Caring for people means caring for the earth
In Huancavelica, Peru, alpaca farmers worried about the parched pasture land surrounding this mountain town. Their families’ livelihood was at stake, and Jed Koball, a Presbyterian mission co-worker, thought an irrigation system funded by a US congregation could restore the grazing land to health. The farmers graciously accepted the offer but also suggested the system alone wouldn’t solve the problem. They pointed out that mountaintop ice caps that feed springs and lakes to the north were receding due to climate change; corporate farms on the desert coasts were piping lake water down the mountains, and mining activity was contaminating the groundwater. That encounter with our partners teaches us that the long-term environmental issues threatening the community must be addressed alongside hunger and poverty concerns. Indeed, Jed came to recognize that God’s creation throughout the world is at serious risk and interconnected with social concerns.
“Global warming is the greatest threat humans have ever faced,” Jed says. “Communities like this are feeling its impact right now.”
Jed was appointed by the PC(USA) to work with Joining Hands Peru, a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program linking churches and organizations in Peru with US congregations and presbyteries to work on hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation. “The ministry of Joining Hands Peru is advocacy oriented,” Jed explains. “We are learning about and participating in public policy discussions at local, national and even global levels.”
Numerous congregations stand alongside Joining Hands Peru. The environment “is not a left or right issue,” says Ellie Stock, a retired teaching elder who worships at Second Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. “It’s a life issue.” Second Presbyterian is a certified Earth Care Congregation through the Presbyterian Hunger Program. These congregations commit themselves to environmental stewardship in worship, education, facilities, and outreach activities.
Following Jesus’s words, our church is committed to holistic mission: to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes. One Great Hour of Sharing funds the Hunger Program’s work and invitation to you to be involved in sustainable development, advocacy, and education on intentional living.
As the Peruvian farmers remind us, responsible care of God’s earth is a crucial element in ending poverty and hunger. In the United States, Peru, and around the world, One Great Hour of Sharing gifts help preserve and restore creation and thus help impoverished people sustain and improve their livelihoods. Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing make a difference for God’s earth and God’s people now and in the future.
Let us pray
Creator God, you call us to care for creation and all who dwell in it.
Help us protect creation so that vulnerable people
can share in the fruits of your abundance. Amen.