Lewinsville Presbyterian Church became a PC(USA) certified Earth Care Congregation in 2019. Earth Care Congregations commit to the Earth Care Pledge (see below), and every year seek to accomplish a specific number of actions toward caring for God’s earth. Earth Care Congregations work to make their church buildings, operations, worship services, education and outreach respectful of the glory of God’s creation. This concern for preserving and sustaining what our Creator has made is intended to go beyond church operations and extend into the homes and family lives of congregation members. The ECC program helps churches plan their continued earth care ministry and encourages greater support for this ministry from the whole congregation.
EARTH CARE MONTHLY MESSAGE
CREATION CARE AND RACISM
Caring for God’s creation requires us to think critically about the causes and effects of environmental degradation. In doing so, we find that environmental issues not only impact the natural world, but also people living in low-wealth communities, which often suffer a higher burden of negative environmental effects than other communities. Our country’s history and current reality of systemic racism shape who is affected most by environmental harm – typically Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, former executive director of the NAACP, is credited with coining the term “environmental racism” while referring to the correlation between toxic waste sites and racial demographics.1 Over the years, several studies have been published on the disproportionate impact of environmental issues on certain communities of color. A few recent studies (see footnotes for sources) include the following findings:
- Non-White (and even more so, Black) people have more exposure to harmful particulate matter than the overall population.2
- Fracking disposal sites are more likely to be found in areas with 80% people of color or more than in majority White areas.3
- There is a significant nationwide racial disparity in levels of lead in the blood of Black children vs. non-Black, even after correcting for risk factors and other variables.4
As we consider the ways to become both better environmental stewards and better neighbors to our brothers and sisters of humanity, seek to educate yourself about how environmental harm disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in our community. For example, think about the locations of DC and Northern Virginia’s landfills and incinerators (hint: they fit the trend of being located primarily in communities of color).5 Seeing these issues as intersectional is critical; without acknowledgement of environmental racism, our creation care practice is not whole.
EARTH CARE from the PULPIT
April 19, 2020: Sermon from Earth Care Service“Tree of Life” by Pastor Scott Ramsey
Note: Sermon begins at 19:09
EARTH CARE PLEDGE
Peace and justice is God’s plan for all creation. The earth and all creation are God’s. God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family. As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.
- Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth.
- In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice and community.
- Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.
- Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.
Join Lewinsville’s Earth Care steering committee
and help create a sustainable future at Lewinsville.
Click here to contact the Earth Care team!