Helping Churches Care for Creation

A growing number of churches are seeking the services of the Climate Witness Project (CWP), a joint ministry of the Office of Social Justice and World Renew that has been doing this work since its inception in 2015.

Increasingly, Christian Reformed churches are taking a deeper approach to stewardship, focusing not just on money and resources, but also recognizing the mandate of Creation care.

This movement is growing beyond the CRC to include other denominations as well.

“When I was growing up, I remember learning in catechism the importance of the four Ts of stewardship—time, talent, treasure, and trees,” said Wendy Hammond, Director of Church and Community Engagement for World Renew United States. “Today’s young people sense the urgency, and as I visit countries in which World Renew works that are affected by climate change, I’m glad that the Climate Witness Project provides a way for churches to raise awareness and do something to help.”

The Climate Witness Project provides a network and resources around education, worship, energy stewardship, and advocacy, said Steve Mulder, coordinator of the project. “More churches are approaching us and asking for resources to help them address climate change,” explained Mulder. “We can equip them with knowledge and resources they can use to make a real difference. With over 1,200 partners from hundreds of congregations, we are facilitating congregations sharing and learning from each other.”

Andrew Oppong, a member of the CWP leadership team, added that more churches are seeing the value and necessity of becoming stewards of creation. “[We have seen] grassroots leaders in churches change the culture of their church,” said Oppong. “For instance, we’ve seen churches change in terms of how their communion is served — from using single-use plastic to glass. We’ve seen churches create creation care teams.”

At the core of what’s motivating churches to take action is the call to take better care of God’s creation. Synod 2012 addressed this topic when it gathered a Creation Stewardship Task Force and approved their report, stating that “human-induced climate change is a moral, ethical, and religious issue” and asking denominational bodies, individual members, and congregations to take “public and private” action in addressing it.

In the past several years, the CWP has created resource materials, joined with Worship Ministries to release creation care worship services and prayers for churches to use, and trained regional organizers to connect with churches, individuals and communities.

The team at the Climate Witness Project has also hosted regular training and advocacy events, such as film screenings, book talks, and conversations with political candidates. And through workshops and partnerships with other creation care organizations, congregations have been inspired to create community gardens, install solar panels, conduct energy audits and move investment portfolios out of fossil fuel based stocks.

“We’re grateful that Climate Witness Project’s materials are being shared with other congregations,” said Oppong. “We have seen churches look to the CWP for resources, and the CWP has been able to connect those churches to ecumenical creation care opportunities across the U.S. and Canada.”

Learn more about the work being done by the Climate Witness Project, and join with them to advocate for faithful Creation care stewardship.

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