Tag Archives: community

Elwood: #COP21: Worship Service at Notre Dame Cathedral

12322640_948104925282792_2236604729747744976_oLast night there was a moving worship service at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  Here’s what John Elwood has to say about that experience:

First night in Paris, and I find myself invited by the Counsel of French Christian Churches to a worship service for the COP-21 global climate conference. The venue was Notre Dame. That’s Notre Dame DE PARIS. Yes, that one. The one in the hunchback story.

Well, it was a wonderful start for me. As Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox leaders processed in, we sang in in the languages of the world: “Praise to the Lord, the almighty the King of Creation!” And then: “Loué soit notre Dieu, source et parole fécunde…” And then: “Lobe den Herren, der sichtbar dein Leben gesegnet….”

12304317_176019809417601_3723764695217040281_oThe cathedral organ thundered majestically. Massive stone columns rising to dizzying heights, almost disappearing in the darkness. And down below, the voices of the world singing praise to the Creator of creation, in the tongues of the nations.
Seated in front of me, the environmental leader who managed the largest solar electric installation of any Christian college in America. Beside me an architect working to source the Brooklyn Bridge deck planks from sustainably-grown Guatemalan forests. And a woman who patiently fought the Keystone tar sands pipeline for years. And an evangelical climate scientist who still receives death threats and hate mail every few days for speaking the truth with boldness. And a couple of doctoral students working on coastline resiliency projects to adapt to sea level rise in Louisiana. And beyond them, thousands of other Christian worshippers with similar stories, gathered to worship God and pray for the global climate summit and the world leaders gathered to hammer out an agreement to combat greenhouse gas pollution.

I’m so glad to be among these good earth-keepers, adding my voice:

Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him! All that has life and breath, come now with praises before Him! Let the Amen sound from His people again; gladly forever adore him.”

 

Ancient Greeks, Modern Memories

Steve Dresselhaus is a missionary with TEAM, and has done much to help that organization turn its attention to creation care as part of its world-wide gospel mission.  This is a lovely short piece exploring a tension we all face when dealing with the stuff in our lives.  Enjoy!
—————————–

The ancient Greeks believed in four natural elements from which everything else was made: earth, water, fire and air.  I’m thinking they may have been on to something.  Last week my family had the opportunity to spend three nights camping on Grand Island, an undeveloped island in Lake Superior and a part of the Hiawatha National Forest.  We camped with my sister and her family.  While we did take along a few man-made items such as tents, kayaks and headlamps, we only took in what we could carry on our backs or propel with our paddles.  The packing list was not predicated on seeing  what else can I carry in but rather, what else can I leave at home?   Less was more. Doing without was freeing.  Having less made it possible to do more.   For three days we were not controlled or manipulated by a cruel slave master named Stuff. Continue reading

A Film to Change the World

10984840_875532459200179_4325898071205026321_nBrian Webb is the newest staff member of Care of Creation, and serves as the Director of Climate Caretakers, a global campaign dedicated to mobilizing Christians to pray and act on climate change.  He also works as the Sustainability Coordinator at Houghton College in western NY where he lives with his wife and three kids.  This post first appeared on the Climate Caretaker’s website.
————————————-

I recently had the opportunity to pre-screen a wonderful, new movie coming out in select theaters on September 4. “Chloe and Theo” is a beautiful film with an inspiringly simple message that couldn’t be more relevant for our consumer-driven culture. Continue reading

Singapore Students take Creation Care Seriously

We are often asked if all of our work at Care of Creation is making a difference in the world.  Are people listening? If so, what are they doing about it?  The following report out of Singapore by way of the IFES Prayerline newsletter answers that question.  Yes, people are paying attention.  And they are developing their own movements along the way!

—–

So you’ve just attended a conference or camp. The fellowship was fantastic! The worship was amazing! You’re excited and enthusiastic about the future!

But then… back to reality. There are essays to write, problems with relationships, families to keep happy, fun times and difficult times. The conference excitement and the lessons learned start to grow dim.

FES Singapore students are determined this will not happen to them. They want a recent equipping conference to be just the beginning of challenge and change in their lives. At the close of the conference they wrote their pledges on origami paper, folded them into aeroplanes, and flew them. Then they all picked up a plane and committed to pray for the person and their pledge.

They have also organised a follow-up journey together. Their aim is to bring ‘organic, self-propagating, bottom-up change’. Local projects focus on topics discussed at the conference, such as migrant workers, social media, social entrepreneurship and conversations in the public square. Two projects that will be promoted nationally focus on rest and creation care.

One of these projects centres around Psalm 24:1-2 – ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.’ If we really believe this verse, FES asks, how will its truth affect our lives? How can we be responsible caretakers of God’s world?

Here are three suggestions:

1. Spend time outdoors.
As a community, explore and enjoy the wonders of God’s creation. If you take time to be ‘in’ the natural world, you will see what a marvellous gift it is. This will help you want to take care of it.

2. Stop pursuing ‘gadgetry’.
Constantly buying new devices may be a form of idolatry. Furthermore, only a small percentage of discarded items are recycled, creating mountains of e-waste – over 3.4 million tons in the US in 2012 alone! Sadly, poor countries are importing e-waste in order to recover the valuable bits, but the salvage process creates hazardous liquids and gases that are impacting the health of people and the environment.

3. Minimise wastage.
If you buy only what you need, you will waste less. This equates to a smaller carbon footprint, but is also being a good steward of resources – all part of loving our neighbour.

Another initiative is called Sleep Singapore Sleep. Students are finding creative ways to encourage themselves and others to get proper rest in order to better deal with stress. As the university year starts they will give out inflatable pillows to incoming students with a verse from Proverbs written on them: ‘When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet’ (3:24). They want to work with the student affairs department in the university to open discussions about meaningful rest in a stressful environment.

——-

Keep up the good work, Singapore!

Standing Face to Face with Injustice

CC License, Wikimedia Commons

I moved from a rural farming town to the “big city” to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, and I’ve lived in Madison ever since.  I felt that I’ve always fit in here, and I’m proud when I tell people where I live–after all, Madison and her suburbs consistently receive recognition in contests of “Best Place to Live, Raise a Family, #1 City to Live in 2015,” and that’s pretty cool.  According to some sources, we are also the #1 Greenest City in America!  Recently, I became aware of information that pretty much shatters my paradigm that Madison is a near-perfect place.  The 2013 Race to Equity report, undertaken to promote greater public awareness of racial disparity in Dane County Continue reading