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Astudillo receives Presbyterians for Earth Care Annual Eco Justice Award

Ministry represents committed and faithful service of Hispanic/Latino-a Presbyterian leaders

By Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, a Presbyterian pastor and organizer of GreenFaith Florida, was recently awarded the Presbyterians for Earth Care Annual Eco Justice Award. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE ─ The Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo recently received the Presbyterians for Earth Care Annual Eco Justice Award.

Astudillo, who works with GreenFaith, an organization with a mission to inspire, educate, organize and mobilize people of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds globally for environmental action, is a leader in the ministry of environmental justice.

The organization’s work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. GreenFaith believes that protecting the Earth is a sacred act and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.

Astudillo is a Venezuelan-American, an ecotheologian and Presbyterian pastor who has taught eco-theology for theological seminaries in Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, México and the United States. Additionally, she co-founded the Angelic Organics Learning Center, a farm-based nonprofit organization in northern Illinois where people connect with food, farming and caring for the Earth.

“As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we take pride in one of our own, the call and the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo,” said the Rev. Rosa Miranda, Associate for Hispanic/Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support in the office of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries. “Her ministry represents in many ways the committed and faithful service of our many Hispanic Latino-a Presbyterian leaders across the mainland and Puerto Rico, all of them serving God and God´s people in such a time like this.”

Astudillo explains ecotheology this way: “Ecotheology is reflecting on our faith from a belief in God as Creator. It seeks to find faith-based solutions to the environmental challenges of our time, lifting up Creation care as an act of faith.”

Astudillo says it was a childhood experience that lead her to specialize in Ecotheology.

“When I was young, we moved to Argentina during a time of political turmoil,” she said. “Despite my young age I experienced a church trying to be a witness to Christ’s Good News in solidarity with those suffering persecutions.”

“We spent vacations on the beach and the countryside,” she said. “In the realm of nature, I met peace and beauty. As a young woman now back in Venezuela, the killing of dolphins by the shark and tuna industries opened my eyes to the groaning of Creation, but I found a church silent to this kind of injustice.”

Referencing Romans 8:22, Astudillo stated, “I like to say, the groaning of Creation led me to seminary in the U.S., to find the Good News Creation needs to hear, and to continue working with the church to be a witness to Christ’s Good News for all Creation.”

Astudillo says climate scientists tell us we have less than 10 years to reverse climate change or else millions of people around the world will suffer the consequences. “Our faith calls us to love our neighbors,” she said.

She provided a list of five simple things faith communities can do to support Creation care.

  • Encourage people to vote: We must elect local and national candidates who care about the environment and seek to create a society where sustainable and ecological choices are the norm, available to all people.
  • Teach about Creation care: Each congregation can be a model of what it is to live sustainably, being grateful for God’s Creation, confessing when we fail, including Creation care in our Christian education and stewardship.
  • Include a community garden with your food pantry: Works toward building communities of care and resilience and uproot the real causes of hunger.
  • Green your congregations: Free your church from plastic use, increase opportunities to serve, reusing, reducing; place recycling bins around your church.
  • Join local environmental efforts: Be the church in the world. Learn about your own environment and do what you can to protect, clean, heal and care for it as part of your faith.

For additional resources on the subject visit the following organizations’ websites:

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