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Creation Care

This page is maintained by church member Joe Cook, our liaison to the Mennonite Creation Care Network.


posted Nov 4, 2017, 5:16 PM by Joseph Cook

I updated the 2016 article on climate change in the Arctic using the latest available data.

Creation Care News - October 2016

posted Nov 3, 2017, 4:01 PM by Joseph Cook

October 2017   
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Recycling Coordinator David Gerber, Eighth Street Mennonite Church, with Volunteer Helene Hoover of Benton Mennonite Church at the recycling headquarters for the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale.
Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale Recycles 48 Cubic Yards of Waste

As recently as 2009, all of the waste generated by the thousands of guests at the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale, Goshen, Ind., went into the trash except for a few aluminum cans. In September 2017, the sale kept a total of 48 cubic yards of waste out of the landfill. If those cubic yards were stacked end to end, they'd be almost as long as three semi trailers. Or you could fill about 250 bathtubs with that much waste. 

How did the sale accomplish this when the scale of waste created by a large event can seem so hopeless?Read more

Sense of Place:
Praise for the Sweetness of the Wet Garden

by Ruth Johnston, Twin Cities, Minneapolis

...[T]his was my chance at a real garden. I began planning in January: I would create three garden boxes, I would plant vegetables and flowers, I would make a space for my ten-year-old to plant, I would plant two blueberry bushes... read more

We have a Sense of Place column on the MCCN site for members to write about the places where they live. Read other authors and consider sharing your own place with our readers.


Write the Good Future

Do you have a story to tell that imagines the future as a good place? Through a foundation that funds its members’ projects, Salford Mennonite Church, Harleysville, Pa., is sponsoring a writing contest. Write the Good Future is the brainchild of Maribeth Benner, a member of this congregation. Maribeth says:  

“While there are many books, especially for teens and young adults that depict the future as dark and bleak, I am deeply passionate about wanting to give children, youth and adults ways of dreaming about a good and hopeful future.  As a pastor and reader of theology, it is out of my own faith in the steadfast faithfulness of our renewing God that I believe a hopeful future is possible.”
Write the Good Future challenges third graders through adults to submit short fiction by January 15, 2018.   See details.

church landscaping

Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, Taftsville, Vt., held a workday in early October to create some native plantings around their church building. Principles from permaculture and edible forest gardening guided their planning. The garden will include edibles, native species and plants for pollinators. Large plantings were installed this fall; smaller species will be added next spring. 

The Taftsville crew used a sheet mulching technique to smother the lawn with cardboard before laying down compost and bark chips. Small children helped out by wetting the cardboard to help it decompose and by picking up apples from a damaged tree that was replaced. 

Invitation to Pastors:
Recently I created a pastors segment within our E-Newsletter list. If you received an email addressed to pastors in the last week, you are already included. If you did not receive this email, here's how to receive occasional content targeted for pastors (such as biblical/theological resources). Email mccn@goshen.eduwith ADD ME to Pastor List in the heading.

Creation Care Council Transitions

Mennonite Creation Care Network has an advisory council that meets once a year in person and as needed electronically. This year, we said goodbye to longtime member Greg Bowman and added Lillie Koerner Eisenbeis and Haraldo Nunes. See all council bios and pictures.

Greg BowmanGreg Bowman, Salem, Ohio, served on the council since its inception 12 years ago. He brought us wisdom, journalistic expertise and knowledge of sustainable agriculture and rural churches. Greg's previous experience with the Environmental Task Force that preceded MCCN provided continuity and direction for our fledgling organization. He also enlivened our vocabulary with many creative phrases.

Lillie Koerner Eisenbeis, Freeman, South Dakota, is a recent graduate of Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, where she studied agriculture.  She and her husband, Andre Eisenbeis, are interested in farming in the Freeman area in the future.  Meanwhile, they are exploring sustainable food systems in a variety of ways and serving as house parents for international students at Freeman Academy. Lillie is a member at Hutterthal Mennonite Church in Freeman.

Pastor Haroldo Nunes, Orrville, Ohio, works with the Hispanic ministry at Salem Mennonite Church and with Open Arms Hispanic Ministries, a nonprofit that meets the physical and spiritual needs of immigrants. Both are in Wooster, Ohio. He also serves on the board of Mennonite Central Committee Great Lakes. Haroldo is originally from Brazil. He and his wife, Esmirna, have two daughters and a son: Gabriela, Paulo and Laura.
See all council bios and pictures.


A post on MCCN's Facebook page about recycling peanut butter jars reminded me how helpful it is to know the little things. Here are five practical webpages to aid your green house-holding.

Do's and Don'ts of Recycling

Six Easy Ways to Keep Your Garden Tools in Great Shape

Ten Field Guides for the Serious Naturalist

How to Choose and Use Plastic Wisely

Office Energy Checklist



posted Jun 24, 2017, 8:54 PM by Joseph Cook


posted Jun 3, 2017, 7:22 PM by Joseph Cook   [ updated Jun 5, 2017, 6:50 PM ]

Please see the PDF below to open the article I wrote (Joe Cook) on the killing of environmental activists.

Mennonite Creation Care Resolution Adopted July 5, 2013

posted Apr 17, 2017, 8:13 AM by Joseph Cook

Creation Care Resolution for Mennonite Church USA


 Adopted by delegates on July 5, 2013



The purpose of this resolution, submitted to Mennonite Church USA, is to advance the commitment of congregations and members in caring for creation as part of the good news of Jesus Christ. The resolution is set in the context of: 1) our biblical belief statements; 2) our growing awareness of diverse forms of environmental degradation; 3) our location in North America, where complicity, power, and environmental benefits and harms remain unjustly distributed; and 4) our desire to be faithful to our missional vision as followers of Jesus Christ.


1.                In 1995 we affirmed the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, which articulates Mennonite Church USA’s biblical understanding and commitments. The following are several statements that were made regarding our relationship with God’s creation.

“We believe that the universe has been called into being as an expression of God's love and sovereign freedom alone.” (Article 5)

“Human beings have been made for relationship with God, to live in peace with each other, and to take care of the rest of creation.” (Article 6)

“We believe that the church is called to live now according to the model of the future reign of God. Thus, we are given a foretaste of the kingdom that God will one day establish in full. The church is to be a spiritual, social, and economic reality, demonstrating now the justice, righteousness, love, and peace of the age to come.” (Article 24)


2.                The realities and impact of environmental issues are named in the Mennonite Church USA Purposeful Plan (2012). These excerpts remind us of the breadth of issues that we face as a church, as well as the opportunity for us to respond.

“Along the same line, a dramatic shift in global weather patterns has raised deep concerns about a lack of water, leading to a food crisis with its most dramatic effect in the global south. In addition to these events, the disastrous April-July 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought renewed urgency to a creation care movement concerned about the damage or depletion of natural resources. These disasters point to the importance of having Mennonite Church USA commit itself to increasing creation stewardship and to remain in vital partnership with relief and development agencies such as Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Disaster Service. Environmental disasters provide significant opportunities for the church to engage in holistic witness.” (p. 13)

“The dramatic changes in our world, even the deep crises that affect us in very negative ways, carry with them the seeds of renewal. The crises that bring us to our knees can point us back to our most basic commitments and help us see new ways to live these values in a changing world. Some of the most creative and life giving developments in the church have come about in response to a crisis.” (p. 14)


3.                The Purposeful Plan outlines many cultural, economic, political, and environmental issues confronting Mennonite Church USA today. Acknowledging and responding faithfully to today’s environmental crisis requires wrestling more deeply with the impacts—both locally and globally—not only of U.S. economic and environmental policies, but more broadly of the daily patterns of life typical of North Americans. Just as previous resolutions have called Mennonites in North America to confess and repent on issues of racism, poverty, and militarism, so does the current context of ecological degradation and environmental injustice call forth a strengthened resolve among North American Mennonites to confront their sinful complicity and ongoing responsibilities with regard to environmental issues.


4.                Our missional vision calls us to action. Eleanor and Alan Kreider (Worship and Mission After Christendom, 2011, p. 46) poignantly name reconciliation as the center of our work. 

“God’s mission is to bring God’s kingdom, God’s redemptive reign. God’s mission is creation-encompassing: it is to recreate creation, to bring new creation (Isa 65:17; 66:22: Gal 6:15). God’s mission is to make all things new (Col 1:20; Rev 21:5)—humans with

“hearts of flesh” in right relationship to God (Ezek 36:26), humans reconciled to their bitterest enemies (Isa 19:23-24), and the whole of creation restored as a place where justice is at home (2 Pet 3:13).”


“Seek, and you will find,” Jesus told his followers (Matt 7:7-8). If we truly want to know Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen one who stands with the suffering (Matt 25: 37-40), we must look for those wounds causing the greatest pain in our times. It is within this context that the following resolution calls us to be faithful in caring for God’s creation.




Be it resolved that members of Mennonite Church USA commit to growing in their

dedication to care for God’s creation as an essential part of the good news of Jesus Christ.


We resolve to explore the theological concepts and biblical resources that inform our commitment to creation care. We resolve to discern together how the Bible, our theological understandings, and the realities of the 21st century continue to shape and guide our relationship with creation. 


We, as individuals and communally, are resolved to study and discern responses to the following questions during the next two years as part of our goal to be more faithful in caring for the gift of creation that God has entrusted to us.


A.  Exploring Biblical and Theological Foundations: 

     Studying these questions will advance the Christian Formation priority in the Purposeful Plan (p. 21). These initial questions will assist us in exploring our belief that, “As creatures made in the divine image, we have been blessed with the abilities to respond faithfully to God, to live in harmony with other human beings, and to engage in meaningful work and rest.

(Confession of Faith, Article 6)

1.  How is caring for creation part of the holistic good news of Jesus Christ? What does that mean for the Mennonite Church USA vision and mission and our responses to the current environmental crisis?

2.  How do biblical understandings of Jesus and creation guide us in discovering the ties that link all created beings to each other and to God? 

3.  How can we integrate our theological and biblical commitments to creation care into our communal worship, prayer, spirituality, and Sabbath-keeping?

4.  How can church practices and spiritual disciplines – such as biblical interpretation, worship, prayer, and social action – teach us about creation? How can discipleship incorporate ecological learning, so that the church grows in its wisdom and delight regarding creation?




B.   Choosing a Simple Lifestyle 

     This set of questions will aid in advancing the priorities of Christian Community and Stewardship in the Purposeful Plan (p. 21 and 23). The questions also guide us in responding to our statement that, “We believe that everything belongs to God, who calls us as the church to live as faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to us.” (Confession of Faith, Article


1.  How should we, as individuals and the corporate church, pursue a simple lifestyle in the 21st century? What are ways that congregations and individuals can be the best stewards of energy resources?

2.  How can we practice the sharing of goods (food, money, tools, transportation, houses, etc.) in our church communities?

3.  How does our theology shape our view of economics and management of resources?

4.  As North Americans inhabiting diverse economic, cultural, and racial contexts, what specific opportunities and challenges do we face as we seek to adopt and advocate simpler lifestyles?


C.  Pursuing Justice and Peace

  Responding to these questions will advance the Holistic Christian Witness priority in the

Purposeful Plan (p. 21). They will also guide us in taking action on our belief that, “The peace God intends for humanity and creation was revealed most fully in Jesus Christ.” (Confession of Faith, Article 22)

1.  What do our sisters and brothers in the global church teach us about creation care issues? How will this understanding shape our commitments?

2.  What are the creation care issues within 25 miles of our congregations? How can we respond to these issues in missional ways?

3.  How can we ensure clean water and air, healthy food systems, and quality shelter for all people?

4.  In what ways can we cultivate our witness to governing structures and decision-making at the local, state and national levels?


Information for follow-up to the resolution

Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN) provided the leadership for developing and drafting this resolution. After the resolution is adopted, MCCN – in collaboration with other Mennonite Church USA church agencies and related networks – will provide leadership during the next two years to develop resources for study, discernment and response to the concepts in this resolution.


The MCCN was established in 2005 to serve as a network for Mennonite people and agencies actively engaged in the care and restoration of God's Creation. Both Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada affirmed the official role of MCCN in their denominations. MCCN functions under the Mennonite Church USA agency umbrella of Everence. Leadership for MCCN comes from Everence and Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. Financial support for MCCN is provided by Everence, Merry Lea, Mennonite Church Canada, MCC Canada, as well as donations from individuals and congregations.


MCCN has a membership directory of 650 individuals. Currently there are 61 congregations with liaisons to MCCN in the 100 Shades of Green program, which serves to encourage congregations in their creation care efforts. ( 


Contact Person for follow-up:  Luke Gascho, MCCN, P.O. Box 263, Wolf Lake, IN 46796 Email: Phon

Impacts of Climate Change on the Antarctic

posted Feb 20, 2017, 9:14 PM by Joseph Cook   [ updated Feb 20, 2017, 11:28 PM ]

I just finished writing an article on the impacts of climate change on the Antarctic that I have been researching over several months tonight.  The PDF below has this article.

Usefull Websites for Climate Change as well as Water

posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:28 AM by Joseph Cook   [ updated Jan 21, 2017, 4:38 PM ]

I find these websites usefull to keep track of what I consider useful measure of impacts of climate change as well as what is happening with water levels in the west- about 40 million people in southwestern states depend on water levels in Lakes Powell and Mead and snowpack and reservoir levels in California are important for agricultural, urban and industrial uses.   - Water levels for Lake Mead – Nevada – normally updated daily  - Water levels for Lake Powell – Nevada – normally updated daily -  A blog with lots of information on Arctic Sea Ice volume- the monthly updates usually are done a week or so after the month is over-  provides some excellent visuals on sea ice voume also look at the heat accumulated by planet earth on the right -  A link that is updated normally daily for CO2 readings at Mount Moana Loa- also has links to many other greenhouse gases that are accumulating in the atmosphere - another option to look at sea ice extent – if link is not open for a particular area click on it to open - A link updated normally daily on reservoir levels in California- it is important since so many people in the state depend on this water and this year the rain and snow may eliminate a 5 year drought - A link on snowpack in California Sierras normally updated during weekdays- note that last readings have significant snowpack – concern would be a warm weather system coming in dropping heavy rains on the Sierras leading to significant flood risks – this has happened in the past with catastrophic effects


posted Jan 1, 2017, 9:43 PM by Joseph Cook   [ updated Jan 1, 2017, 10:16 PM ]

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