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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Downton Abbey and the Divided World of the Climate Crisis

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After much anticipation, the Downton Abbey movie has arrived. For six seasons, beginning in 2011, millions of us unplugged the phones, pulled down the shades, and dimmed the lights on Sunday evenings to join an estimated 13.3 million other fans following the fortunes of the Crawley family, their servants, and their home. We hoped for Robert, the Earl of Grantham, as he struggled to manage a vast estate. We admired Cora, his American heiress wife, who brought the money to the marriage and brought up three daughters with wisdom and charm. We cheered when Mary, one of those daughters, and Matthew, her working-class cousin, finally got married, and we mourned at Matthew's premature death. (More.)


A Climate Kairos Confession

A Kairos moment may be pregnant with possibilities or stillborn with paralysis. Christians use the word Kairos to explain the pause between the crumbling of one social order and the rebirthing of a new society. Transformation is not guaranteed. Radical change requires that large groups of people simultaneously breathe into multiple institutions to birth a new social order. (More.)

 


Suffering from Climate Burnout? Learn from a Burnt Out Moses

After a couple of recent conversations with friends who confided that they were suffering from burnout, I found myself asking a number of questions: What exactly are we referring to when we say we feel “burnt out?” What are the causes? Why does burnout seem so prevalent these days? Could burnout for some people be connected to the psychological toll of the climate crisis? And, finally, what is to be done about burnout? (More.)

 


Caring for the Trees: An Urban-Rural Divide

When it comes to caring for God’s creation with regard to our nation’s wooded lands, there is often a disconnect between rural and urban areas. As a pastor who has been serving small rural congregations in the United Church of Christ since the 1970s, let me explain how I came to this perspective.  I currently serve three congregations that stretch along the Canadian border in Northern Minnesota by the Rainy River between Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods.  Along with fishing tourism, the timber industry is an important part of our economy along with some paper or packaging businesses. (More.)


A Call to Action in a David and Goliath Struggle

Dear Friends and Churches,


I am pastor of East Weymouth Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. I would very much appreciate your prayers, support, and/or action. Our town of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and the larger South Shore region have been fighting a David v. Goliath battle for five years. The 3rd largest and wealthiest international gas company, Enbridge, is forcing a deadly gas compressor on us despite vehement bipartisan opposition from residents, 3 mayors, 6 city councils, 29 State Senate Senators, all 14 legislators of the South Shore, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Senator Warren, Senator Markey, Representative Stephen Lynch, emergency planning councils, public health researchers, climate scientists, and all major environmental groups of Massachusetts. The state senators in opposition stated that the application was fraught with "errors, inaccuracies, and obstructions," especially for a site that suffers from the environmental and public health burdens of heavy industry already. The compressor would “pose a threat to the Commonwealth as a whole." (More.)


Woe to the Unambitious: Greta as Prophet

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Prophets provoke a reckoning, a moment of truth that cannot be denied. The illusion of righteousness is dispelled. The mask of insincerity is ripped away. The rhetoric of duplicity is forced to light. The time has come when the mirror is held aloft, and we must look to see our true reflection without lie or deception. The old magic of obfuscation and distraction holds sway no more. The complacency of careful calculations remains tenable no longer. (More.)


Come Together to Pull Back from the Brink

If the General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution in support the "Back From The Brink" campaign to prevent nuclear war, Joe Scarry promised himself that he would spend a month in sacred study. For that month, he reflected upon the story of Noah and the flood. He shared his thoughts through his blog. In this post, he reflects upon the passage in which God's the gift of a rainbow as a sign of the covenant. (More.)


Creation Care Moment: A Practice for Each Sunday

At Weybridge Congregational Church, the beginning of worship every Sunday includes a Creation Care Moment. It is a time of reflection dedicated to our first calling as Christians to be caretakers of our common home. Some of these Creation Care Moments take the form of readings from authors who have written poignant meditations on our world and our relationship to it. Others are original offerings such as this one by the Rev. Daniel Cooperrider. It was delivered as the congregation began the conversations that eventually led to it becoming a Creation Justice Church. (More.)

 


Green New Deal Reading Challenge

Have you read the Green New Deal? The United Church of Christ chose to endorse it at its General Synod. This vote has created a lot of interest among UCC members, myself included. When a neighboring church held a meeting to discuss what transpired at synod, my husband and I asked if we could attend as guests, and they warmly welcomed us in. After experiencing the dynamic discussion that ensued as we held in close covenant with one another, I felt a renewed admiration for our denomination and our ability to practice radical hospitality to the stranger and engage in civil discourse. I also chose to read the Green New Deal for myself. (More.)

 


Jesus as an Anti-Colonialist: Why It Matters Today

If someone were to ask me why I am Christian, the scripture that comes to mind first is a passage in Matthew that begins, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you…” Jesus goes on to explain how his followers are to embody a life that places the Roman Empire on its head. Greatness is no longer defined by power over others but rather by service for others. (More.)