Lately, I have felt overwhelmed by the climate crisis that we are facing. The clock is ticking away, and we are running out of time to act, to change our ways and correct our behaviors so that this creation can once again sustain abundant life. It is a scary feeling, looking at my daughters and wondering what problems they will face, what kind of life they can expect to lead.
For years now, 1 Corinthians 4:20 has been one of my favorite Bible verses:
“For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.”1 Corinthians 4:20
The word translated as “power” is the Greek word, dynamei. It’s the same word we get “dynamite” from, and it crops up time and time again the New Testament, referring to the ability of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to change our lives and this world for the better. That power is explosive and unstoppable.
And that is the power that God places in the Church as we work for the building up of God’s Kingdom. We make disciples of Jesus Christ, we fight for justice and demand mercy, we resist evil in whatever form it presents itself, in the dynamei of God.
This includes fighting for climate justice and a future with hope not only for my children but for my global neighbor’s children as well.
To this end, the NCC creation care committee is continuing our efforts to equip you Saints of Jesus Christ with practical knowledge that you can use to care for God’s creation. We have three more webinars this month that will cover how to advocate for climate justice, how to build up a climate justice movement in your Church, and how to save the planet in your own yard.
Please read below for more information about each of these webinars, and don’t forget to register. And as always, all webinars are free and recorded, so you’ll have a chance to catch them later if this schedule doesn’t work for you.
Advocacy Is Action: What You Can Do
September 13; 7:00
The task of stopping and reversing climate change is daunting. Often it seems that a lot of pressure is put on individuals to change their lifestyles, but how can we sway corporations and governments to change their policies and practices? Rev. Keith Sexton and Dr. Steve Jurovics lead this webinar on how to be advocates for creation, drawing on their years of experience in and out of the church. They will not only address why advocacy is important, but also where our attention is most immediately needed, and real, practical guidelines to becoming a creation advocate.
Participants in this webinar will leave with a deeper understanding of what actions they can take right now to shape public and industrial policies. Dr. Jurovics and Rev. Sexton will show you how you can reach out to utilities companies and your local representatives, how to work at a grassroots level, and what organizations in North Carolina are already doing this work.
Nature’s Best Hope, with Doug Tallamy
September 20; 7:00
Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. To create landscapes that enhance local ecosystems rather than degrade them, we must 1) remove the invasives on our property and 2) add the native plant communities that sustain food webs, sequester carbon, maintain diverse native bee communities, and manage our watersheds. If we do this in half of the area now in lawn, we can create Homegrown National Park, a 20 million acre network of viable habitats that will provide vital corridors connecting the few natural areas that remain. This approach to conservation empowers everyone to play a significant role in the future of the natural world.
Doug Tallamy is the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 106 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 41 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His books include Bringing Nature Home, The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, Nature’s Best Hope, a New York Times Best Seller, The Nature of Oaks, winner of the American Horticultural Society’s 2022 book award. In 2021 he cofounded Homegrown National Park with Michelle Alfandari. His awards include recognition from The Garden Writer’s Association, Audubon, The National Wildlife Federation, Allegheny College, The Garden Club of America and The American Horticultural Association.
Building a United Methodist Creation Just Movement, with Sharon Delgado
September 27; 7:00
Many of our churches engage in acts of mercy, creation care, and advocacy, but these actions are not enough to change the underlying system that is causing environmental injustice and climate chaos. We are up against powerful special interests and entrenched institutions that are invested (literally) in keeping things going along the current trajectory. Rev. Sharon Delgado will present this webinar about building a creation justice movement in the United Methodist Church and beyond. This involves joining forces with people of all faiths and philosophies to bring about the widespread cultural and institutional changes that are necessary to transition to a more compassionate, just, and ecologically regenerative world. In the words of climate organizer Bill McKibben, “The main way to counter the malign power of vested interests is to meet organized money with organized people.”
The Reverend Sharon Delgado is an ordained United Methodist minister, speaker, writer, organizer, and activist who has been working on climate justice and related issues for over 30 years. She is on the Coordinating Committee of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement and is the Cal-Nevada Climate Justice Ministries Coordinator. Her newest book is The Cross in the Midst of Creation: Following Jesus, Engaging the Powers, Transforming the World. Previous books include Love in a Time of Climate Change: Honoring Creation, Establishing Justice (2017) and Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization (2007, 2020). Sharon’s blog, Progressive Christian Social Action, is at sharondelgado.org.
Creation Care: How to Talk About the Environment in Church
We cannot solve the problems that we face without talking about them. Climate scientist and evangelical Christian Dr. Katherine Hayhoe has claimed that talking about climate change is the most important thing we can do to prevent disaster. Yet many are hesitant to bring up this important subject in their churches. Somehow, environmental issues have become a divisive, politicized topic. How can we talk about the environment in church?
Simply put: to talk about it in church, we must talk about it as church. Revs. Jarrod Davis and Jim Galloway will be discussing how environmental issues can be addressed in our churches through preaching, teaching, worship, study and mission. This webinar will be for anyone who knows that the Church ought to be addressing these matters, but isn’t quite sure how to begin. Whether you are clergy or a lay person, you can be leading the discussion in your local congregation.
Special guest Cooper Sykes will also be joining us to talk about engaging our youth through climate activism.