What More Can We Do?
The United Methodist Church possesses a rich tradition of statements, writings, and resolutions affirming the vocation of all Christians to live in healthy, charitable, and just relationship with the whole of creation. Increasing numbers of United Methodists are responding to this call by taking action for ecological healing and environmental justice within local churches and communities, through our connectional system, and in partnership with ecumenical, interfaith, and public environmental movements. At the same time, in an age of widespread social and environmental degradation threatening human and planetary wellbeing, many United Methodists are asking with renewed urgency what more we are called to do in faithfulness to God to care for creation and do justice with our neighbors. The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement has emerged in response to this urgency.
The mission of the UMC Creation Justice Movement is to participate with the Spirit of God in connecting and supporting groups within the United Methodist Church and beyond for the work of creation care, justice, and regeneration.
We seek first God’s new creation of the world in which all creatures, places, and earth systems are fully alive through loving, sustaining, and just relationships.
The UMC Creation Justice Movement exists to: 1) Connect existing and emerging UM creation efforts at all levels of the church for mutual support and inspiration, 2) Uplift the leadership and voices of frontline communities, 3) Collaborate with denominational, ecumenical, interfaith, environmental justice, community, and civic organizations and movements to achieve shared aims of socio-ecological justice, and 4) Mobilize the power of a “network of networks” within and outside the UMC for collective witness, action, public policy advocacy, and transformation.
Our Affirmation of Faith
As disciples of Jesus Christ seeking the transformation of the world through the resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to the healing of the earth and its many creatures and biosystems, of which human beings are a part, as we strive in hope for the earthly fulfillment of God’s reign of righteousness and justice. With the scriptures, we believe that “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1). The New Testament witnesses to the reconciling ministry of Christ in whom “all things” in heaven and on earth are held together in peace (Colossians 1:15-20). God’s own Spirit, the source of life, groans through the whole of creation in eager longing for redemption (Romans 8:22). We affirm, therefore, that the vocation given by God to humans to “till and keep” the garden of creation (Genesis 2:15) is a call not to “dominion” (Genesis 1:28) understood as domination but to a reverent earthkeeping lived out in loving stewardship of the good earth in anticipation of the coming new creation of “all things” (Revelation 21:5). As heirs of John Wesley, we embrace anew the call to holy living – the loving of God, neighbor, and all creatures – in the whole of life. We acknowledge the interconnectedness of ecological wellbeing with social justice for all, heeding both the warnings from the scientific community regarding the environmental calamities we face and the cries of the poor and oppressed for political, economic, and cultural equity. Amidst the ecological crises of climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and more, we know that those of us already burdened by poverty, racism, colonial violence, and related forms of social injustice are already suffering the worst effects. We believe, therefore, that the going on to Christian perfection today must include an ever deepening and expanding growth in holiness expressed through concrete acts of personal, congregational, denominational, and public transformation for the sake of the world God so loves.
Current Work Teams
Leadership for this movement within the church has emerged from many sources — most recently the 2019 Creation Care Summit in Nashville — to form the following evolving working groups:
- Coordinating Team
- Advisory Team
- Summit Planning Team
- Communication Team
- Federal Climate Legislation Team
- State Advocacy Days Team
- Annual Conference Organizing Team
- Training and Community Education Team
- Creation Justice Presence at General Conference 2020 Work Group
We welcome United Methodists from across the connection to contribute to this emerging work. Please contact us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected and to share your gifts.
Members of the UM Creation Justice Movement Coordinating Team who contributed to this statement:
- Timothy Eberhart, Assistant Professor of Theology and Ecology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
- Laura James, Organizing Program Coordinator, General Board of Church and Society
- Daniel Joranko, Coordinator, Tennessee Conference Creation Care Ministry
- Elizabeth Lee, Executive for Economic and Environmental Justice, United Methodist Women
- Cathy Velasquez Eberhart, Minnesota EarthKeeper
- Pat Watkins, UM Missionary for the Care of God’s Creation
- Michael Black, UMC Earthkeeper; Engage Team Chair and Church Council member at Decatur First UMC; Senior Lecturer at Georgia State University