Churches caring for our planet, our home
A Critically important responsibility of the Church
“The earth is in ICU!” That has been the urgent warning of scientists for some time now.
The high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere leads to global warming and challenges such as climate change, changing weather patterns and erratic rainfall.
In the recent past South Africa has seen and experienced the dreadful consequences of global warming as never before – eight of nine provinces have been declared drought disaster areas in 2016; the levels of many dams are critically low and strict water restrictions have been imposed. The drought not only threatens our country’s food security, but also impacts on unemployment, economic growth, etc..
Animal and plant species are being wiped out by poaching, over fishing and uncontrolled development; our fish stocks are depleted. Rivers are polluted by untreated sewage and chemical and household waste.
The earth is really very ill and as a church we need put all our weight in the fight against the further destruction of the earth.
Being obedient to God’s call to love and be caring should inspire us to follow Jesus Christ was we accept the responsibility to care for creation (John 3:16).
What is the church’s eco-calling and-task?
The ecological challenge is not a simple theoretical matter for many communities in South Africa. Neither is it a matter of fanciful indulgence among those who seek to respond to it. It is a matter of life and death.
Bishop H Mvume Dandala
We appeal to the church to re-discover and acknowledge the Biblical calling
to care for creation and be a healing community.
Conference on Poverty and Ecology
Our responsibility to care for God’s Creation has been overlooked or ignored. We have acted as if Christ only died to save the human race. The truth of the redemption of all things in Christ, which is the message of the life-giving cross, must be reclaimed (Colossians 1:20)
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
We reaffirm that creation care is an issue that must be included in our response to the gospel … This is not only biblically justified, but an integral part of our mission and an expression of our worship to God for his wonderful plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Creation Care and the Gospel, Lausanne Consultation
Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si
What can an Eco-Ministry in our congregation do?
Integrate “green issues” in the liturgy and in the life of the church.
- Appoint an eco-task force for the congregation to plan and coordinate the actions
- Preach on and pray for the environment
- Integrate ecological issues in Sunday school and catechism classes
- Start a collection point for recycling paper, cardboard, books, glass, cans, electronic waste, spectacles, etc.
- Plant drought-tolerant plants in the church garden
- Use national and international environment/weeks e.g. World Environment, Arbor Day to create awareness and as actual action.
Encourage members regularly to live more responsibly (reduce carbon footprint), make plans to save and help to restore the injustice that causes suffering in creation.
- Help members to understand what a carbon footprint means
- Reduce Reuse Recycle
Rethink Repair Refuse
- Reduce Reuse Recycle
- Audit the consumption of resources such as water and electricity
- Set targets to reduce the use of these resources
- Only use energy-saving lightbulbs and use more natural light
- Turn down the thermostat on the geyser, insulate water pipes and the geyser
- Install solar panels for heating water
- Install water tanks and harvest rainwater
- Re-use gray water
- Make compost of household and church kitchen’s waste
- Start a congregational vegetable garden to promote care for creation
- Start congregational lift clubs, reduce transport to worship services
Affiliate with organizations in this field
- Become a supporting member of A Rocha SA. Find useful information on faith-based environmental organizations on the web and see how other believers are actively working in caring for creation. Get involved.
Form local partnerships
- Partner with other churches, local government agencies, schools and organizations in the community that share the interest in environmental matters. Tackle challenges together.
- Put pressure on local authorities to get systems in place for recycling.
Play an Advocate’s role for Environmental Justice.
- Contact the local authority on environmental matters such as leaking water pipes and pollution.
- Supports the eco-actions of another organizations