In “Earth and Faith, A Book of Reflection for Action,” published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), we are reminded that “the continued poverty of the majority of the planet’s inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation. UNEP’s Global environment Outlook 2000 concludes that the present course is unsustainable and postponing action is no longer an option. “The authors go on to say that “the spiritual challenge of the ecological crisis draws us back to our religious traditions, to reflect on and celebrate the natural world in its most profound sense of mystery as a manifestation and experience of the sacred. We humans find not only our place, but also our presence to the sacred in this phenomenal emergence.” The Declarations listed in this brochure can be found in “Earth and Faith”, which may be purchased on-line at www.earthprint.com, or visit the UNEP website. OCICE is deeply grateful for the work of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Interfaith Partnership for the Environment.
On a more personal note, OCICE Board members reflect on their reasons for bringing faith and ecology together. Our members have conducted a bit of research into the Christian faith, to discover what the Bible says about Creation.
In the Old Testament, the call to be partners in restoring and sustaining Creation is grounded in the belief that all creation was intended to be good. God created all things and then pronounced them “good”. The creation God has designed, molded and given over to us for our care is too wonderful, too ancient, too beautiful, too “good” to be desecrated. Human life and well-being depend upon the flourishing of other life and the integrity of the life-supporting processes that God designed and set into motion.
Humans have been charged by the Creator with the responsibility of “tilling” and “keeping the garden” (Gen. 2:15). Today, the Earth is suffering from much human abuse. As stewards, not owners, of God’s Creation, humankind must wake up and start caring for and preserving Creation.
The Eco-Philians of St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA are part of the Peace and Justice Committee. The Eco-Philians use the term “eco-justice”, meaning well-being of all humankind on a thriving earth. The Eco-Philians believe that justice for human beings is inseparable from right relationships within the natural order. There is no real justice where there is a misuse of Creation. If we oppress people or ecosystems that are powerless to defend themselves, we are being unjust to God’s Creation.
The Environmental Ministries Committee of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Tustin, CA was formed to educate, motivate and provide action opportunities for the congregation as we all strive to support environmental stability and respect for the earth. This intention arises from the urgency required of human beings to safeguard the future of the earth, our home, and to assume a position of stewardship for all of God’s creation as part of our Christian faith.
Both St. Mark Presbyterian Church and Aldersgate United Methodist Church have taken steps to reduce their footprint on Creation.
When St. Mark built a new church that opened in early 2009, they built to LEED standards and is the “greenest” church in Orange County, CA.
Aldersgate UMC reduced their electric use by 30%, simply by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent. They are currently in the process of replacing other lighting with LED light bulbs, as well as energy efficient windows.
We at OCICE invite you to call upon us to answer any questions that you may have regarding faith and ecology. If you would like help starting an environmental ministries, please contact us.
In Service to the Earth,
The OCICE Board of Directors