The mission of the American Baptist Churches Creation Justice Network (CJN) is to build a movement among Baptists that seeks peace, justice, and reconciliation with all of God’s creation with a vision of a just and sustainable future. In a variety of ways, American Baptist congregations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico have been working to be more faithful caretakers of the Earth, God’s planet, our home, and advocates for creation justice.
At the Biennial Mission Summit in Virginia Beach, the CJN led four sessions in the Creation Care Academy track: 1) Being a Caretaker of God’s Creation: A Bible Study, led by Kathy Smith and Tom Carr; 2) Become a Climate Ambassador! Be a Voice in Your Church and Community on Creation Care, led by Ani Fête Crews of our inter-faith partner, Blessed Tomorrow; 3) Community Organizing: Learn About Living Your Faith and Environmental Ethics in the Wider World, led by Shantha Ready Alonso of our ecumenical partner, Creation Justice Ministries; and, 4) Small Things Matter: Become a Creation Justice Congregation, a panel of pastors and other leaders on the work being done in local churches and communities facilitated by Don Ng. “Making a difference in caring for the earth requires only small steps. Many left testifying to do their small part that matters to the only earth that we all call home!” reflected Rev. Ng.
Throughout the Biennial and at the display booth in the exhibit hall, individuals shared stories of the variety of creation justice activities in which local congregations are engaged. Activities ranged from community gardens to energy audits, taking efficiency measures related to church buildings, worship services and educational programs, legislative advocacy and activism, the effects of climate change on racial justice, the installation of solar panels on churches and members’ homes, establishing church polices related to plastics and recycling, and establishing “Green Teams” or Creation Justice committees.
In partnership with Blessed Tomorrow, the CJN has produced a short video highlighting the biblical and ethical call for people of faith to be engaged in creation justice ministries. The video may be used in a variety of ways within local churches and in regional gatherings to help promote this critical ministry for congregations just starting out or to encourage and enhance the work of those who are already actively engaged. “We hope this video will inspire our pastors and congregations to live out the biblical mandate to care for all God’s creation. Creation care is not only an environmental concern, but also a social justice issue for this generation,” stated Associate General Secretary, Rev. Marsha Scipio, who provides support to the Creation Justice Network. Click here to view this important video.
For those who see this work as a calling for one’s congregation, CJN has just launched the Become a Creation Justice Congregation program, an environmental education, stewardship, and justice opportunity. “The future of life on Earth depends on whether people today take action to build a more just and cleaner society. The Creation Justice Congregations program will give your church the mixture of challenge, support, and accountability that it needs to successfully respond to God’s call to repair what is broken in our world,” says Rev. Ian Mevorach, a member of the CJN Steering Committee. When you participate, your congregation can earn certiﬁcates of achievement for implementing eco-justice measures in your building, within your congregational life, and in your ministries of outreach and justice. There are three stages in the program, each with a checklist of suggested education, worship, and other action items that can help bring your church into the wider movement for peace, justice, and reconciliation with all of God’s creation. Download the brochure here.
This is only part of the work we hope to do for the sake of God’s planet and all life – human and all living creatures. Our hope is that the Creation Justice Network would unite Baptists in the work of environmental justice that weaves a web of relationships making us all stronger together.
More information on the Creation Justice Network or Creation Justice Congregations is on our website: www.abc-usa.org/creation-justice. Prayerfully reflect on how God may be calling you to engage in the ministry of creation justice.