Many of the themes from Holy Week transfer to the focus we give God’s creation during Earth Week. To be certain, the present state of our environment is cause for grief. At the same time, in the UCC we have good reason to let our Easter “hallelujah” resound and reverberate in the days that follow. During the pandemic, UCC churches persisted in coming together to care for God’s creation in remarkable ways. In growing numbers, UCC churches continued to become Creation Justice Churches. As in the past, local UCC churches won national awards for their climate ministries in both 2021 and 2022. As we approach Earth Day on April 22nd, our churches will be engaged in education and action through a variety of means that evoke the prophetic tradition of our faith:
(1) Prophetic Inspiration! Ames United Church of Christ is partnering with the Iowa Conference, the Central Association of Iowa, and the UCC’s National Setting to host a digital event for the entire denomination on April 23rd entitled “The Faith of Prophets: Lessons for the Climate Crisis.”
(2) Prophetic art! Church members of all ages are coming together to create community climate collages that spark reflection on how our faith leads us to action. They will share their masterpieces with elected officials, especially as the Senate considers groundbreaking climate measures.
(3) Prophetic worship! Creation Justice Ministries provides materials each year that help congregations focus their education and worship on a theme. This year’s theme is “Weathering the Storm: Faithful Climate Resilience.” An April 13th webinar will explore this theme and more.
(4) Prophetic love! For their annual Faith Climate Action Week from April 22nd to May 1st, Interfaith Power & Light has chosen the theme “Sacred Trust: Our Children’s Right to a Livable Future.” They suggest ways churches can work to safeguard our Earth for younger generations.
In the coming days, let’s live into our faith in ways that keep our “hallelujah” ringing loud as we tend to the gifts of Creation that God has entrusted to us.
Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt
UCC Minister for Environmental Justice