The Creation Care Committee has been very busy over the last year. We led and celebrated the NC Conference’s first “Season of Creation” in September 2020, leading a conference-wide worship service where our own Bishop Hope Morgan Ward preached, as well as a series of webinars throughout the month.
Last fall, a couple committee members felt called to begin a book discussion group. Meeting online monthly, this group has reached out to people across the Conference and outside of North Carolina to discuss a number of books on God’s creation and how we can be better stewards of such.
We have deepened partnerships across North Carolina and the broader United Methodist Church. We have collaborated with the Rural Advancement Foundation International to develop a map of churches in NC that have creation care ministries. This map continues to grow. We have also furthered our relationships with Interfaith Power and Light, Interfaith Creation Care of the Triangle, Apiopolis, UM Creation Justice, and our counterparts in the Western NC Conference.
In January of this year, we relaunched the Green Church Initiative with a simplified version to help churches begin moving towards being greener in their ministries. Our simplified version features an online registration form, so we can better keep track of and follow up with churches that are becoming GCI certified. The Green Church Initiative is also supplemented by additional resources that we have developed or are developing, including an ecological impact audit and a regenerative agriculture toolkit.
The Creation Care Committee has also been behind several advocacy initiatives, including advocating with WesPath to divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in sustainable energy. We have supported efforts to lower carbon emissions in North Carolina by 50% by the year 2030, and continue to do so. We hope to partner with the NC Department of Agriculture to promote regenerative agricultural practices.
Our most recent, most public effort has been the first ever Redeeming Creation conference. This all-day, online event saw participants from around the country and across denominational lines gather to learn about creation care from the likes of Duke professors Dr. Jerusha Neal and Dr. Ellen Davis, as well as a team from RAFI and our own committee members. The event was very well received, and we have every intention of making it a yearly event.