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Congregation of Episcopal Church of the Redeemer signs Earth Care Pledge

submitted by Julie Barbosa

A few years ago, I read an article in a church newspaper about burial. In this denomination’s view, the dead had to be buried in preparation for the resurrection of the body. I squirmed: knowing what damage a burial does to the environment, I felt the article only confirmed that many Christian churches today lag far behind what science tells us about being stewards of creation.

Eventually, I made my way to the website of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where I found REST. Redeemer Environmental Stewardship Team called me “to foster awareness of the ecological issues we face and to examine ways we can respond to these issues from a Christian perspective.” In the two years since I moved to Redeemer, our congregation has celebrated the environment during the Season of Creation by hearing homilies about caring for Earth and using liturgical prayers from the New Zealand Prayer Book, considered strategies for welcoming and tending to those displaced by climate change, grown a vegetable garden, packaged all of our meals—one-fifth of which are vegan—in compostable containers at our community café, and learned how to make our homes and our church facilities more eco-friendly on a budget.

Last weekend, in preparing to act on General Convention Resolution 2022-A087 (a call for each congregation to pursue net carbon neutrality by 2030), REST asked our clergy and vestry to sign an Earth-Care Pledge. All present recognized the significance of the moment with unanimous agreement to sign the pledge. We see this as an important step in reminding our congregation that its decisions and actions will be considered through an Earth-care lens and that we are committed to moving forward into a healthier and more just future.

Earth Care Pledge

The congregation, ministers, staff, and friends of Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Mobile, Alabama, are aware of and alarmed by the dramatic changes being wrought on God’s creation by the unsustainable practices of our 21st-century society. While all living things are affected, the greatest human impacts of climate change are borne by those who are least responsible and least able to address them.

Locally, we are already seeing the impacts from an increase in extreme heat days on individual health. Food costs more but is less available and less nutritious. The increased frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms affects people and infrastructure in our community directly and affects our area indirectly through climate migration. Rising sea levels cause increased flooding and overwhelm already overtaxed storm sewers, while property insurance rates rise. The coastal seafood industry continues to be affected by increased ocean acidification and warming waters.

Our hope lies in individual and communal efforts. In an outpouring of love, God created Earth and all that lives herein, and said that it was good. Peace and justice are God’s plan for all creation, and we are called to deal justly with one another and Earth. In the face of these current realities, Redeemer is called to action within four domains.

Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect, and restore this earth.

In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice, and community.

Our facilities will be managed, maintained, and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds, we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.

Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation, and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.

Affirmed by: Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Mobile, Alabama


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