Pastor’s Letter, April 24, 2024

Dear Friends in Christ,

Another Earth Day has come and gone. Did you celebrate – or otherwise do something to mark it?

I spent time reading reflections by Christians on the earth because more and more Christians are encouraging Christians and churches to study and practice being “green.” Why? Because if we’re about choosing the ways of life over the ways of death what’s more fundamental – and inclusive – than preserving the life of our planetary home for everyone?
With this in mind, UCC church pastor and denominational leader, Jim Antal, has redefined love of neighbor in his book Climate Church, Climate World. He writes:

We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves … and we must recognize that future generations are no less our neighbors than those who live next door today. We can think of this as Golden Rule 2.0….No longer is it morally adequate to expand our understanding of justice to include in the circle of neighborly treatment more distant neighbors. We must recognize that all people, indeed all creatures alive and all those yet to be born, are our neighbors.”

Toward this aim, our wider UCC church leaders have developed a pathway for congregations to adopt an identity and focus for their ministries: becoming a Green Church. It makes sense, and I’d hope it’d be less difficult for Christians across the spectrum of belief to take on than Open and Affirming has been. After all, even the ancient prophet Hosea made a connection between faithfulness and the environment when he wrote:

Israel, listen as the LORD accuses everyone in the land!
No one is faithful or loyal or truly cares about God…
Violence is everywhere. And so your land is a desert.
Every living creature is dying: people and wild animals, birds and fish.

Blessing of Eastertide!
Ed Koonz

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