One of the most poignant scenes depicted in the Bible is Joseph's "coming out party," the moment when Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers. Until this time, they did not know that the person who had the power to bring the hunger of their people to an end amid famine was also the person they had once betrayed and sold into slavery. In their encounters with him, they had not recognized their brother. The moment of revelation, however, isn't simply confined to Joseph announcing his familial relationship. Joseph also reveals his calling: "God has sent me before you to preserve life."
"We celebrate the season of Advent before Christmas. We celebrate the season of Lent before Easter. When do we celebrate the season of Creation?"
Earlier this year, a task force created by the UCC Board of Directors to identify future priorities for the denomination announced the results of two surveys that found climate change to be the number one issue for the church to address according to respondents. The seeds for how the church of the future will address this issue can be found in the present. In addition to the leadership offered by the UCC Council for Climate Justice in raising climate awareness and organizing churches for action, statistics indicate a sense of where our denomination presently stands in terms of its environmental engagement.
Rev. Dele describes herself as "a grandmother, theologian, and Climate Reality Leader who uses her skills as a permaculturist and contemplative to assist churches in training the next generation of mission leaders in faith, ecology, and policy." One of her projects is a ministry called Soil and Souls. I interviewed Rev. Dele as part of a series of interviews with church leaders who are envisioning and bringing to life new ways of being church while having a notable emphasis on creation care and justice.
Al Gore has continued to be a prophetic voice in this decade of escalating climate and this time of the Trump administration’s rejection of climate change. The subtitle of the book adds the descriptor: "Your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice, and help solve the climate crisis." This is a good book for church environmental teams and pastors. I am currently using it for a joint Green Team of UCC Petaluma (CA) and a Unitarian Universalist Church that shares the church facility.
"I get enough bad news during the week. I don't need to hear more of it in a sermon." As much as I may want people to leave the sanctuary feeling inspired to make a difference in the world, I have occasionally received comments such as this following sermons that address topics like climate change or a particular racial injustice. A comment of this kind can have lots of origins. Maybe someone really has had a week from hell with the worst of news coming from a doctor’s diagnosis or a phone call in the middle of the night. And, then sometimes the comment could simply arise from the comforts of a privileged life that does not want the intrusions of an unjust world.
Hi, I’m Terry Gallagher and over the past several years, I have focused my ministry entirely in the critical work of awakening communities of faith to respond to the climate crisis.
Biodiversity is a template for cultural diversity. We must respect the diverse ways people enter into justice work. Justice is more than one tactic, justice is a principle meant to redeem us from greed. Any time we are reallocating resources we are doing justice work.
When preachers reflect from the pulpit on the familiar parable of the sower, many undoubtedly expound upon the metaphorical meaning of where the sower's seeds fall: the path, the rocky ground, the thorns, and the good soil. What sometimes gets missed is that this is also a scripture about prophetic hope in the face of stubborn intransigence. The initial situation is bleak. The heart of the people has "grown dull." They can neither see nor hear what is before them. Still, Jesus counsels a persistent faith. He knows that the "mysteries of the kingdom" are germinating and a bountiful harvest will come.