As a faith leader, you can help inspire your congregation to care for God's creation.

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Let's Lead: Guidance to Help Faith Communities Lead on Climate

By Nichole Tucker
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As of late, there are many congregations across the United States that are taking on the responsibility to care for creation. Among them are a handful of churches whose governing bodies have active partnerships with ecoAmerica and have been selected to be featured in the Let’s Lead series.

Who’s Leading Now

The current edition of Let’s Lead features leaders from the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for their effective climate leadership that spans across the years. First, the United Church of Christ pledged their commitment to the cause more than ten years ago.

Community United Church of Christ

The Community United Church of Christ (CUCC) in Raleigh, NC voted to include climate justice in the church’s mission in 2007. This commitment led to CUCC leader, Pastor Jenny Shultz-Thomas building a task force for to see that the church’s mission was put into action. Read more about the CUCC.

Downey Avenue Christian Church

Reverend Jay Deskins has been leading Downey Avenue Christian Church to take action on climate since 2012. It was then that the congregation started its Creation Care Team, a group that later went on to make “small changes” that made a big impact on their community. They have been recognized as a Green Chalice church. Learn all about this church in the Let’s Lead report.

Midway Christian Church

In Kentucky, this small church found its calling in the very principles of the denomination to which it belongs. Keeping the Christian idea of acceptance, Midway Christian Church allowed the congregation and the community to get involved in their journey to becoming a Green Chalice church. Read “Everyone’s Welcome,” featuring Midway Christian Church.

Recommendations for Climate Leadership

Each of the Let’s Lead congregations learned important lessons as they worked to increase their use of renewable energy, and shrink their carbon footprints. Here are a few recommendations.

Promoting justice like CUCC. It is important to work with different types of people. Your groups should cross socioeconomic, ethnic and religious lines. Influencing the community to create inclusion requires partnership. Having these partners will strengthen your efforts.

Follow your calling to care for creation. Every congregation is different. You should customize your creation care plan to fit the needs of your congregation and surrounding community. Always keep information flowing so that members of the congregation can stay involved in the process, even at home.

Include everyone in your work. The key to success in congregational climate action is to start small. Your community impact on the climate is just as important as national and global impacts. It is also vital that congregations do their research to find out the best resources to get the work done. Sometimes, this will mean having conversations with people outside of the congregation.

Let’s Lead

The Let’s Lead report shares success stories of leaders and groups from ecoAmerica’s target sectors; faith, health, and communities. Check out the report here.

 

Does your congregation have a success story to share? Submit today for the possibility to be featured in our next Let’s Lead report.