Leaders of Mennonite Church Canada are calling on the members, congregations and regional churches of the nationwide church to respond to the climate emergency.
“We must act, we must act together, and we must act urgently,” write the executive ministers of Mennonite Church Canada, in a four-page document published on Feb. 7.
The document, entitled “Taking Action on Climate Change: The Eco-Mission of the Church in a Critical Time,” was prepared after MC Canada’s Joint Council, which includes the executive ministers and moderators from each regional church, affirmed climate-action as a nationwide ministry emphasis in a meeting on Jan. 30.
The document begins by acknowledging that the climate emergency requires immediate action, but it emphasizes that there is still “good news”: “For us as Christians, the good news always starts with this: ‘God so loved the world’ (John 3:16). God our Creator, the Creator of the earth and all that is in it, has crafted all things in love and deemed them ‘very good’ ” (Genesis 1:31).”
The executive ministers stress that action must be rooted in God’s call for the church to “enter into the groaning of God’s suffering creation, to walk in solidarity with all that suffers because of human greed and violence, walking toward newness and fullness of life” (Romans 8:18-27).
They then list six initiatives that “reflect our working commitments as a nationwide church.” These initiatives come out of consultation with working groups and regional church boards across MC Canada:
- Broaden the mandate of MC Canada’s Sustainability Leadership Group.
- Create space for our youth to engage on the climate crisis.
- Open discernment about “simple living” and encourage our congregations and members towards this path.
- Explore divestment/investment options related to mitigating climate change.
- Set up a central webpage to provide creation-care and climate-action resources for congregations and working groups.
- Commit funds to support MC Canada’s climate actions.
- Ask members and congregations for ideas for more initiatives to take “as part of our church’s eco-mission.”
“In 2021, in B.C., we learned two new terms: ‘heat dome’ and ‘atmospheric river’, ” says Garry Janzen, executive minister for MC British Colombia. “Almost 600 lives were lost as a result of the heat dome in July. We have experienced three atmospheric rivers from November 2021 to January 2022, causing extensive flooding, massive destruction of property and shorelines, and catastrophic loss of animal life and crops on farms in the Fraser Valley.”
“This is the most significant existential crisis facing us as humanity right now,” adds Michael Pahl, executive minister of MC Manitoba. “The church needs to respond in real, practical ways, and we, as a Mennonite church, have important gifts we can share toward this global, ecumenical effort.”
The full document can be found at CommonWord and on Mennonite Church Canada’s website at mennonitechurch.ca/climate-action.