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"If only we would remember that we are companions on the earth; we are not merely caretakers. The earth is also our caretaker, if we would but pay attention," remarked Valerie Bridgeman during her keynote address at Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary September 28. Learn more.

Rooted and Grounded Draws Creation Care Advocates

Over a hundred people from at least six countries gathered September 27 to 29 for Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind. Read about the keynote speakers.

The conference also included worship, academic papers, workshops and immersion experiences that allow for place-based learning at other sites. One group of immersion pilgrims visited a pipeline site at the Hermitage, Three Rivers, Mich. 

The next Rooted and Grounded event will be in the fall of 2019.
Alan Kauffman, West Liberty, Ohio, reflects during an immersion experience planned for the 2018 Rooted and Grounded conference at AMBS. Participants traveled to the Hermitage, Three Rivers, Mich., to learn how the retreat center responded to a pipeline issue.
Pastors Seek Responses to Climate Change
The first of a series of retreats for pastors wanting to grapple with the denial and despair that so often stymies efforts to work on climate change took place September 17 to 19 with 12 participants. One significant part of this retreat was the chance to meet visitors from the Global South whose countries are affected by climate change. Both the retreats and global guests were funded by the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions. 
Pastors at a retreat on climate change at Camp Friedenswald, Cassopolis, Mich., participate in an exercise illustrating complex systems.

College Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind. 
Soil Box in the Sanctuary

by Daniel Yoder

In the fall of 2017, our “Take Good Care” sermon series focused on a wide range of stewardship topics, but we wanted something consistent in children’s time. So I built a soil box and gave it to the children as a gift on the first Sunday of the series.

It was a gift that they had to care for. We planted seeds, watered them, and watched them grow from week to week. As with all living things, the box of soil began to take on a life of its own that outlived the sermon series.
read more
Pastor Daniel Yoder and the children of College Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., water a soil box used during children's times in a worship series. Daniel offered a workshop on the innovative idea at the Rooted and Grounded Conference at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, September 28.
Shalom Mennonite Fellowship Takes Stance on Mines

At a September 9, 2018 congregational meeting, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson AZ voted to approve the following statement:

Shalom Mennonite Fellowship stands with the San Carlos Apache and Tohono O’odham nations in opposition to proposed mines at Oak Flat and in the Santa Rita Mountains.”

"[This proposal] is about following the lead of Native people in our care of creation and being intentional in countering environmental racism," explains Pastor Carol Rose.  The simple statement will make the congregation's support visible and enable them to step up and support actions as they emerge.  

Parkview Mennonite Church Hosts National Solar Tour

On October 7, Parkview Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va., participated in the National Solar Tour: the largest grassroots solar event in the United States.  The congregation was one of 700 tour sites across 48 states. Parkview installed solar in two phases that brought them to a total peak output of 31.75 kW. 

Our Children's Trust Lawsuit
Trial begins Monday, October 29, Eugene, Ore. 
The 21 youth involved allege that the federal government has violated their constitutional rights by failing to address climate change for over 50 years. They are requesting a science-based National Climate Recovery Plan. Where will you be on October 28 and 29? Attending a rally on climate change?  Preaching a sermon on climate justice? On your knees in prayer? Weather-stripping your home? Let's all find a way to support these children's hope for a livable future.  

Who Cares About Climate Change? Pastoral Responses to Denial and Despair
  • November 19 to 21, Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp, New Hamburg, Ont.
  • May 4 to 5, Camp Deerpark, 
Most of us care about climate change, but give it a low priority. Join other pastors in exploring ways to address the fear and spiritual numbness that prevent us from doing what we can as reports of weird weather multiply. This retreat is free to pastors of Anabaptist-related denominations thanks to the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions. Register here.

Kinsler Institute: Indigenous Justice and Christian Faith: Land, Law, Language
February 18 to 22, 2019  
The Kinsler Institute is an annual event planned by Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. This one promises input from Indigenous leaders, workshops, theater, art, music. Registration opens mid-November. Learn more.

A column based on tips by Carole Suderman, Boulder Mennonite Church, Boulder, Colo. Carole has been offering her congregations challenges like these for the past 20 years. Tips are adapted for a broader audience.

In November, we have the opportunity to make a huge difference in the future of our planet. Study the issues and candidates prayerfully. Weigh the impact of possible loss of jobs and money against the health of our citizens, wildlife and local ecosystems. Dig deeper than what you can learn about the candidates from negative ads. Discern the best decisions for the Earth and vote! Your voice matters. 

Editor's note: The League of Conservation Voters website has a scorecard feature where you can see how incumbents voted on specific legislation and their overall pattern with regard to care of the earth. Also see the latest Eco-Justice Notes on why environmentally minded people don't vote. Peter Sawtell says the least worst option is often a lot better than not voting.

Praying with the Earth: A Prayer Book for Peace
This collection of prayers draws on the spiritual traditions of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and the deep longing for peace that unites them. It also emphasizes our connection to the earth. Praying these prayers daily--especially with others--could be an important way to care for yourself and seek communion with God. By J. Philip Newell, Eerdmans, 2011. A related resource offers brief prayers in the form of chants. 

Let's Talk Faith and Climate: Communication Guidance for Faith Leaders
Do you know how to have a productive conversation about climate change? This online resource from Eco-America and Blessed Tomorrow offers advice on what language works and doesn't, and what themes resonate most with people of faith. 

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
Edited by Paul Hawken
Amy Huser, the sustainability director at Camp Friedenswald, recommended this book at the climate change retreat mentioned above. It is an enticing collection of 100 strategies for reducing carbon emissions, from walkable cities to wind power to methane digesters to conservation agriculture. Each is ranked according to the number of gigatons of carbon that could be saved. 

These stories of people living attentively on the earth are from the Canadian Mennonite site:
  • A family resolves to fit their garbage into an ice cream pail. 
  • A grassroots organization helps its community learn how to fix things free of charge with monthly repair cafés. 
  • An artist reflects on the nature-human relationship through her painting.
  • A creative environmental services coordinator makes composting food waste fun at Hidden Acres Camp, New Hamburg, Ont. 
  • Where can you find plenty of available land for a solar farm? How about the 1,000 square mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl? A 3800-panel solar farm able to power about 2,000 homes is in process. 
  • Agolin, a Swiss firm, is producing a cow feed that reduces methane production from cattle. About four percent of global greenhouse gases come from cows. A million cows in the EU are already on this diet. 
  • Physicists at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom are pioneering a new technology that could make solar panels three times as efficient as current panels. 
  • If you can't wait a whole month for more good news, try the Good News Network. All three of these stories are in their feed.
Copyright © 2018 Mennonite Creation Care Network, All rights reserved.

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