Climate justice staffer wants hope, action to overcome despair and fear

Karla Stoltzfus Detweiler — Mennonite Church USA Karla Stoltzfus Detweiler — Mennonite Church USA

To strengthen climate justice ­initiatives in Mennonite Church USA, Karla Stoltzfus Detweiler began serving Sept. 5 as climate justice coordinator, a new half-time position.

“I enjoy engaging congregations, and I am looking forward to helping make resources available to people of all ages,” said Stoltzfus Detweiler, who attends Washington Mennonite Church in Iowa.

“I hope to help people move from a place of despair or fear or apathy to a place of hope and engagement, because that’s what the message of our faith is — resurrection.

“Though we go through struggles and suffer, God suffers with us and brings new life. It is our calling to participate in that. That’s the story of Jesus, and it’s our story within the context of climate and of how we live in relationship with creation.”

Stoltzfus Detweiler holds a master of divinity degree in theological studies with an emphasis in ecological theology and ethics from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, denominational minister for peace and justice, said Stoltzfus Detweiler’s “deep joy and passion to connect her Christian spirituality and climate justice are what we need to expand and shape a ministry of creation care for our denomination.”

An ordained minister, Stoltzfus Detweiler served 12 years as pastor of Christian formation at First Mennonite Church in Iowa City, Iowa.

Previously, Stoltzfus Detweiler was executive director for Hungry World Farm in Tiskilwa, Ill., a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating, inspiring and connecting people around ideas of food, agriculture and caring for the Earth.

“I have felt like creation speaks since childhood, and I feel this connection with holiness when I’m outside and working the soil and with animals,” she said. “I have this sense of care and love for creation and a sense of connectedness with God through creation.”

She has served as a community garden organizer for Mennonite Voluntary Service in Topeka, Kan., Mennonite Creation Care Network council member and aboriginal neighbors garden volunteer for Mennonite Central Committee in Saskatchewan.

Sign up to our newsletter for important updates and news!