Leaders of Mennonite Church Canada are calling on members, congregations and regional churches to respond to the climate emergency.
“We must act, we must act together, and we must act urgently,” wrote the denomination’s executive ministers in a four-page document published Feb. 7.
The document was prepared after the Joint Council, which includes executive ministers and moderators from each regional church, affirmed climate action as a nationwide ministry emphasis in a Jan. 30 meeting.
The document acknowledges the climate emergency requires immediate action but emphasizes there is still good news: “For us as Christians, the good news always starts with this: ‘God so loved the world’ (John 3:16). God our Creator, the Creator of the earth and all that is in it, has crafted all things in love and deemed them ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31).”
The ministers stress action must be rooted in God’s call for the church to “enter into the groaning of God’s suffering creation, to walk in solidarity with all that suffers because of human greed and violence, walking toward newness and fullness of life” (Romans 8:18-27).
Six initiatives “reflect our working commitments as a nationwide church.” These came out of consultation with working groups and regional church boards across MC Canada:
— Broaden the mandate of MC Canada’s Sustainability Leadership Group.
— Create space for youth to engage on the climate crisis.
— Open discernment about “simple living” and encourage congregations and members toward this path.
— Explore divestment/investment options related to mitigating climate change.
— Set up a central webpage to provide creation care and climate action resources for congregations and working groups.
— Commit funds to support MC Canada’s climate actions.
“In 2021, in B.C., we learned two new terms: ‘heat dome’ and ‘atmospheric river,’ ” said Mennonite Church British Columbia executive minister Garry Janzen. “Almost 600 lives were lost as a result of the heat dome in July. We have experienced three atmospheric rivers from November 2021 to January 2022, causing extensive flooding, massive destruction of property and shorelines and catastrophic loss of animal life and crops on farms in the Fraser Valley.”
Michael Pahl, executive minister of Mennonite Church Manitoba, said: “This is the most significant existential crisis facing us as humanity right now. The church needs to respond in real, practical ways, and we as a Mennonite Church have important gifts we can share toward this global, ecumenical effort.”
The full document, “Taking Action on Climate Change: The Eco-Mission of the Church in a Critical Time,” is online at mennonitechurch.ca/climate-action.