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June 12, 2018

Church Called to Act to Prevent Suffering Caused by Climate Change — The Rev. Inge Williams

Climate scientist and evangelical Christian Catherine Hayhoe says we shouldn’t call it “Global Warming” but “Global Weirding.” The prophetic message of climate scientists is that our weather is becoming not only hotter but wetter and more extreme and that this whacky weather is directly correlated with the burning of fossil fuels by humanity.

Who suffers in this age of global weirding? The very people Jesus calls on us to protect: the ill and elderly, who cannot evacuate and need electricity for medical equipment; working-class farmers and orchard owners, who lose a year’s crop due to unseasonable spikes in spring temperature; and already low-income communities who are seeing more frequent “hundred-year floods” and heat waves.

Faith communities are already on the front lines of the response to extreme weather. Not only do we send out mission trips to rebuild homes after disasters, but we tend to the long-term emotional and spiritual recovery of these communities. In late July, a group of Lutheran churches in Berks County are hosting “Camp Noah” for children now living in Reading who experienced the trauma of Hurricane Maria.

But it is not enough for faith communities to just react to these new realities: we know we must look upstream and address the root causes. Our ears are open to modern day prophets, climate scientists, who have clearly stated that our collective addiction to fossil fuels must be curtailed in order to mitigate massive human suffering. That suffering has already begun. What do we want our future to look like? Speaking as God’s mouthpiece in Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses addresses the people, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”

The Rev. Inge Williams is a member of the LAMPa Policy Council and pastor of Friedens Church in Shartlesville, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod.  She made these remarks in the state Capitol for the June 11 rally for 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050. Read more here. 

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