Posted by: mcgurker | January 23, 2009

The Church of Christ in the Age of Climate Change

Global warming has damaged the precious balance of God’s creation, including increasing the number of threatened species, causing long-term drought and desertification, and melting Arctic ice.  Scientists tell us that we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  What is the responsibility of the Church in the face of global climate change?

“The church of Christ in every age,
beset by change but Spirit-led,
must claim and test its heritage
and keep on rising from the dead.”

                The Church must recommit itself to the stewardship of God’s Creation.  Your congregation can begin by incorporating Creation care into every aspect of the life of the church including worship.  Click here to find resources for worship including hymns, liturgy and prayers from the NCC Eco-Justice website.  Celebrate Earth Day Sunday!  Resources from previous years can be downloaded here. Email to reserve a copy of the 2009 Earth Day Sunday resource.

Global warming’s societal impact already falls, and will continue to fall, most heavily on the people around the world who are least able to mitigate the impacts. The effects of climate change including changing weather patterns, an increase in pests and disease, and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events will significantly add to the burdens of those who are hungry and living in poverty around the world. Without effective action to mitigate the impacts of climate change an additional 330 million people could be temporarily displaced through flood, an additional 220 – 400 million people could be exposed to malaria, and the number of people affected by malnutrition could rise to 600 million, and an additional 1.8 billion people could be living in a water scarce environment by 2080.   What must we as the Church do to love our neighbors?

“Across the world, across the street,
the victims of injustice cry
for shelter and for bread to eat,
and never live until they die.”

                The Church must speak out for justice on behalf of our sisters and brothers who are suffering.  Your congregation can begin by signing on to the National Council of Churches Faith Principles on Global Warming.  Click here to read them.  Consider signing on to a letter to President Obama calling for just and effective climate action. Click here to read the letter.  Plan to host a candlelight vigil after a Sunday service this March as a sign of solidarity with those who are suffering from the impacts of climate change.  Click here to download a guide to aid your congregation in planning the vigil.

                Scientists tell us that to prevent the worst impacts of climate change we need to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 15-20 percent by 2020 with a long-term vision to achieve carbon emissions reductions of 80 percent by 2050. In a world of finite resources, for all to have enough requires those among us who have more than enough to address and correct our patterns of acquisition and consumption. We cannot achieve significant reductions in global warming emissions unless we make changes in our lifestyles, particularly in our energy consumption.  How can the Church Become better stewards of Earth’s resources?

Then let the servant church arise,
a caring church that longs to be
a partner in Christ’s sacrifice,
and clothed in Christ’s humanity.”

                The church should take immediate action to reduce its carbon footprint! If you haven’t already done so, your church should get an energy audit.  If your state has an Interfaith Power and Light branch call them to schedule an energy audit.  Otherwise schedule one with your utility company.  Click here to check out funding opportunities to green your church. In the next few weeks the NCC Eco-Justice Program will be launching a Carbon Reduction Campaign.  Churches, youth groups, and individuals can sign up and take action to reduce their carbon footprints.  The online carbon calculator will calculate the carbon reductions for various actions as well as   provide step by step instructions and theological explanations to guide your congregation in taking action. Check our homepage for updates and sign up when it is launched.

“We have no mission but to serve
in full obedience to our Lord:
to care for all, without reserve,
and spread his liberating word.”


The Hymn: The Church of Christ in Every Age
Words © 1971 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188
Can be found in
Wonder Love and Praise – #779, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal – 729,
and The Presbyterian Hymnal – # 421






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