As I write this, images are starting to come in of the damage along the Gulf Coast. This past Sunday, on the sixteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall, Hurricane Ida came ashore along a similar path.
Hurricanes are something we’re all too familiar with here in North Carolina. I remember Hurricanes Hugo, Fran and Floyd from my childhood. More recent years have seen Matthew and Florence cause deaths, loss of homes and livelihoods, and cost billions of dollars in repairs and restorations. Unfortunately, these types of storms will become more and more frequent as a result of climate change.
Of course, hurricanes and other natural disasters are not the only cause of pain in God’s creation. Each year, lives are damaged by waste water runoff, coal ash dumping, toxic pollutants in the air, and more. A vast majority of those who suffer the most are black, indigenous, and people of color, most often the most marginalized and impoverished.
Christ has always called us to care for “the least of these,” to stand up for those who lack the power to stand up for themselves, and to demand justice in an unjust world. In our vows as United Methodists, we pledge to, “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” We must surely do more than just slap a band aid on these problems; we must be a part of the solution. We must work to unroot the damaging evils around us and offer healing.
Next week, we have two opportunities to learn more about the degradations and trauma found in our mistreatment of creation, as well as the healing available there.
The first is our webinar, “Coal Ash, BIPOC Farming, and Everything In Between: An Environmental Justice Panel.” Cooper Sykes, former Conference Youth President, will lead a discussion with George C. Jones, Jr. (Executive Director of Farmer Foodshare), Phoebe Gooding (Toxic Free NC), and Bobby Jones about the difficulties communities of color are facing because of environmental degradation. This webinar begins at 7:00 (EST) on Tuesday, September 7. Please register in advance here.
Two nights later, we hope you’ll join us for “Creation Care, Spirituality, and the Healing of Trauma.” Former dean of Duke Divinity School and renowned theologian Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath will be sharing the spirituality found in caring for creation, and the opportunities for healing therein. This webinar begins at 7:00 (EST) on Thursday, September 9. You can register here.
We hope you will join us for these two great opportunities, as well as all the webinars being offered for Season of Creation 2021. A full listing of the webinars can be found here.
And don’t forget to join us on September 1 at 7:00 at Camp Chestnut Ridge for a worship service celebrating God’s call in our lives to care for creation.