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What We Believe - The United Methodist perspective
on “Global Climate Stewardship”
This month we begin a new feature entitled, “What We Believe.” The new series will highlight some the things that we, as United Methodists, hold in common.
The United Methodist Church has adopted a set of Social Principles, perspectives about God’s human creation and the world in which we live.
The Social Principles address such diverse topics as: the natural world (plants, animal life, science and technology, and food safety), the nurturing community (family, marriage, divorce, single people, family violence and abuse, adoption, suicide, and bullying), the social community (rights of racial and ethnic persons, children, young people, aging, men, women, persons with disabilities, immigrants, rural life, urban-suburban life, right to health care, and mental health), the economic community (property, collective bargaining, poverty, foreign workers, family farms, trade and investment, and public indebtedness), the political community (basic freedoms and human rights, church and state relations, education, civil obedience and civil disobedience, the death penalty, and criminal justice and restorative justice), and the world community (nations and cultures national power and responsibility, war and peace, and justice and law).
We understand that, according to scripture, "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” (Psalm 24:1). God creates the heavens and the earth, the waters and the land, the creatures of the sea and land, the plants, and indeed, humankind. All the way along God paused to savor Creation and “saw how good it was” (Genesis 1:12, CEN) even “supremely good” (Genesis 1:31, CEB).
As the blessed of God’s creation, we have been placed into this paradise. We are called to be responsible stewards of this habitat – its beauty, freshness, and renewability. God created "humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge” (Genesis 1:26 CEB) in the same spirit of awe and reverence as was God’s from the beginning.
Over time humankind has used the richness of the Earth. Discoveries have made possible comfort and shelter, nourishment, mobility, interconnection. We have renewed as by reforestation. We have plundered, as by strip mining. We have both benefited and paid the price.
Among the Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, in The Natural World section, is a statement entitled, “Global Climate Stewardship.” Adopted by the General Conference, the worldwide body of the denomination that speaks for the Church, the resolution recognizes the impact that the actions of humankind have had and issues a call to action to restore the delicate ecological balance.
Here is the Resolution:
We acknowledge the global impact of humanity’s disregard for God’s creation. Rampant industrialization and the corresponding increase in the use of fossil fuels have led to a buildup of pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere. These “greenhouse gas” emissions threaten to alter dramatically the earth’s climate for generations to come with severe environmental, economic, and social implications. The adverse impacts of global climate change disproportionately affect individuals and nations least responsible for the emissions. We therefore support efforts of all governments to require mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and call on individuals, congregations, businesses, industries, and communities to reduce their emissions.
United Methodist News Service story: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/gc2016-the-impact-of-climate-change
From the General Board of Church and Society: https://www.umcjustice.org/who-we-are/social-principles-and-resolutions/climate-change-and-the-church-s-response-1035
From the 2017 Iowa Conference Book of Resolutions - Natural World section begins on page 10