Hear the climate call

From Our Leaders

September 21, 2023 | Opinion | Volume 27 Issue 19
Sandy Plett | Mennonite Church Canada
Listen to the children. Listen without being defensive. (Wikipedia Commons photo by Dcpeopleandeventsof2017)

It’s worth celebrating that the regions of MC Canada have identified the climate crisis as a priority ministry area in recent years. Like all priorities, where the rubber really hits the road is not in reports and lists and minutes from meetings, but where two or three (or 200 or 300) are gathered—the congregation.

That said, the congregation is not automatically a climate response hub. Here are some ideas to help your congregation hear our Creator’s call to this work.

  1. Listen to each other and pray. Listen to the children, the parents, the grandparents about how they feel and what they think about the intensifying climate crisis. Listen without offering easy answers. Listen without being defensive. Then listen further; to Indigenous voices, to the vulnerable in areas of the world facing the worst impacts of the climate crisis, to those who are calling you to action. Listen and pray. And when you pray, listen to see where you are being led.
  2. Build a community in which the climate crisis is recognized and named as a priority. If we want to be healthily engaged with this work, living joyful lives as people of faith, we’re all going to need others to walk alongside us in the work, the worry, the successes and the failures. We’ll need the strength of community to face the increasing impacts of the changing climate, and what better place to start than within the congregation?
  3. Balance your energies between action and reflection. In practical terms, this means making time for action and practice beyond Sunday mornings and committee meetings. It also means making time for learning and reflection to shape and guide your action. Jesus modelled this balance so well.

Mennonite Church Canada has a new partnership that can provide some great help in all these areas. For the Love of Creation (FLC) is a Canadian interfaith initiative by which faith groups across Canada work together to come up with advocacy and engagement invitations that invite broad involvement, creating movements bigger than any one faith group could create on their own. By joining FLC, MC Canada has gained a seat at the creating table, and we are now looking for ways for those opportunities to flow into our 200-plus congregations to find legs, wheels, pens . . . whatever the action calls for.

FLC comes up with new initiatives every three or four months, so it’s important to keep an eye on the FLC website to see what’s up next. Opportunities are pitched in ways that any group can pick them up and run with them in their own context and way.

After you’ve checked out FLC, head over to MC Canada’s climate action page to see what is happening in our own house. Right now, you’ll find information about our Emissions Reduction Grant. Consider applying to help fund a project in your own church building or property to not only reduce emissions, but to raise the conversation about climate solutions that can be enacted right within the walls (or furnace rooms) of your own congregation. The application deadline is Sept. 30. If you need a little more time, start planning your application for the 2024 season of the Emissions Reduction Grant.

Sandy Plett serves as climate action coordinator for Mennonite Church Canada and can be reached at splett@mennonitechurch.ca.

Read more From Our Leaders columns:
The nudge
Creating a community of calling
Learning about waiting
Executive road trip 
Where do transformation, inspiration and calling come from?

Listen to the children. Listen without being defensive. (Wikipedia Commons photo by Dcpeopleandeventsof2017)

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