God’s Creation, Our Health: Taking Action Together is a study from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to engage older children in discipleship. The author, Mike Poteet, aims to teach about celebrating God’s gifts of the natural world, as well as God’s calling of human beings to be caretakers of it. There are four sessions: Caring for God’s Good Creation, Sustaining a Healthy Creation, Learning from La Oroya, and Working for Change. To read more, click here.
The Eco–Stewards are a grassroots community that shapes young adult leaders through place-based experiences that connect faith and the environment. Each year, the Eco-Stewards program invites young adults to immerse themselves in a particular place to study an environmental theme. In 2018, the program will be held in Hawaii and is called Aloha ‘Aina, which means love of the earth. To read more or apply for the 2018 program, click here.
Presbyterians for Earth Care, formerly Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, is a national eco-justice network that cares for God’s creation by connecting, equipping, and inspiring Presbyterians to make creation care a central concern of the church. To read or download their brochure, click here.
First Presbyterian Church of Athens was recognized for its energy-efficiency efforts in the EPA’s 2013 Energy Star National Building Competition. They reduced their energy usage by 20% and prevented an estimated 9.2 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. To read more about their work, click here.
In June of 2016 the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved the “Affirmation of Creation”. This affirmation provides a framework to worship God and to live as faithful expressions of God’s love for the whole creation. To read the entire affirmation, click here.
Hours before President Trump announced that the United Stated would pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, the Presbyterian Church sent out an “Action Alert.” This alert asked Presbyterians to call their legislators and express their desire to remain in the agreement. After President Trump officially announced that the U.S would leave the agreement, Reverend Jimmie Hawkins, executive director of the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness stated, “Today, Presbyterians stand with Paris. Today, Episcopalians stand with Paris. Today, Buddhists stand with Paris. Today, the Jewish Community stands with Paris. People from all aspects of our faith – We stand with Paris.” To read more on Rev. Hawkins statement and Presbyterians’ reaction, click here.
The Rev. Rebecca J. Tollefson, a native of Iowa, became the Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Churches in April, 1997. She has held ministerial standing in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) since 1981. She is a graduate of Buena Vista University (1974) and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1981).
Rebecca served for 10 years in parish ministry in Iowa and Minnesota, as the Director of the Commission on Faith and Order for the Minnesota Council of Churches, and then joined the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1991. While there she served as Associate, Women Employed by the Church, and as Associate for Call Referral Services. In the fall of 1998, the Ohio Council of Churches held their first forum on environmental concerns. They had been requested to do so by the National Council of Christian Churches in the USA. From that spun the Ohio Interfaith Power and Light program.
‘I believe in ecumenism….the church universal. This is vital to the Christian faith community’s presence today. We are pressed to witness to the convictions we hold dear which keep us from being competitive or minimally cooperative. We are ALREADY the Body of Christ. We are called to live that out as sisters and brothers. We each have gifts and traditions which enrich the other. I am blessed to work with such a wonderful tapestry of who this Council is. Thanks be to God.’
The youth at First Presbyterian Church in Delaware are celebrating Earth Day on Sunday, April 23 from 11:30-2:00 at Blue Limestone Park with games nature walks and recycled artwork. Click here to see the events calendar and the address for this event.
Picture courtesy of pcusa.org
On June 25, 2017, the amendments added to the constitution of the Presbyterian Church will go into effect. Included in these provisions is the addition of caring for God’s creation as a responsibility for all church members. The amendment received the needed 86 affirmative votes for ratification. To read about the amendment, and others that will be taking place, click here.
Texas Tech historian Mark Stoll‘s latest book, Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Oxford University Press, 2015), details how religion provided early American environmental leaders with the moral and cultural basis to champion the protection of the natural world.
To hear Jan Oosthoek’s environmental history podcast interview of Stoll, click here.
Stoll argues in part that Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, is nothing new, but points environmentalism back towards its moral and religious roots.
Image credit: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/inherit-the-holy-mountain-9780190230869?cc=us&lang=en&