Committees hear testimony on joining Anglican Communion Forest, creating ‘eco-region creation networks’

By Shireen Korkzan
Posted May 8, 2024

During an Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation legislative hearing on May 7, 2024, Kansas Bishop Cathleen Bascom testified in favor of her proposed legislation, B002, “Build Eco-Region Creation Networks for Crucial Impact.” Photo: Screenshot

[Episcopal News Service] General Convention’s Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation legislative committees heard testimonies May 7 on three proposed resolutions seeking to join and support the Anglican Communion Forest Initiative, as well as call on bishops and dioceses to build regional creation care networks.

Forty-nine people attended the virtual hearing of the House of Bishops’ and House of Deputies’ committees, which though distinct, typically meet and deliberate together. Once finalized, resolutions will advance to the 81st General Convention, to be held June 23-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

All who testified supported the resolutions. The full list of resolutions can be found here.

Two of the resolutions, A022, “Support the Anglican Communion Forest Initiative,” and A024, “Join the Communion Forest Initiative,” were proposed by the Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism and the Standing Commission on World Mission, respectively. Both resolutions call for joining the Anglican Communion Forest, an initiative that supports forest protection, tree growing and ecosystem restoration among provinces, dioceses and congregations across the communion.

The Rev. Nurya Love Parish, a priest in the Diocese of Western Michigan and a deputy, suggested combining A022 and A024. 

Kansas Bishop Cathleen C. Bascom proposed B002, “Build Eco-Region Creation Networks for Crucial Impact.” The resolution calls on General Convention to encourage and equip bishops and dioceses to work together to form strategic “eco-region creation networks” based on shared ecosystems or watersheds. The networks would participate in projects dedicated to slowing climate change through preserving and restoring local plants, as well as agricultural and food systems. If implemented, creation fellows or consultants would navigate the networks and collect data about participating members, projects and properties, and track their progress.

The proposed budget to implement the regional networks is $150,000 to be distributed equally over the triennium.

“Brilliant work has flowed from our [diocese’s] care creation task force and staff,” Bascom said during the hearing. “Much of [the work is] done through grants and through our eco-fellows, but I believe anything that has been constant across the work and in our budgets of networks has been less fulfilled.”

Read about the Diocese of Kansas’ efforts to restore prairie grasses here

The Rev. Jerry Cappel, priest-in-charge of St. James Episcopal Church in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and Province IV’s environmental network coordinator, spoke in favor of B002: “I speak in support of completing the original goals of organizing meaningful ministry networks based upon equal regions as called for in this resolution. …We who are doing our work as provinces will welcome this partnership and then hope for deepened, widened work.”

The committees also discussed planning upcoming budget hearings, with the next one scheduled for May 14. They also finalized subcommittee membership. The subcommittees separated into breakout rooms.

The next Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation open hearing is scheduled for May 14. The committees will hear testimony on five proposed resolutions.

General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. Every three years it meets as a bicameral legislature dividing its authority between the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops and composed of members from each diocese.

-Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service based in northern Indiana. She can be reached at skorkzan@episcopalchurch.org.


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