Honoring God's Creation
The Christian liturgical calendar coincides with the international celebration of Earth Day this year. While this may mean you will celebrate Earth Day before or after Good Friday (April 22), it is a good opportunity for us to reflect on how our work to care for Creation is also about the Earth's and our liberation, about the Earth's and our redemption.
There are many ways you can honor the sacredness of Creation. Here are some ideas for Earth Day plans for your United Methodist Women unit and congregation. Let's try to make every day Earth Day, so these ideas certainly can be accomplished after Easter!
Has your congregation or United Methodist Women unit studied the Bishop's Pastoral Letter "God's Renewed Creation": A Call to Hope and Action? A helpful 3-session study guide and many exciting implementation ideas are available at hopeandaction.org.
Bishop's Carbon Footprint
United Methodist Bishops have pledged to measure their episcopal carbon footprint. This would be a great time to call your Bishop and ask if this has been done and express support for this important step forward. If it hasn't been done, ask if there is a way that you can be of assistance. If it has been done, consider inquiring what the Bishop learned and what steps will he/she take to reduce it. Offer your help in making that happen!
Your Carbon Footprint
Have you measured yours yet? If not, try the online tools form the Nature Conservancy or carbonfootprint.com. If you have already done this for yourself, give a family, friend, or church member a gift of helping them measure their carbon footprint. Let us know what you did and what happened as a result!
As the House and Senate wrangle over the FY2011 budget and begin to look at FY2012, please send your elected officials a simple Earth Day email message on their website. Tell them that you want them to fully fund the EPA so it can do its job in protecting Americans' health and the integrity of the natural world which is the ultimate source of our wealth and well-being.
The National Council of Churches has made water the theme for this year's celebrations. Look for great worship and study materials on water on their website and at the World Council of Churches which produced a 7-week Lenten series available in English, Spanish and French two years ago. This also could be a great time to lift up and raise funds for water-related mission projects sponsored by United Methodist Women, UMCOR and Church World Service.