Category: Pondering Peace

One Church’s Response to Joining God in Saving the Earth

Several members of Englewood Baptist Church in Gladstone, Missouri, participated in Joining God in Saving the Earth: Mobilizing for Action on the Climate Crisis at Central in October as their churchwide retreat. The congregation was in the middle of a worship series, Celebrating God’s World, based on the book Inhabiting Eden: Christians, the Bible, and the Ecological Crisis by Patricia Tull. The event at Central dovetailed nicely with that emphasis.  Wanting to share some of the impact of what the members had learned at Central, the church invited Dr. Ruth Rosell to repeat her presentation from the event on the final Sunday of the series. Dr. Rosell followed the presentation with a time of discussion during the Bible study hour at Englewood and then was the guest preacher for worship.  Afterwards members who had expressed interest in finding ways to lower the church’s carbon footprint, joined Dr. Rosell for lunch and further discussion.

The next step for Englewood is to form a “Green Team,” which was one of the hoped-for practical outcomes of the planning group for Central’s event. “We wanted to help participants become aware of the realities of the climate crisis,” said Dr. Rosell, Director of the Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence, which has sponsored the event, “but also to learn of practical actions that individuals could take. We wanted participants to see that there is still hope and that they can make a difference.”

The Rev. Dr. Fletcher Harper, who was the keynote speaker for the event, spoke of actions that could be taken on an individual level, an organizational level, and on a system-wide level. A panel of speakers in the afternoon represented examples of each of these levels and how participants could mobilize to act on any or all of the levels.

“Members of our congregation who came to the event were inspired by what they heard,” said the Rev. Robin Sandbothe, co-pastor of Englewood and Director of Seminary Relations at Central.  “Some of them will be a part of Englewood’s green team, and we’ve talked about inviting Chad Cooper to meet with us about the resources Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition, the organization he directs, has to offer. We have talked about using the digitally captured sessions from the event to help our congregation understand the need for action and how we can help make a difference, like replacing all our lightbulbs with LED bulbs, adding solar panels and more efficient windows, and becoming advocates in our community. We have even talked about hosting an event for area churches to watch the sessions together and have more conversation about ways we could work together.”

Englewood is one model for how the resources from the event could be used by local churches or other interested organizations. Click here to access the videos of sessions captured that day, or contact Dr. Ruth Rosell to invite her to come to your organization to give her presentation about the climate crisis realities. Join God in saving the earth!