UCC climate justice work earns award nomination for ‘quarterback’ Dorhauer

The United Church of Christ’s general minister and president is up for an award for the denomination’s work in climate justice.

The Rev. John Dorhauer is among 30 semifinalists for the 2022 American Climate Leadership Awards.

The nonprofit ecoAmerica gives the awards each year. It described Dorhauer and this year’s other semifinalists as “excellent models for others to emulate as society races to learn from and replicate climate solutions.” The nominees come from many sectors of society: health, faith, local communities, youth, Indigenous and business.

Finalists will be announced Feb. 22; winners, March 28.

All of them, ecoAmerica said, “have achieved success in building meaningful political resolve for climate action at local, regional and national levels … while demonstrating diversity, inclusion and justice.”

Ten of the 30 will learn they are finalists on Feb. 22. Each of those 10 will receive $10,000 toward their work. A winner ($50,000) and a runner-up ($25,000) will be named March 28 during the annual, three-day American Climate Leadership Summit.

Other religiously connected semifinalists range from the Green Chalice Program of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), to Wisconsin Green Muslims, to Young Evangelicals for Climate Action.

‘Changing the world’

The Rev. Brooks Berndt, UCC minister of environmental justice, is providing support for Dorhauer’s candidacy for the award. He said the general minister and president’s leadership in climate justice since 2015 has included, among other things:

  • Addressing the climate crisis “as a matter of justice,” in keeping with the UCC’s statements of mission, vision and purpose.
  • Naming a special advisor on climate justice, the Rev. Jim Antal.
  • Lifting up “love of creation” as one of the “3 Great Loves” highlighted in a four-year churchwide initiative.
  • Helping to champion Join the Movement Toward Racial Justice, launched in 2021 as a churchwide successor to 3 Great Loves. The new initiative addresses how racial justice intersects with other concerns, including climate justice.
The Rev. John Dorhauer is no stranger to the annual American Climate Leadership Summit. Here he speaks in 2020, the first time the event was held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a semifinalist, Dorhauer has already received $1,000. He said the money will go to support the UCC’s climate justice work.

“I feel like that NFL quarterback who gets nominated for MVP and then says, ‘This was a team effort. Without my front line, my backs, and receivers – I’m nothing,'” Dorhauer said. “The only reason my name is there for this award is because I serve as general minister and president of the United Church of Christ – one of the most powerful and effective agents for social transformation and justice this country has ever known.

“We aren’t going to be on the sidelines for climate justice – and our commitments in that effort are changing the world.”

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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