Conversations in a changing climate, October 1, 2019

     by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

Last weekend, I attended the annual Prairie Festival at The Land Institute (Salina, KS).  The Land Institute is a non-profit science-based research organization working to develop food production methods that sustain the land and soil.  This year’s Prairie Festival topic was Carbon, Culture and Change: From the Ground Up.   Presentations focused on causes of and responses to the climate change crisis, integrating perspectives from technology, economics, agriculture, public policy, social and cultural transformation, global justice, story-telling, art and music.

I sat beside a young adult who had come all the way from Iowa to attend the festival.  She could hardly contain her enthusiasm when she learned that I am a pastor who cares about climate change because of – not in spite of – my faith.   Turns out, she also comes from a religious background.  Her grandfather was a traveling preacher, and she has an academic degree in New Testament theology.   But, she has struggled to find other people who embrace a connection between Christian faith and environmental stewardship.  She was particularly eager to talk more with me about a faithful Christian response to the climate crisis, and asked if she could stay in touch to continue the dialogue after we each returned home.   I look forward to hearing from her!

This encounter reminds me how crucial it is for us to be having conversations about the connection between Christian faith and the future of this planet.  We need to be talking about how the climate crisis relates to other issues important to our congregations and communities:  Issues such as rural and urban vitality, agricultural sustainability, immigration, racial and economic justice, the future of our children and youth, indigenous peoples’ rights, physical health and emotional wellness, trauma and abuse, disaster response, and more.  Whatever our starting point, context or perspectives, we can join the conversation about faith and the environment.

If you are wondering where to begin, or want to learn more about creation care and climate change from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, check out these organizations:   

–       Mennonite Creation Care Network at https://mennocreationcare.org

–       Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (a collaborative initiative of Goshen College, Eastern Mennonite University and Mennonite Central Committee) at https://www.sustainableclimatesolutions.org

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