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.

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Children under Environmental Threat from Administration


As my daughters begin school this week, I find myself in a state of agonized worry. It is not about how both will fare as a result of switching schools. It is not about whether they will make friends or have nice teachers. It is about the health of their lungs and the quality of their future on this planet. To understand my concern, consider a drawing by two 5-year-olds, a recent scientific study, and a policy nightmare. (More.)


The "Secret Ingredients" for Climate Justice


In a recent New Yorker article, there is a photo of an eight-year-old girl named Avery Tsai at a youth climate march in New York City. Tsai holds aloft a sign that says “Mother Nature is crying” next to a drawing of the Earth weeping. Underneath the sign, one can see Tsai’s t-shirt which reads, “I can change the world.” (More.)


Three Great Loves and Climate Action


In partnership with Blessed Tomorrow, the UCC has produced Three Great Loves and Climate Action: A Guide to Getting Started. This guide focuses engaging one’s congregation and community in responsible energy use and just environmental practices, so that our children, our neighbors, and all of creation might thrive more fully. Download the PDF to learn more about how churches can turn love into action.

Rise for Climate: A 40-Day Practice


Counting down to the day until people from around the globe take to the streets and Rise for Climate! We have 40 days to get ready to rise with the sun, set with the sun, and each day imagine that we did a little of the lift to allow the earth to rise itself.  Buried under a pile of rubble and even thicker blankets of despair and apathy, the earth wants humans to take our proper place at its great table. We aren't the only ones sitting there. We are joined by turtles and buffalo, butterflies and spiders at the table. We are also joined at the genomic table to all the species and ancestors already past. (More.)

Farm Church as Embodied Spirituality: An Interview with Sarah Horton-Campbell

This past year saw the birth of a new UCC church: Common Life Church & Farm. The church is located in the village of Saxapahaw, between Chapel Hill and Greensboro, in North Carolina's central Piedmont region. This month the church began leasing farming fields and equipment from a local sustainable farm. The farm is run by a full-time farm manager and is supplemented by the congregation’s spiritual practice of tending the garden together. The church’s pastor is the Rev. Sarah Horton-Campbell. I interviewed her as part of an ongoing series focused on church leaders who are envisioning and bringing to life new ways of being the church while having a notable emphasis on creation care and justice. (More.)

Singing Our Way to the Top: The Struggle for Climate Justice


The biblical scholar Robert Altar paints a vivid picture of pilgrims ascending up Mount Zion to the Temple as they chant a psalm that begins by declaring, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” In essence, the pilgrims were proclaiming that the Temple, the place held to be the residing place of God, was a microcosm of the larger world. God’s presence was to be found everywhere. Yet, as the psalm continues, it is made clear that this presence is neither welcomed nor experienced by all. It comes with a fight, and it is experienced by those seeking to live a just and moral life. The pilgrims climbing up that hill were among those seekers. (More.)


Faith and the Vulnerability of Children

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, we are faced with the agonizing vulnerability of a 12-year old girl who has fallen ill. The father of the girl begs for Jesus to lay hands on her, but while en route to the family’s house, Jesus is delayed by the healing of a woman who had been hemorrhaging blood for 12 years. At first, this delay appears costly. Jesus is informed that the girl has died. When he arrives, the house is in full commotion, weeping, and loud wailing. The finality of death seems to define the moment until Jesus announces that all is not lost for the girl is asleep and not dead. Upon Jesus’s instruction, she rises. (More.)


Time for NASA to Take Out the Trash

When General Synod approved a resolution in 2015 calling on church members to address the space debris problem, one UCC minister criticized the decision, writing in the Huffington Post that the issue would be better addressed by NASA than by a church body. He might have a point if NASA were taking care of business, but it’s not. Instead, it’s saddling other national space agencies with the most important chore of our spacefaring civilization - taking out the orbital trash. (More.)


Murky: A Poem


In a poem rooted in an ethic of creation justice, Jennifer Maidrand writes, "And I wonder if we will be able to conjure enough love for earth and flesh and microbe to begin to work against our own destruction; and follow divine instruction." Read the full poem performed recently by the author at the Yale Graduate Conference in Religion and Ecology: (More.)

Flip the Switch: Preterm Births and a Moral Opportunity


Imagine that you have the opportunity to improve the lives of countless persons by simply flipping a switch that can go only one of two ways. If you flip the switch to the left, a certain segment of the population will be condemned to poor health from the moment of their birth onward, but if you flip the switch to the right, none of those persons will suffer that fate. According to the data presented from a recent study, this simple moral choice is essentially the choice our society makes when it decides whether to use energy from a coal or oil plant. According to an article published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the number of preterm births decreases significantly after a nearby power plant closes. (More.)