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OSJ Creation Care Update | September 06, 2019
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As we head into the fall months, the Climate Witness Project has been hard at work mobilizing and equipping churches and congregations around our four pillars—education, advocacy, worship and energy stewardship. In this newsletter issue, check out the stories of Christian witness of climate change in East Africa, our partners engagement in congressional meetings as well as our new partner church’s decision to go solar. Let’s continue to uphold our compelling moral obligation and duty to care for creation and the environment.

The Intersectionality of Climate Change: What I Witnessed on the Front Line of Climate Collapse

"I traveled to Kenya and Uganda to be a Christian witness. Witness implies obligation. When someone has seen firsthand something significant, they have a responsibility to tell the truth, and Jesus calls us to be messengers of truth. Here is a truth: People are really suffering—not tomorrow, but today. Their homes and farms are ravaged. They are pulled into starvation, driven into violent conflict, and are even resorting to suicide because of climate change."

Check out this reflection from Melody Zhang who traveled with the Office of Social Justice and World Renew's Climate Change Bootcamp to East Africa, and serves as the Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator at Sojourners!

CWP Partners Participate in Congressional Meetings

This past month, the Climate Witness Project participated in legislative meetings during the congressional recess. As people of faith, we believe in a common call to seek and advocate for just policies that prioritize the sustainability of our environment and mitigate the moral crisis of climate change.

We have the opportunity to make our voices heard once again. If you are a resident of Grand Rapids, MI, we have secured a meeting with U.S Representative Justin Amash’s office for the month of September. Email Hope Zigterman at hzigterman@crcna.org if you are interested in attending this meeting.

Episcopal Church CWP Partner Going Solar

One of our newest CWP Congregations is going solar!  After completing a series of efforts aimed at improving their energy efficiency, Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hastings, Michigan is installing solar panels to produce their own clean energy.  Pastor Linnea Stifler, says, “We see this as part of our Christian witness to the love of God manifest in creation.”

Read the story here. Is it time for your church to consider solar? Contact Steve Mulder at steven.mark.mulder@gmail.com to start the conversation about your church going solar today.

Citizens for Public Justice’s Climate Change Election Guide for Canada

People of faith across Canada are increasingly speaking up about the urgent need for climate action. Christians and faith leaders are recognizing that the world as we know it is changing. Many are starting to take bold steps to restore a sense of shalom in creation. One of those steps can be asking candidates about their plans to fight climate change. Citizens for Public Justice has four questions to ask Federal Candidates

  • How will you ensure the development and implementation of a just transition strategy for Canada? How will you approach the development of green jobs across Canada? Through what mechanisms will you support workers (and their communities) through this transition?
  • Will you end all public financing of the fossil fuel industry? If so, when?
  • How will you enhance Canadian climate and energy policy to align with the scientific imperative of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5 C?
  • How will you assist Indigenous and northern communities, coastal regions, and other vulnerable populations to adapt to the new realities of their local environments? How will you support them in the face of negative health impacts from climate change?

Presidential Climate Town Halls - CWP Joins Faith Community’s Movement

Just this week, Climate Witness Project partners across the U.S joined other faith communities and capitalized on the televised CNN presidential town hall on climate change. As people of faith, we expressed why this matters to us and why we are hopeful. See below some quotes from our partners:

“...hope overcomes defeat; new life overcomes death and destruction. Resurrection is possible. We have much work to do [on climate change], but, God is with us for this journey.”
- Rev. Richard Killmer, Maine

“It's easy to feel helpless about a changing climate, but speaking out prophetically and acting justly is truly empowering and even transformative”
- Phillip Leo, Chicago, Illinois

Don’t miss the chance to build on this movement once again with the MSNBC multi-day climate forum on September 19 and 20. More details about this to follow but if you are interested in hosting a watch party for this forum, contact Andrew Oppong at appong@crcna.org.

Putting a Face on Climate Change

“Deanna Geelhoed, 24, and Anneke Spoelma, 14, attended a Climate Witness Project Bootcamp this summer, a learning experience put together by the Office of Social Justice and World Renew.

Geelhoed and Spoelma each were already passionate about combating climate change, but by traveling to parts of Kenya and Uganda, the two said they observed first hand its far-reaching effects. The trip also allowed them to better understand the way these effects are felt in developing countries where many people make their living as subsistence farmers.”

Continue reading »

In Case You Missed It

  • Climate Change Series in Classis Hamilton - The Climate Witness Project’s regional coordinator, Henry Brouwer, will be sharing a 6 part series on Climate Change at Meadowland CRC in Ancaster, ON, beginning on September 15th. If you’re from Southwestern Ontario, this is a great way to learn more about the science of climate change, our personal impact, and what we can do to better steward creation. For more information please contact Cindy Stover at cstover@crcna.org.
  • An Evangelical Leader Calls Young Christians to Save the Planet article - Kyle Meyaard-Schaap used to be the OSJ's Creation Care Coordinator now he is the national organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. Check out this great article about his work and passion for speaking out about how to overcome the climate crisis!
  • KAIROS Canada Climate Action Month - “On each day in September an event, blog post, environmental challenge – or some combination of all three! – will be posted and saved in the KAIROS Climate Action Month calendar. These will include regional, national, and international events and resources.”
  • Taking Responsibility--NOW! Do Justice article - “Although Michigan had experienced a cold and wet spring, we were unprepared for what we would experience as we traveled the interstate highways toward Wyoming in early June.”

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