“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Turns out it’s been a busy month for environmental stewardship and care for God’s creation beyond the walls of St. Matthew. Here’s a recap of some highlights you may have missed:
- The Season of Creation began on September 1 and concludes on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. As the patron saint of ecology, Francis’ writings reflect on the presence of God in all things in creation, and as all creation leading people to God. He saw the world as a sacrament, receiving God through every material reality. The Season of Creation is an annual, month-long ecumenical celebration organized by the World Council of Churches, and is a time for the world’s 2.2 billion Christians to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. Learn more here: https://seasonofcreation.org/about/.
- The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches, has called climate action a “Christian responsibility.” A 50-page report titled “Loving the Least of These” acknowledges the scientific evidence behind climate change, debunks common myths denying the existence or severity of climate change, and addresses the issue of environmental stewardship from a theological and personal perspective. If you have further interest, you can read the report here: https://bit.ly/LovingTheLeastOfThese.
- In the secular world, the United States signed into law the most substantial piece of legislation to stimulate clean energy production and build climate-resilient communities in its history, as part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Some components specifically directed to New Jersey include: 50-100% rebates for New Jersey residents to install energy-efficient appliances; 30% tax credits for installing residential solar; $11.4 billion to create clean energy Jobs in the state; provide credits to small business owners to support energy efficiency; provide discounts of $7,500 (new) and $4,000 (used) electric vehicle purchases; support climate-smart agriculture in the state; and provide funds to upgrade affordable housing units in New Jersey to improve resiliency against extreme weather events.
Of course, within St. Matthew our calling to care for God’s creation also continues. The Green Team hosted a “Meat-free” Mixed Grille at the September 18 church picnic, in gracious collaboration with Fellowship & Congregation Care. As part of the “Live the Love” initiative, a resolution regarding Care for God’s Creation was adopted by Council at the September 19 meeting (more details to follow). And we continue to plan for the annual NJ Farmers Against Hunger Thanksgiving Packing Event in November (date/time TBC), which benefits local food banks including our mission partner Bridge of Peace in Camden.
What are you doing in your own life to bear witness to God’s creation and care of our common home? If you feel the answer is “not enough!” then we sincerely hope you will join us! Volunteers and new members are always welcome. We meet monthly on Ministry Night (first Monday of each month). If you are called to serve, please contact Brian Lestini at email@example.com.