Climate’s Newest Leaders: African-American Clergy

Three African-American clergy, including Blessed Tomorrow Leadership Circle members Bishop Vashti McKenzie and Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, recently spoke at a White House panel on climate change and climate impacts. But these leaders’ presence at the panel was not an isolated event. Rather, it’s emblematic of a small but growing trend of African-American religious leaders taking action on climate, chronicled in this recent Huffington Post article.

These leaders aren’t talking about saving polar bears and stopping melting ice caps. Instead, they’re working to rebrand climate and environmental issues to make them meaningful and relevant for African-American churchgoers. Their messages, which focus on the health and financial benefits of climate action, turn the idea of environmental messages being esoteric on its head. Climate communicators can follow these clergy’s lead and propagate innovative new messages to get people behind climate solutions that go beyond traditional environmental themes. Rallying support for climate solutions isn’t always easy. But with the right message, it can be a whole lot easier – and a whole lot more successful. 

African-American Clergy Seek To Bridge ‘Green’ Gap In Congregations

Adelle M. Banks, Contributor to Religion News Service and The Huffington Post

(RNS) At Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, members and neighbors buy fruits and vegetables from a black farmers market and work in an organic garden named after botanist George Washington Carver.

They recycle their church bulletins, plan to renovate their building with a “green” roof and have purchased 27 acres for a community project that will include an urban farm.

“By any greens necessary,” the Rev. Otis Moss III, the church’s pastor, likes to say.

When it comes to African-American churches and a focus on the environment, Moss and his congregation are the exception rather than the rule.

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