UCC marks Earth Day with grants to support ‘prophetic climate ministries’
Countless United Church of Christ churches and congregants are engaged in creation care 365 days a year. To celebrate Earth Day, 2022, the UCC Council for Climate Justice is looking to further the work of young people aiming to safeguard the Earth.
It’s now taking applications for Climate Justice Fellowship Grants, offered to UCC churches, conferences, and associations and other affiliated organizations “for the purposes of developing and furthering the work of youth and young adult leaders in the movement for climate justice.”
The Rev. Brooks Berndt, minister of environmental justice, said $20,000 from the 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign has been designated to fund $2,500 to $5,000 grants that can be used to create local fellowship opportunities for youth and young adults over the summer, or during the next school year. More information and the grant application can be found here.
As the application states, “the goals of this grant program grow out of the Council’s commitment to developing a prophetic culture of faith leadership that goes beyond a focus on individual behaviors to collectively addressing the institutions and systems responsible for the present crisis.”
“Our youth and young adults bring a lot of energy, talent, and commitment to our congregations and to the broader climate justice movement,” Berndt said. ”These grants will have an extraordinary impact on multiple communities because of the gifts these leaders will now be able to share.”
Berndt is also inviting churches and their young people to mark Earth Day by reflecting on how to live out a commitment to care for creation, by hearing from others leading the way.
In an April 23 webinar titled “Prophetic Action Today: Confronting the Climate Crisis,” he spoke about relevancy of the Hebrew prophets in confronting today’s climate crisis. He outlined 10 “naked truths” that point to the need for prophetic action. Watch his address here.
After his remarks, Berndt moderated a panel discussion of three prominent activists in the environmental justice movement. Their discussion can be accessed here.
Featured on the panel:
- Nellis Kennedy-Howard, a teaching pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who served alongside Winona LaDuke as the co-executive director for Honor the Earth.
- The Rev. Michael Malcom, a UCC minister dedicated to climate justice as the executive director of Alabama Interfaith Power & Light and the People’s Justice Council.
- Hector Arbuckle, a leader in the student climate movement who helped lead a successful local campaign for climate policies in Ames, Iowa.
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