Brooks Berndt introduces a new column called "For the Love of Children" as he speaks of one of his driving passions: thinking about environmental issues in relation to children. (Read more.)
In 2015, the UCC General Synod passed a resolution on Responsible Stewardship of the Outer Space Environment. Through a regular series of articles, the UCC maintains its commitment to addressing the serious threats posed by space debris.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the growing problem of space debris last October in remarks to the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee. (More).
I have heard Rev. Jim Antal, President of the Massachusetts Conference, mention that we would be dealing with grief with climate change. I agreed with him, and now I want to further nuance his insight. The grief from climate change can border on trauma. The latest severe climate events of 2016 with the three hurricanes and the fire-storms indicate what will be the new normal for the United States. (More).
Dear Parents, Grandparents, and Anyone Who Has a Heart for Children,
Let me begin with a confession: I admit to being an imperfect parent. I often consciously make mistakes as a parent while having little idea of what would be the better alternative. Among the great mysteries of life for me is how to get one’s children ready and out the door by 8 am while simultaneously living out a steadfast, unwavering commitment to world peace. (More).
After the passing of the 2013 General Synod Resolution Urging Divestment–Along With Other Strategies–From Fossil Fuel Companies to Address Climate Change, United Church Funds has undertaken a number of steps to fulfill its commitments. Through recent actions, we have made new strides forward. (Read more).
The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Inc. (PBUCC) is pleased to present this report on its response to the call for urgent action on climate change. PBUCC began its work on climate change 25 years ago as part of a coalition of investors at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) utilizing direct engagement with publicly traded companies, across all business sectors of the market. As a result of the passing of the 2013 General Synod Resolution Urging Divestment–Along With Other Strategies–From Fossil Fuel Companies to Address Climate Change, and in concert with a growing coalition of investors beyond ICCR and the publication of research and conclusions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), PBUCC launched a stepped-up campaign on climate in 2014. In recent years, five major steps have been taken: (Read more.)
Throughout the UCC, we find a common conviction in the importance of environmental stewardship. Since voting should rightly be seen as an act of caring for God’s creation, then we should increasingly think of our denomination as being filled with environmental voters. Yet, there is a problem. The phrase, environmental voters is unfortunately something of an oxymoron. Nathaniel Stinnett of the Environmental Voter Project has noted, "In the 2016 presidential election, about 68 or 69 percent of registered voters turned out to vote. The problem is only 50 percent of environmentalists turned out to vote."
"I am looking forward to having the world see the incredible power my generation holds."
—Victoria Barrett, one of 21 youth suing the federal government over climate change
When it comes to the damage done to our climate, no voice is as morally powerful and persuasive as that of youth. Our youth are the ones who will inherit the consequences of our society's action or inaction in addressing the climate emergency presently faced. It is one thing for older generations to become ideological adherents of climate denialism or skepticism. It is another thing for those older generations to hear directly from a child or grandchild about the threats faced. As a result, one of the most important acts a pastor or youth minister can take to address our climate is to hand over the microphone and the pulpit to a climate prophet of the younger generation.
Some may initially scratch their heads over the idea that Martin Luther King, Jr. could be connected to the environmental justice movement or even be said to have "helped plant the seeds" for it, as former Attorney General Eric Holder once asserted. Yet, in his book Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States, Carl Zimring makes this case in a chapter devoted to the subject. At the heart of his argument is the strike of the sanitation workers whom King was supporting in Memphis at the time of his assassination. In addition to suffering from low and inequitable pay, black sanitation workers in the city suffered from what we now call environmental racism in the form of working conditions that overwhelmingly placed the burden of health and safety dangers upon them. Zimring notes that "the most dangerous and dirty work was done by black workers under orders" from white truck drivers. This work entailed handling "all sorts of materials from tree limbs to broken glass to biological wastes that could infect, poison, and injure them."
There is a particular cultural outlook that continually reappears in the Bible but never seems to find its way into contemporary outlooks among most Christians today. The outlook of which I speak is a generational outlook. In the Bible, the customary mode of thinking is not to simply fixate upon one’s own generation but to always think of past and future generations as well. This is readily apparent in the lectionary reading for this upcoming Sunday, but I doubt many preachers will even consider mentioning this outlook as they discuss the song of praise known as Mary’s Magnificat. Nevertheless, Mary begins her song by framing that very moment within the span of generations. She declares, “Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” She then continues to speak of a God whose mercy extends “from generation to generation.” She ends by placing all of Israel within a generational continuum as she remembers the promise God “made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”