Methodist Church Planters Take Aim On Climate Change

After a global search to discover his spiritual calling, Tyler Sit returned to his Methodist roots to find the social justice he was looking to address. Beginning under the title, 'Eco-Church' (a name dropped after realizing its exclusiveness), Sit began planting environmentally minded Methodist churches in Minnesota and connecting with other initiatives around the world. The 26-year-old Eden Prairie native recalls, “I realized that Christianity has within itself a deep internal religion and also a deep ethic of social justice.” One that would enable him to remedy issues of climate change and pollution in minority areas of the midwestern state. 

Drawing a clear correlation between climate change and the sin of waste, the small Methodist congregation is moving to make real-world changes in the way we view God's creation. From locally sourced foods to bicycle initiatives, Sit and others see promise in transforming the way we live. Noting the four superhighways situated around the states predominantly black neighborhoods, the group of Methodists hope to involve minority communities in the call to climate action.  

Read The New York Times article to find out how Methodist communities are making climate action a critical element of their church planting initiatives.

Young Methodists Plant Churches With Environmental Gospel

Mark Oppenheimer | NewYork Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Growing up in nearby Eden Prairie, Minn., Tyler Sit felt called to be a minister. But he was not sure what kind.

“I was a cradle Methodist,” said Mr. Sit, 26, who is half-Chinese, half-European and all-Minnesotan: sweet, smiley and Protestant. “I went to church camp, did Sunday school, was youth-group leader, was in the choir, sat on worship committees.”

So Mr. Sit went searching. “I spent a lot of time with Buddhists in Zen circles, studied in India, did a mindfulness retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh,” Mr. Sit said, in a conversation that began in the May Day Café and wandered several blocks to his apartment. Then, in May 2014, visiting the Taizé Christian spiritual community in France, he decided to return to his roots.

“I realized that Christianity has within itself a deep internal religion, and also a deep ethic of social justice,” Mr. Sit said. “I don’t need to outsource to Buddhism.”

After graduating from the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University in Atlanta, Mr. Sit came home to start a church unlike most other Methodist churches. When he conceived New City Church, Mr. Sit was inspired not only by Jesus but also by diverse elements of contemporary environmentalism, from the fair-trade movement to the writings of the climate-change activist Bill McKibben.

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