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


Mennonite Creation Care Network May Newsletter

posted May 19, 2017, 4:59 PM by Joseph Cook   [ updated May 19, 2017, 5:05 PM ]

See PDF below to download May Creation Care Newsletter

CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISPLACED PERSONS (ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES): CREATION CARE CORNER (VOLUME 2- ISSUE 4) -- 21 APRIL 2017 – JOSEPH L. COOK – SAN ANTONIO MENNONITE CHURCH

posted Apr 22, 2017, 3:45 AM by Joseph Cook

I researched and wrote the attached article with the intent to post it on Earth Day- hope you read it and send to others.

Creation Care News - 4 April 2017

posted Apr 17, 2017, 7:18 PM by Joseph Cook

April 4, 2017
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Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions Fosters Connections

The new Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions held its first consultation March 24 to 25 at Goshen College. See our website to find out what percentage of Mennonites are worried about climate change.

Above, Glenn Gilbert, sustainability coordinator for Goshen College, leads a tour of green features at Goshen College for attendees at the consultation. Also pictured are Ron Byler of Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Harrison Horst, a student at Eastern Mennonite University; Janeen Bertsche Johnson of Anabaptist Biblical Seminary; Vurayayi Pugeni of Mennonite Central Committee Canada and Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer of Eastern Mennonite University.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Lutherans Announce an Eco-Reformation

The year 2017 is a big one for Lutherans: it is the 500th anniversary of the year Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door, sparking the Protestant Reformation. One group of teachers, pastors and lay people is calling for an Eco-Reformation of similar magnitude.
 
“Our church needs a New Reformation as radical and transformative as the first one in the sixteenth century,” declares an essay on the Lutherans Restoring Creation site. “We need to address the signal issue of our time (the restoration of Earth), as the sixteenth century reformation addressed their signal issue of that time (the salvation of the individual). We need to shift from being human-centered in our understanding of salvation to being Earth-centered in a way that seeks the well-being of all Earth Community.”  Read more
 
The 500th anniversary of the Mennonite Church follows in 2025. How might we build on this idea?
NETWORK NEWS

MCCN Member Congregations:
Prepare for the Annual Spring News Round-up


Congregational liaisons, watch for an email and form requesting information on what green things are going on at your church. Good reporting provides a nudge of accountability and helps others learn from you. This also helps us keep our online list current so that those seeking advice or partners can find them.

Visit Our New Website If You Haven't Yet

MCCN's new website passed the find-it test. Thanks to those of you who helped field test the site by finding things on it. The winners of our contest were:

Jeff Hochstetler of Berlin, Ohio...first form received
Ryan Goertzen of Goessel, Kansas...fastest under age 50
Omar Kheshgi of Glenview, Illinois...fastest over age 50


You too could win a bar of eco-friendly soap: the slowest category is still open. Go to our Find-it form and spend a leisurely afternoon reading anything on our site!

Remember to Join Our Facebook Group
Seen there recently: Ben Hartman, who is part of the Mennonite web of relationships in Goshen, Ind., made the Grist 50 list.  His book about sustainable farming was what attractedGrist's attention. See The Lean Farm.
 
RESOURCES

Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday

One small, practical way congregations can remember both workers and Central American forests is by purchasing palms for Palm Sunday that have been harvested in a sustainable manner. Read more

In The Mennonite: 
Caring for God's Creation

See the latest issue of The Mennonite for a variety of articles on the theme of creation care. If you don't subscribe, they make it easy for you to make a donation and read the issue online. Heather Wolfe, the MCCN creation care liaison from Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Church, wrote about her church's journey. TM also included Jennifer Schrock's article entitled, Ten Types of People Who Care About CreationThe version linked here is slightly longer--but free. 

Pollinator Partnership

As you plan your garden this spring, please consider the bees, bats and other pollinator species that need your hospitality. Not sure what to plant? The Pollinator Partnership is a national nonprofit that has a pollinator guide for every ecosystem and a free Bee-Smart phone app for those moments of uncertainty at the plant nursery. Pollinator Partnership is not just for green purists. They have training modules for farmers and certified pesticide applicators too. See theirfeatured programs.

Living More with Less Today

This new blog on living more with less is maintained by David Jost of College Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind. It aims to connect, equip and inspire people who are trying to live simply. Read about young adults on bicycles, living off the land, with housemates, in a yurt.

"I try to surround myself with people and perspectives that seek thoughtful living, recognizing that discipline and accountability are essential pillars of living more sustainably," one author, Everett Brubaker, observes. 


Interfaith Power and Light: Cool Congregations Challenge
Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) announced the annual winners of its Cool Congregations Challenge last month. The recognition comes with a cash prize of $1000. IPL operates in 38 states in the U.S. to spur congregations to develop a religious response to global warming. TheirCool Congregations program offers a starter kit with steps under and over $25 and many examples of congregations on the move in this area. Check your state IPL affiliate for additional funding options.
 

EVENTS

Rooted and Grounded Conference
At Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
April 20 - 22, 2017


Cultivating shalom between human beings, the rest of creation, and God. Keynote speakers are Dr. Stanley Saunders, Sarah Augustine and Todd Wynward. The full schedule of workshops and immersion experiences is now available.  Register
    Creation in Travail and Creation Renewed
    A webinar on Thursday, April 20, 2:00-3:30 pm EDT


    Can't come to the Rooted and Grounded conference? You can catch this event with theologians Malinda Berry and Greg Boyd as a webinar. Register here if not already attending Rooted and Grounded. 

    Called to Peacemaking with All Creation:
    Living Faithfully in the Age of the Anthropocene
    May 15 to 17, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta

    Randolph Haluza-DeLay is the speaker for this series sponsored by Mennonite Church Alberta. He is a social scientist at The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta and a congregant at First Mennonite Church in Edmonton. See details.

    Wanted:

    Rooted and Grounded Scribes

    If you are attending the Rooted and Grounded Conference at AMBS April 20 - 22, would you be willing to share notes, quotes or a write-up from an event you attended? It would be great to have reporting from multiple perspectives. Email mccn@goshen.edu.

    MCCN Wants to Meet You at the MCUSA Convention

    If you are attending the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando the first week of July, please email mccn@goshen.edu to let us know. I (Jennifer Schrock) like to connect with our members when I have a chance and would love to have you stop by the Mennonite Creation Care Network booth when I'm there. 

    See the conventions page on our website to find out about creation care events at Orlando. We'll post more when MCUSA's final schedule is published. 


    Food Systems Administrator

    The Elkhart County Food Council (ECFC) is seeking a part-time volunteer administrator excited about developing a vibrant, local food system in Northern Indiana. This is a Mennonite Voluntary Service position that includes coordination, communication, research, marketing and connecting with stakeholders. Applicants must be able to work independently, have excellent writing and speaking skills and be familiar with food-related issues. Contact Phyllis Miller atphyllismillerrn@gmail.com for more information.
    Copyright © 2017 Mennonite Creation Care Network, All rights reserved. 

    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

     

    Introduction:

    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.

     

    Resolution:

     

    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

    21)

    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. (http://www.mennocreationcare.org/100-shades-green-congregations) 

     

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

    Untitled Post

    posted Mar 30, 2017, 5:52 PM by Joseph Cook   [ updated Mar 30, 2017, 5:55 PM ]

    New Mennonite Creation Care Network website:  http://www.mennocreationcare.org

    Untitled Post

    posted Mar 30, 2017, 5:46 PM by Joseph Cook

    Mennonite Creation Care News of 30 March 2017

    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.


    http://lakemead.water-data.com/   - Water levels for Lake Mead – Nevada – normally updated daily

    http://lakepowell.water-data.com/  - Water levels for Lake Powell – Nevada – normally updated daily

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/volume-and-concentration/ -  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

    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html -  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

    http://nsidc.org/data/masie/masie_plots - another option to look at sea ice extent – if link is not open for a particular area click on it to open

    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reservoirs/RES - 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

    http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/snowapp/sweq.action - 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

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