United Church of Christ

The Pollinator is a digital platform of the UCC for the sharing of ideas and inspiration. Its focus is the building of a faith-filled and faith-rooted movement for the care of creation.

Sign up to recieve the Pollinator newsletter to get regular updates from our UCC Minister for Environmental Justice, Rev. Brooks Berndt.

Regional Environmental Summits as a Way to Engage Youth

NH_Youth_2.png

To Environmental Stewardship Mission Group of the New Hampshire Conference, I had suggested that we have a youth conference on Environmental Justice, as we had had the example of the International Indigenous Youth Council winning the "Movement Makers Award" at the UCC General Synod for creating an environmental justice movement to protect their water sources. I called the conference the "New England Youth Environmental Justice Summit." I wanted to stress the regional aspect of the conference because I wanted the youth of this and other regions to understand that they are all in this environment together and that they can work together to solve regional problems. I invited speakers and activist from different states and organizations to present in order to have a varied program. This model can be duplicated in other regions, as well. (More.)


The Case for Earth Day as a Celebration of the Church

EarthDayHolyDay.png

Some years ago a sermon title caught my eye. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon had announced the winner of its Earth Words contest for outstanding sermons on environmental stewardship. The grand prize went to the Rev. Dr. Steven Koski whose sermon was entitled “Earth Day: As Big as Christmas and Easter.” My immediate reaction to the title was, “Wow! That’s provocative!” In the sermon, Koski argues that Earth Day should become an official church celebration like Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. He bases his contention in how foundational love of creation is to our faith. Because of how the sermon expounds upon this love, a member of the UCC today would automatically think that his sermon was written for our Three Great Loves initiative which focuses on love of neighbor, love of children, and love of creation. What follows is an excerpt from Koski’s sermon which is as remarkable today as it was years ago: (More.)


Five Things Your Church Can Do to Honor the Earth

5_Things.png

With Earth Day falling on Sunday this year, now is a good time to reflect on how your church can live out its commitment to care for God’s creation. Here are five things your church can do to honor the Earth: (More.)


Bridging the Science Divide with New Documentary on Bill Nye

.png

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. (1Sam 2:3)

One of the most critical questions of our age is “How do we engage people with the process of accepting science?” In this current era of “populism” wherein feelings are given priority over scientific knowledge, how do we engage people in the difficult task of exploring scientific fact? This is particularly challenging in the case of Climate Science as it may well mean we have to change how we live. How do we do this? (More.)


The Future Church amid Climate Disaster: A Letter from 2070

Climate.jpg

The first of two excerpts from Jim Antal's recently released book Climate Church, Climate World.

What follows is an imagined a letter from a pastor to her congregation written on Ash Wednesday 2070. The church had been serving a city on the eastern seaboard of the United States since the church’s founding in the seventeenth century. The pastor mentions the frequent catastrophic weather events, the endless border wars, the hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing flooded cities, the permanent deployment of military to protect the interests of the rich, and billions of people dying from uncontrollable disease, drought, and starvation. These conditions will have caused the world population to drop from its peak in 2040 of about 9 billion people to a huddle of survivors in 2070 numbering about 2 billion. This letter paints a picture of how a particular church might close its doors. (More.)

 


Dead Fish and Dead Satellites: Becoming a Space Age Environmentalist

HudsonRiver.jpg

When I was a boy, I worried about dead fish and polluted rivers. I still worry about fish kills, but today I also worry about dead satellites and other space debris whizzing around congested orbits.

In 1963, the modern environmental movement was gestating, and I was in 6th grade. Crossing the Hudson River by ferry on a sunny afternoon, I was revolted by the dead shad floating on the surface and complained to my father. He helped me convert my complaint into a commitment before we docked. (More.)


Church Rallies Community in Support of Climate Lawsuit Filed by Youth

OCT_Photo.png

The Earth Care Committee of First Congregational Church of Sonoma recently hosted a forum to hear two of the nation’s leading environmental lawyers share updates on the landmark Federal lawsuit—Juliana v. U.S —filed by 21 courageous youth. Sharon Duggan and Coreal Riday-White are both with Our Children’s Trust (OCT). OCT is a nonprofit that, according to its co-founder Duggan, is “inspired fundamentally by young people who in their own ways realize this unfolding disaster and want to be heard. These young people are being denied a livable future as a consequence of the government’s conduct.” (More.)


The Reluctant Radical: A Documentary for Churches to Screen

ReluctantRadical.png

A new documentary called “The Reluctant Radical” offers congregations an opportunity to reflect and discern how God is calling them to act. (More.)


The Return of the Lorax: A Children’s Sermon

Lorax.jpgIn the basement of a library in a box underneath boxes way in the back of the back, a remarkable book was found: The Return of the Lorax. (Read the children's sermon that tells the sequel of Dr. Seuss's famous book.)


Dr. Seuss as an Environmental Prophet

Lorax3.png

Some years ago I became acquainted with the concept of “fan fiction.” For those unfamiliar with it, fan fiction refers to writings by those whose love of particular characters and stories compels them to write their own works featuring the adored characters. Google “Harry Potter fan fiction,” and you will find a whole universe of stories. None are written by J. K. Rowling. All are written by Potter devotees. I myself once caught the fan fiction bug, but for me, it wasn’t for Potter. It was for The Lorax. I love The Lorax so much that I had to write a sequel to it. As a pastor, I once delivered it as a children’s sermon over the course of a couple of Sundays leading up to Earth Day. (More.)