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After Easter, there’s Earth Day to observe, celebrate

Presbyterian Hunger Program highlights resources and urges churches to get involved

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE ­— With Earth Day around the corner, the Presbyterian Hunger Program is pointing faith communities to a number of resources, including an online hub created by one of its partners, Creation Justice Ministries.

Formerly known as the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program, CJM educates, equips and mobilizes individuals, congregations and denominations to protect, restore and rightly share God’s Creation, said Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns for PHP.

To that end, CJM has created an Earth Day Sunday 2022 website that includes liturgy, Bible studies and sermon starters, videos, action steps, stories, and a map of how communities of faith are being affected by climate change. The theme is “Weathering the Storm: Faithful Resilience.”

“Faith communities must take a proactive stance towards resilience to prepare for social, physical, and spiritual storms of the climate crisis,” the website states. “This year, we invite you to consider how you and your church are anticipating, preparing for, and ‘bouncing forward’ into a just, sustainable and resilient community.”

Photo by Anncapictures via Pixabay

The Presbyterian Hunger Program highlights CJM’s website and other resources on its Earth Day Sunday page, which notes, “Earth Day is April 22 and you can celebrate Earth Day Sunday with your congregation anytime in April, or throughout the year.”

Protecting the planet and its inhabitants from climate change is a key issue for the Presbyterian Mission Agency and many of its ministries. It’s also the focus of considerable concern internationally. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change detailed the effects of rising temperature and warned of things to come if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t curtailed.

Jessica Maudlin of the Presbyterian Hunger Program speaks during a Presbyterians for Earth Care conference. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Last month, the United Nation’s 66th Commission on the Status of Women also focused on the effects of climate change, with particular emphasis on protecting women and girls from its effects. Maudlin was part of a delegation that included members from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Presbyterian Women who participated in CSW and related events, including a PC(USA) webinar featuring women leaders discussing issues related to the environment.

For both PC(USA) and the ecumenical CJM, the concern for the planet is based in Scripture.

In 2 Peter 3:13, we read that “in accordance with [God’s] promise, we wait for new heavens and a new Earth, where righteousness is at home.”

“The world around us seems to be burning literally and metaphorically, but even as we bear witness to that, we are called to action,” Maudlin said. “As the part of God’s Creation called to be stewards, we must continue to ask ourselves, ‘What then is our place in speeding the coming of the day of God, of this new heaven and a new Earth?’ Earth Day is simply one day that we do that with the attention of the broader world.”

Along with perusing CJM resources and PHP’s Earth Day Sunday page, Presbyterians who want to learn more about climate change, Creation care or celebrating Earth Day can review the following:

The Presbyterian Hunger Program is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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