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Class Explores Creation Care

July 9, 2024

It’s finally summer, and with it come warm and sunny days, opportunities to explore the outdoors, and new possibilities to engage with the natural world. Summer also offers lots of opportunities to learn about and care for creation.

This past May, Community CRC in Kitchener, Ont., decided to partner with the Climate Witness Project, a joint agency of the CRC and World Renew dedicated to creation care, to run an adult education series on creation care and climate change. People from area congregations in Kitchener/Waterloo attended the three week series.

“Creation care has long been a central part of the CRC’s ministry,” said Cindy Stover, CRCNA justice mobilizer and one of the organizers of the series. “Christians are called to be good stewards of the environment, and synod has previously declared that the impacts of climate change are a ‘moral, religious, and a social justice issue’ (Synod 2012). It is therefore an important field for people to understand and apply their faith to.”

The adult education classes included panelist sessions that offered a wide range of perspectives on issues related to climate change. The programming included an introduction to climate change with presentations from Climate Witness Organizers, Indigenous wisdom for caring for the land, and sharing information about local groups and opportunities for involvement in creation care initiatives. One session was led by Chidi Nwene and Kohima Daring from World Renew, where they talked about the global impacts of climate change, and offered an opportunity to donate to World Renew Bangladesh, which works with Bangladeshi communities to build resilience to climate disasters.

Adult education classes provide a great way for churches to support climate justice, according to Harriette Mostert, a Vice Principal, teacher, and church member in Kitchener. Mostert attended and presented at the creation care series at Community CRC.

She said that adult education is an excellent way for churches to educate and connect their congregations to climate justice. “Adults can become more aware of how their actions and inactions affect the creation God has given us” through education classes, Mostert said. 

Ensuring a congenial environment was particularly important for ensuring the success of the series in Kitchener, said Mostert. “Since these sessions also allowed for questions and answers, it gave opportunities for interactions between learners and experts.”

Mostert emphasized how creation care and spiritual discipline go hand-in-hand. “When we embrace our identity as stewards rather than consumers, it changes how we live our faith,” she noted. For example, Mostert explained, Canada and the U.S. consume far more resources per capita than low- and middle-income nations do. According to the Global Footprint Network, a nonprofit organization that measures the amount of resources each nation in the world consumes, if every person in the world used as many resources as the average North American, the world would require the equivalent of 5 earths’ worth of natural resources to sustain every person each year. 

Yet the impacts of climate disproportionately affect the poor. Knowing and understanding these types of implications can encourage churches and congregations to take action to protect the vulnerable.

Mostert also noted that knowing more about the environment can lead to a greater understanding of the beautiful complexity of the world. 

“Creation care helps us pay attention to the intricacies of the world God made, resulting in praise and awe,” she said. 

Those who would like to learn more about climate change or are interested in education for their church communities about the climate crisis are invited to learn more about the Climate Witness Project, which provides a plethora of resources for both education and advocacy, and to reach out to your regional Climate Witness Organizer.