Pennsylvania order asks Supreme Court to uphold its Religious Rights

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The Adorers of the Blood of Christ have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether their religious freedom rights were violated by the construction and pending use of a natural gas pipeline through its land. The petition asks the Supreme Court to determine how extensively the government must respect claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and whether the construction violates their religious freedoms under the RFRA. To read more on the Adorers of the Blood of Christ and their petition, click here.

The Giving Tree: Fighting Climate Change and Strengthening Communities in Nicaragua

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The Giving Tree: Fighting Climate Change and Strengthening Communities in Nicaragua is an initiative from Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere with one of the worst rates of deforestation in the region. CRS is engaging rural Nicaraguans, who have an average employment income of $3/day, in planting 310,000 indigenous trees in land on or near their small farms. These trees will remove from the atmosphere approximately 67,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, over their full lives. Farmers will be paid annually for a 10-year period to maintain and nurture these trees, and additional investment will be made in the communities.To read more on The Giving Tree and the work that CRS is doing, click here.

EcoFaith Recovery

EcoFaith Recovery

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EcoFaith Recovery is a faith-based leadership development effort in the Pacific Northwest. Their purpose is to revitalize congregational ministries to participate in the healing of creation. They envision themselves as the tree of life, rooted and growing at the junction of ecology, faith, and recovery. They hope to create and network small groups and learning communities that can discover new and sustainable ways of being, to engage, mentor, and nurture one another in spiritual, economic, and community leadership, and to build and re-build powerful institutions that can employ the resources of Christianity, creation, cosmos, and community toward the work of healing. To read more on EcoFaith Recovery click here.

Single-Use Plastics: Contrary to God’s Design

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Evangelical Environmental Network has created a resource with Biblical guidance on how single-use plastic is contrary to God’s design. They believe that single use plastics are clogging up God’s great cycle of life and harming God’s creatures. As part of EEN’s pledge against straws and other single use plastics, they stated:

“God didn’t create plastic. If there is one thing that thumbs its nose at the Creator’s design, if there is one product that contradicts what Ecclesiastes proclaims — “the earth remains the same through the ages” — it is plastic.”

To read more, click here.

Microplastics: A Big Problem

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Evangelical Environmental Network has stated that, “God’s creation simply does not know what to do with plastic.” In this article on microplastics, EEN offers facts about plastic and the outcomes of the amount of plastic being produced. They also describe the negative impacts plastic is having on creation, especially on God’s oceans. To read more about microplastics and creation, click here.

One Tree at a Time

EELCO youth clear church grounds where new trees will be planted. Photo: Cedrick Y. Kitwa

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Cedrick Yumba Kitwa, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Congo delegate for the 22nd UN Conference on Climate Change (COP22), reached out to young people to launch a reforestation and environmental education project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the span of 14 months, they planted 71 trees and created a park with a variety of plants. Kitwa said they are driven by their desire “to see sustainable development and safeguard the creation. We want to see the church involved in climate action because we are suffering very much from climate change already.” To read more on this program, click here.

Season of Creation Week 4: On the Path of Ecological Conversation

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The fourth week of the Season of Creation is focused on the preaching and teaching of St. John Paul II and his emphasis on the environmental crisis. He said that, “ we must encourage and support the ecological conversation, which has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe to which is has been heading.” This week includes multiple scriptures, reflections, and prayers along with a hymn. To read more, click here.

Leadership Meeting Guide – Breathe Free and Easy

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Evangelical Environmental Network MOMS believe that everyone has a right to pollution free air. They believe it is a fundamental gift from God (Genesis 1), but in the United States, there are still people fighting for clean air. This resource provides a video and discussion questions how Moms can make a difference and advocate for healthy, clean air. The guide can be downloaded for easier use at meetings as well. To read more, click here.

To download the meeting guide, click here.

To download the handcard that corresponds to this meeting guide, click here.

SoCal A Rocha

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Dr. Mark McReynolds will begin a new A Rocha project in the LA area, known as SoCal, where he says he hopes to use his environmental education, university teaching, research, and seminary skills to show that God is concerned about people and place and everyone, especially Christians, must be also. Their goal is to train leaders to start collaborative, community-based conservation activities to restore both people and places. The training includes Creation Care Camp, EcoChurch, Junior Rangers Club (an afterschool program), and leader meetings to provide community for creation care leaders in local churches. They are also leading conservation projects independently and through partnerships with local groups such as, Church in Creation formation experiences, EcoMissions trips, and Birding with a Mission trips. To read more about this project, click here.

“Theology in Support of Simplicity and Eco-Justice” in Simpler Living, Compassionate Life

To see a general overview of Simpler Living, Compassionate Life click here.

In this section (Theology in Support of Simplicity and Eco-Justice): “Some Notes from Belshaz’zar’s Feast” by Timothy Weiskel (161-174); “Creation’s Care and Keeping” by Calvin DeWitt (175-179); “The Discipline of Simplicity” by Richard J. Foster (180-190)

Each essay in this section looks to the Bible as a guide in response to the ecological crisis. Weiskel echos earlier sections that call out our idolatry to over-consumption and money. For those wanting an exclusively hopeful response to the environmental crisis, this article will be a disappointment. It honestly looks at the reality of our parasitic co-existence with the Earth and its inhabitants. It argues that the only way forward begins with a deconstruction of what we have always expected, so that we may build a new priority and understanding of our place in the world. It holds cautious hope, but also realizes that it might be too late.

DeWitt’s reflections provide a useful Biblical grounding. This may be especially beneficial for communities beginning their journey in creation care.

In the final article, simplicity is considered as a way of life that is both an inward and outward reality. It establishes the necessary connections between a state of mind and actions. It begins to close the circle of the arc of this book that began with the necessity of affirming the sacred nature of the experience of every living thing.

In my opinion, if you chose to only read one section of this book, pick this one. It captures the Biblical and faith inspired foundation of the movement toward simplicity and implicates those of us who are participants in a culture of over-consumption for the damage we’ve done to the gift we’ve been given.