by Deacon Joey Clavijo as originally published in the June 2018 issue of Churchwork
Our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry is always preaching about love. One of his most popular quotes is: “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.”
If you asked me to define love I’d have a hard time putting it into words, except to say that God is love. But then, how do I define God? I’ve tried to think about God in very big ways, only to discover that my limited comprehension of God is simply too small. I can’t seem to put God into a box to either define God or define love. But I can tell you what love looks like. I can tell you what love does: Love always seeks the good of the other.
What I’ve discovered is that God’s work is love, and love does not exist in isolation. Love is like a fire which breaks through and ignites the very fabric of life through relationships. The power of love manifests itself in what the Episcopal Church calls The Way of Love, the way we create Loving, Liberating, Life-Giving relationships with God, with each other, and with creation itself, in Christ.
When we read sacred scripture (Genesis 1:1-25) we discover God’s first relationship was the creation of the earth and note that all creation was good. Then we read (Genesis 1:26-31) God created humankind in God’s own image and likeness and gave us dominion over the earth.
God has given us in creation everything we need to be fruitful and multiply.
We certainly have been fruitful and multiplied, to a world population of over 7.7 billion people. God has created over 7.7 billion of us in God’s image and likeness and has given all of us dominion over the earth.
So why should we as a faith community be involved in the work of creation care? I suggest it’s for the love of the earth. I suggest we consider our relationships with food, with transportation, with energy, with how we live our lives and ask; are we creating loving, liberating, life-giving relationships with our environment. Can we find better ways to care for our environment for the love of the earth?
What are the things our churches can do to become involved in creation care? I suggest the first step is to say yes to creation care for the love of the earth. Next, invite members of your congregation into the discussion. Environmental stewards are sitting in the pews of every church right now. Establish a working ministry for environmental stewardship, maybe a green team. Focus on concrete practices which you can implement at your church. There are many resources offered throughout our diocese to get you started.
For more information on how your church can implement or enhance your environmental ministry, contact the Environmental Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are thankful for the churches and individuals who participated in these environmental stewardship events:
Serving & Preserving Our Environment on Saturday, March 16 at St. George’s, New Orleans
Clergy and lay leaders assembled at St George’s Episcopal Church to hear a keynote address by The Rt. Rev. Mark Andrus, Bishop of California. Other speakers included Professor Mark Davis from the Tulane Bywater Institute and Helen Rose Patterson from Restore the Mississippi River Delta. Members from three of our churches shared their stories of various environmental stewardship projects at their local churches.
Coastal Day on Monday, April 22 at The Louisiana State Capital
Environmental Commission members Richard and Fernell Cryar along with other advocates working on coastal restoration initiatives gathered at the capital for meetings with the state legislature, the governor, and attended panel discussions geared to assure continual funding of the state’s Master Plan to restore the coastlands of Louisiana. Commission member Fernell Cryar left the meetings with a feeling of hope, having heard the governor and state legislators praise and continue to support the Coastal Master Plan, which combines projects that restore, build or maintain coastal wetlands.
Presentation to the EWC on Saturday, May 18 at St. Matthew’s, Houma
Environmental Commission member George Bond presented a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation on environmental stewardship and the Episcopal Church.
The NOLA Energy Challenge
St. George’s Episcopal Church is participating in the NOLA Energy Challenge. They are partnering with Entergy to provide them with ample assistance to reduce their energy consumption and make an impact on the environment. This program is available to all Orleans Parish churches.