This is SO good to see, one level. On another level, I have been deeply concerned about the silence of the churches, most of all, our United Methodist Church – with just a few exceptions; far too few – in its communications to the world, regarding the Climate Crisis. I hope this can herald the beginning of MUCH MUCH more prioritized coverage. I am still a little concerned that it took a New York Times article to appear before a United Methodist news story appears about UM Church planters emphasizing the deep crisis we face. I would expect much more emphasis and focus on these matters from a church whose bishops penned “God’s Renewed Creation” (and there is now a Missionary position – Pat Watkins as “missionary for the Care of God’s Creation”, working at the Board of Global Ministries under the sponsorship of that Council of Bishops in an effort to bring to the fore the implications of that message for our life, theology, and ministry as United Methodists and as Christians). There are also many other efforts, such as http://www.umccreationcare.org/ and various conferences that have highlighted themselves with this as mission.
That there is such an effort underway is an occasion for great hope and encouragement. But we need to pull our church’s resources together around this kind of effort to more fully integrate our very identity as a church around such a crisis as we face with what we are doing to the ecosystem that is God’s Good Creation.
We might also make note that there will be a gathering of faith leaders, including many from UMC churches and organizations that identify as United Methodist, in Washington DC on September 24th (during the week when the Pope is visiting the U.S., to express inter-denominational support for his call to action on climate change and creation care). I attended a prior conference earlier this summer , put on by the Center for Process Studies and it’s founders at Claremont School of Theology, a UMC seminary, called “Seizing An Alternative: Toward An Ecological Civilization”. Disappointingly, there was scant, if any coverage via UMC media. This has to change if we are to play any sort of Christian church leadership role in joining with faith leaders worldwide on what is certainly a crisis that demands attention by a people who claim to be a loving people who love God and seek the Kingdom of God.