14, 2008
Save the Date!
Healthy People, Healthy Churches, Healthy Planet
October 9-11, 2008
The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice
Program will host its biennial conference Oct. 9-11, 2008, in
Alexandria, MN, at Lake Geneva Christian Center. The focus for the
conference will be environmental health.
Join this ecumenical gathering of denominational
staff, clergy, seminarians, lay leaders, church educators,
eco-justice coordinators, and Christians to educate yourself on the
unfolding world of toxics found in everyday items in our homes, our
churches, and even our bodies.
Click here to visit the conference website.
For more information, contact
Chloe Schwabe .
Washington Office staff is participating in
planning this conference.
From the Witness in Washington
Weekly, published by the Washington Office of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) If you would
like to receive this information directly,
click here >>
|Faith community holds rally in
support of climate change legislation
reflects growing concern by religious groups over global warming
Presbyterian News Service reports on an interfaith
group that included Presbyterians, which gathered outside the
Memphis, TN, office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) last week
in support of Congress’ work to draft effective climate change
The Climate Change Rally on March 27 was among
more than a dozen gatherings held across the country by the National
Council of Churches (NCC) that signaled the faith community’s
growing concern around the issue of global warming and its desire
Those attending the events urged their elected
officials to take stronger action to cut harmful greenhouse gas
emissions in the United States. Hundreds of congregations and
communities across the country have already taken steps to lower
their greenhouse gas emissions.
The news report
Millions of Jobs of a Different
York Times article explores the possibility that care for
the creation can be a powerful creator of jobs. (And the
Times is not the only one looking at this.)
The article begins:
Everyone knows what blue-collar and
white-collar jobs are, but now a job of another hue — green
— has entered the lexicon.
Presidential candidates talk about the
promise of “green collar” jobs — an economy with millions of
workers installing solar panels, weatherizing homes, brewing
biofuels, building hybrid cars and erecting giant wind
turbines. Labor unions view these new jobs as replacements
for positions lost to overseas manufacturing and
outsourcing. Urban groups view training in green jobs as a
route out of poverty. And environmentalists say they are
crucial to combating climate change.
No doubt that the number of green-collar
jobs is growing, as homeowners, business and industry shift
toward conservation and renewable energy. And the numbers
are expected to increase greatly in the next few decades,
because state governments have mandated that even more
energy come from alternative sources.
But some skeptics argue that the phrase
“green jobs” is little more than a trendy term for
politicians and others to bandy about. Some say they are not
sure that these jobs will have the staying power to help
solve the problems of the nation’s job market, and others
note that green jobs often pay less than the old
manufacturing jobs they are replacing.
The full article >>
More on caring for the creation >>
Earth Day is Around the Corner!
General Assembly (1995) directed staff to “Advocate
environmental justice concerns through the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) Washington Office on behalf of the poor and people of
color; and that the Washington Office assist congregations and
individuals in their advocacy efforts.”
As the impacts of global climate change become
clearer to us, through scientific understanding and anecdotal
evidence, it is clear that the world’s poorest communities will
bear the heaviest burden of climate catastrophe. Although global
climate change affects all human populations across the globe,
it hits those living in poverty the hardest because they depend
on the surrounding physical environment to supply their needs
and have limited ability to cope with climate variability and
Both in the United States and in countries
around the globe, climate change will first and most heavily
impact those living in poverty, through higher energy prices,
water scarcity, drought, crop failure, increased disease, and
As stewards of God’s good earth, we are called
to care for the environment and all the creatures that depend on
it to survive. Celebrate this year’s Earth Day, April 22, in a
worship service that lifts up the goodness and bounty of God’s
creation, and our responsibility toward it. The National Council
of Churches Eco-Justice Program is marking Earth Day Sunday (the
Sunday closest to Earth Day) by recognizing the
interconnectedness of poverty and climate change and offering a
resource for worship, adult study, and youth activities.
A worship planning resource for Earth Day
Sunday is now available - to obtain a copy visit
or contact the Eco-Justice Program office at
WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY, produced by the Washington
Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Justice For All
As stories about global warming, sustainable
energy, and climate change make headlines, the fact that some
neighborhoods, particularly low-income and minority communities,
are disproportionately toxic and poorly regulated has, until
recently, been all but ignored.
A new breed of
activists and social scientists are starting to capitalize on
the moment. In principle they have much in common with the
environmental justice movement, which came of age in the late
1970s and early 1980s, when grassroots groups across the country
began protesting the presence of landfills and other
environmentally hazardous facilities in predominantly poor and
though, the new leadership is taking a broader-based, more
inclusive approach. Instead of fighting a proposed refinery here
or an expanded freeway there, all along trying to establish that
systematic racism is at work in corporate America, today's
environmental justice movement is focusing on proactive
responses to the social ills and economic roadblocks that if
removed would clear the way to a greener planet.
The new movement
assumes that society as a whole benefits by guaranteeing safe
jobs, both blue-collar and white-collar, that pay a living wage.
That universal health care would both decrease disease and
increase awareness about the quality of everyone's air and
water. That better public education and easier access to job
training, especially in industries that are emerging to address
the global energy crisis, could reduce crime, boost self-esteem,
and lead to a homegrown economic boon.
The author of
this Utne article is Leyla Kokmen, who is the program
coordinator for the Health Journalism M.A. in the School of
Public Health at the University of Minnesota. She has been a
staff reporter at daily and weekly papers across the United
States, including the Twin Cities' City Pages, The
Seattle Times, and The Denver Post, where she
contributed to that newspaper's Pulitzer Prize-winning
coverage of the Columbine High School massacre.
Read this in Utne Reader ... or on
Baptist leaders call for action on climate change
From an AP
report: In a major shift, a group of Southern Baptist
leaders said their denomination has been "too timid" on
environmental issues and has a biblical duty to stop global
signed by the president of the Southern Baptist Convention among
others and released Monday, shows a growing urgency about
climate change even within groups that once dismissed claims of
an overheating planet as a liberal ruse. The conservative
denomination has 16.3 million members and is the largest
Protestant group in the U.S.
The full report >>
statement, with its preamble >>
and environmental postings from 2001 through 2007
archived on a separate page.
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!