May 2018
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The 2018 Creation Care Council of Mennonite Creation Care Network:

(Left to right) Luke Gascho, Goshen, Ind.; Jennifer Schrock, leader/staff, Goshen, Ind.; Joanne Moyer, Edmonton, Alberta; Dave Hockman-Wert, Corvallis, Ore.; Lillie Koerner Eisenbeis, Freeman, South Dakota; Lawrence Jennings, New York City, N.Y.; Marlisa Yoder-Bontrager, Lancaster, Pa.; Haraldo Nunes, Salem, Ohio; Jim Smith, Goshen, Ind. Not pictured: Mike Currie, Abbotsford, B.C. Lillie, Lawrence and Haroldo joined the council within the past year, so this was their first meeting. Marlisa is outgoing. 

Diversity Enlivens Creation Care Council

The Creation Care Council held its annual face-to-face meeting April 20 to 21 in Goshen, Ind. Three new members added rural, African-American and Hispanic perspectives to the mix. As a result, the intersections between racism, poverty and environmental issues came up more than they ever had before. 

Haroldo Nunes, a pastor from Salem, Ohio, works with recent immigrants fleeing difficult situations. "How can I talk about creation care with people who are in survival mode?" he asked.

Lawrence Jennings, New York, New York, pointed out that asthma rates are 1 in 9 for African-American communities while in white communities, the ratio is 1 in 20.

Lillie Koerner Eisenbeis, Freeman, S.D., described an issue in her community involving concentrated animal feeding operations.

The looming questions that came up didn't make the work easier, but it did make conversation lively. A new member observed that there were many lighthearted moments despite the heaviness of the issues under discussion.  read more

New Council Member Profile: Lawrence Jennings

Lawrence Jennings is a native New Yorker who has been involved in community/economic development in Harlem and the Bronx for more than three decades. He has worked with Rev. Addie Banks and The Groundswell Group; the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition; and Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI). Since becoming a GreenFaith Fellow in 2013, his work has focused on faith-based environmental advocacy.

Lawrence was drawn to the Mennonite Church largely because of the Anabaptist/Mennonite emphasis on living out the radical teachings of Jesus. "I'm especially pleased to have the opportunity to serve on MCUSA’s Mennonite Creation Care Council," he says. Lawrence is also a member of the Board of Reference for the he Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.  

If your church or other group plans to be part of MCCN's river clean up this summer, please let us know. Fill out our quick online form or drop an email to

At our annual Creation Care Council meeting in April, we each imagined what we could do in our own contexts. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:
  • Eliminate antibacterial soap from church restrooms
  • Hold a public prayer walk along a river
  • Organize a talk on reducing nitrate run-off from farm fields
  • Plan a worship service entitled, "Christ, Rivers and Restoration." Have each household bring a piece of trash from a local drain or waterway and display these.
  • Youth fund-raiser for convention: people sponsor youth to gather river trash and pay them by the pound. 
How Then Shall We Live?
A Rewilding the Way Wilderness Adventure

Taos, NM        Sept 8-15, 2018

A week-long immersion in the wild to bring out the deep wisdom, fierce joy, and sacred strength of men aged 18-70. Highlights include homemade meals in an adobe hacienda, visiting Taos Pueblo, encountering Earthships, plunging into the waters and canyons of the Rio Grande Gorge, exploring hot springs, wilderness solos, songs and campfires, morning meditations, and biblical analysis in wild places. Guided by Todd Wynward. more info

Doug Kaufman mugWho Cares About Climate Change?
Pastoral Responses to Denial and Despair

September 17 to 19 at Camp Friedenswald, Cassopolis, MI
Monday, 5 p.m. through Wednesday, 1 p.m. 

Target Audience: Pastors of Anabaptist and Mennonite-related congregations

Climate change isn't just a scientific problem; it's a spiritual problem. Join Doug Kaufman and Amy Huser for reflection on what it means to truly care about and for creation in a warming world. Bring your head and heart and your experience as a pastor and we will face the darkness together with hope. read more
This pizza garden, photographed by  Mike Peel, shows one way to engage the younger generation in gardening: grow pizza toppings! Pizza gardens include tomatoes, basil, onions and other vegetables that are part of pizza. 

Creation Care Liaisons, Don't Forget to Update MCCN

Each year, we ask our Green Patchwork Congregations to tell us what they've been up to. Please fill out this short form even if your church has little to report at present. 

Here are some of the folks we've heard from. If you don't see your update, it will be in a later E-Newsletter. 

Emmanuel  Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, BC, celebrated Good Seed Sunday with an adult class and sermon by a speaker from A Rocha Canada. A small group also toured the nearby headquarters. A Rocha is a Christian environmental stewardship organization working in conservation, environmental education and sustainable agriculture. Among Emmanuel's other initiatives are an electronics recycling day, a community garden and a regular column on creation care in the church newsletter.

Manhattan Mennonite Church, Manhattan, Kans., includes members who hope to work on their understanding of climate change in the coming year. 

Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pa., has an eco-stewardship group that meets weekly. They are working on a vision for the congregation to lower its carbon footprint. This summer the group will facilitate an adult Sunday School class to communicate their vision to the congregation and invite input.

Scottdale Mennonite Church, Scottdale, Pa., has identified creation care as a focus for the coming year and is getting involved with their local waterways.

Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, Kans., conducted a watershed discipleship worship service and adult Sunday school discussion for Earth Day. They also maintained a community food garden and expanded a pollinator garden to provide additional room for pollinator plants this year.

Shalom Mennonite Church, Indianapolis, Ind., will run a youth program in June and July called Thriving Thursdays. Neighborhood youth will be invited to join church friends for crafts, games and food. The theme this year will be the environment. They plan to create a pizza garden and do some exploring of trees and plants in their woods.

Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, Taftsville, Vt., celebrated Earth Day with eco-friendly cooking classes, letter writing to government officials, banner-making using recycled materials, mulching a new apple tree, starting seeds for their permaculture gardens, and neighborhood outreach with Earth Day greetings and plantable seed cards. They are working at further developing their landscape using the principles of permaculture: a way of gardening that listens to and learns from nature in order to maximize mutually beneficial relationships. 

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.

Contact Your Lawmakers About the Environmental Consequences of a Border Wall
The National Parks Conservation Association opposes building a wall on the U.S./Mexico border for many environmental reasons. They are concerned that no studies are required, fences can compound storm damage, and habitats will be fragmented. Among the species whose migration routes may be disrupted are jaguars, ocelots, pronghorn antelope and black bears. There are six National Park units along the border, stretching 360 miles. So if the human impact isn't enough to convince lawmakers, perhaps they will listen to their constituents who advocate for the earth!

Feel Righteous about Dandelions
Are you proud of your dandelions? Maybe you should be. Their nectar nourishes honeybees, bumblebees, fireflies, butterflies and other pollinators. Their seeds feed birds such as American goldfinch, northern bobwhite, wild turkey and white-throated sparrows.

Clean Energy Bikers Pedal Toward Washington, D.C.

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light will launch two sets of bikers toward Washington, D.C. this weekend. One group leaves from State College, and the other from Philadelphia, but both are headed for Capitol Hill where they will meet with their representatives regarding climate change and clean energy. Several Mennonites, including MCCN Member John Stoltzfus of Plains Mennonite Church, are in the Philly group. Learn more

Canadian Mennonites Protest Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Three Mennonites joined with other faith leaders and members of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline in Burnaby, B.C., April 20. See the Canadian Mennonite's report on the arrest of Steve Heinrichs, Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-settler relations coordinator, and the diversity of responses to this action. Two other Mennonite leaders, Johann Funk and Henry Krause were also part of the protest.

Mennonites Around the World Celebrate Creation, Call for Prayer

The April issue of Mennonite World Conference's Courier is on creation care. It features artwork and voices from around the world reflecting on God's call to take care of the earth. Many local issues come up: gas extraction in the Netherlands, land rights in Panama, mudslides in Central America, the environmental effects of war and diamond mining in the Congo. Pick a country and pray for the land and the people who depend upon its health.

Water Springs Forth From Restored Hillside in Ethiopia

Discouraged? See how community members in a valley near Lalibela, Ethiopia, worked together to restore an overgrazed and heavily eroded hillside. Canadian Mennonite shared this story for Earth Day.
Copyright © 2018 Mennonite Creation Care Network, All rights reserved.

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