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.

Church of the Wild: Thinking and Worshipping Outside the Box

In April of this past year, Church of the Wild was launched. Once a month, the church gathers at a park in the metro area of Washington DC. It is part of a Wild Church Network that consists of 15 outdoor churches from around the United States and Canada. The Spiritual Leader of the church is the Rev. Sarah Anders. She works collaboratively with Beth Norcross who serves as the Executive Director for the Center for Spirituality in Nature. I interviewed both as part of an ongoing series focused on church leaders who are envisioning and bringing to life new ways of being the church with a notable emphasis on creation care and justice. (More.)

Study Guide for Naomi Klein's "The Battle for Paradise"

BattleForParadise.jpgFor church discussion groups, Martín Anderson has created a study guide for Naomi Klein's The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists. In this investigative book, bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein documents a battle between the ultra-rich and the ordinary citizens of Puerto Rico as the island seeks to recover from disaster. The study guide is accompanied by biblical reflections on colonialism. Questions are provided for each section of this 96-page book. Download the study guide now!







Climate Report Depression and Effective Climate Therapy


For many, the release of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may have been cause to seek what I call climate therapy—anything that might brace one’s spirits in the face of climate realities that are known to induce an array of responses ranging from despair and anger to denial and fear. (More.)

Chickens of the World Unite: Confronting the Fox at the EPA

During a presentation on environmental justice this past year, the speaker showed us a photo that depicted a fox ravaging a hen house. Above the door of the henhouse, a sign read, “EPA.” On an almost daily basis since then, I have had opportunity to reflect upon the truth captured in this cartoon. This past week one New York Times headline read, “EPA to Eliminate Office That Advises Agency Chief on Science.” A few days earlier another headline had read, “EPA Places the Head of Its Office of Children’s Health on Leave.” There has been a clear pattern unfolding at the EPA under the present administration: anyone or anything that impedes the corporate pursuit of profit is to be pushed aside, even if it puts the health of children and our planet in jeopardy. (More.)


Reversing Climate Change and Saving Money

RockSpring.jpgWhen we flip a light switch or turn the key in our vehicle, few of us think about the impact of our energy choices. We have grown accustomed to an energy intensive lifestyle that is dependent on fossil fuels—both in our homes and in our cars. However, with improvements in technology, we no longer have to sacrifice our lifestyle to live in a sustainable way that protects the planet. While combatting an existential threat like climate change can seem overwhelming, the Rock Spring UCC congregation believes it’s not a hopeless task, and has chosen to launch a mission endeavor that we are calling the Green Accelerator Project (GAP).


A Spirit Unbroken: Inspiration from Benjamin Chavis, Jr.

In a keynote address at the 6th Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference, Benjamin Chavis, Jr., concluded with a plea. If those in the audience did not remember anything else from his speech, they should remember this: Don’t let anybody or anything break your spirit. (More.)


Unnatural Disasters: The Truth about Hurricanes and Typhoons

Natural disasters reveal a lot about what is “unnatural” in our world. A headline story for today’s New York Times tells us that more than 40 gold miners in the Philippines have been killed in a landslide caused by Typhoon Mangkhut. The story provokes innumerable questions about the how and the why of this devastating event, but it is clearly evident that risk and vulnerability amid disaster are frequently not accidental occurrences. As the Rev. William Barber II wrote before Hurricane Florence struck, storms such as these “expose the inequities in our society that are perpetuated by extreme policies.” (More.)



Farming in the Space Age

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.

In 1951, the publication of God, Whose Farm is All Creation in the United Kingdom changed the traditional focus of harvest festival hymns from the crops themselves to the activities required to grow them. (More.)

Labor Day Reflection: Challenging False Narratives

Savior, Son of God, Peacemaker, born for the common benefit of all… Each of these titles and descriptions were used in reference to Roman Emperors. It could easily be said that the Christian faith arose amid the clash of diametrically opposed narratives. On the one hand, you had a mind-bending world of falsities in which what was professed by emperors was exactly the opposite of what they actually embodied. By living as he did, Jesus highlighted the sham of it all and embodied a different kind of “empire” or what became known as the Kingdom of God. (More.)


When You March, Expand Your Impact with Your Inner Artist

“If a bear poops in a forest and no one sees it, does that mean it didn’t happen?" You know that old childhood joke — or maybe it’s not a joke but just a kids’ way of sneaking the scatological into prose?  Anyway, the truly superb recent 350 newsletter is full of good ideas about how to expand the impact of going to a rally or a march.  They advise strongly that we “document” it. (More.)