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.

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.)


Children under Environmental Threat from Administration

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.)