Bishops pass 3 creation care resolutions

By Logan Crews
Posted Jun 23, 2024

[Episcopal News Service – Louisville, Kentucky] “This is a kairos moment,” Kansas Bishop Cathleen Bascom told the House of Bishops as she presented three resolutions coming out of the committee for environmental stewardship and care of creation. All three – A021, creating a Care of Creation loan program; D030, creating a Task Force on Creation Healing as Christian Ministry; and B002, creating eco-region networks – passed the House of Bishops.

A kairos moment is generally understood to be a moment where conditions are ideal to accomplish something critical; or, in Christian terms, a moment when the Holy Spirit is present and active.

California Bishop Marc Andrus underscored the crucial, historic moment The Episcopal Church is in while speaking in favor of the loan program. He reminded the House that the window to stop global warming from reaching 1.5ºC closes in 2030, so the church must act now.

This sense of urgency undergirded the debate for all three creation care resolutions, especially A021 and B002.

B002 would further enable the implementation of Resolution A087 passed in 2022 by the 80th General Convention that committed the church to carbon net neutrality by 2030, by creating a pilot program of “Eco-Region Creation Networks.” Three networks would link Episcopalians across dioceses and institutions as they implement nature-based solutions to climate change, focusing on the transformation of food systems, restoring and preserving native biodiversity and monitoring water quality and conserving supply.

A021’s loan program would provide needed funds for dioceses, congregations and other Episcopal institutions to work toward carbon net zero compliance by 2030.

The need to curb carbon emissions is a humanitarian concern, Andrus said. Fighting climate change is a matter of eco-justice, as it is vulnerable populations who suffer the most from negative environmental impacts.

Multiple bishops echoed Andrus’ sentiment. Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime shared an anecdote as an example. He lamented the inability of Athabascan communities to fish for king salmon due to a water temperature-induced population decline. He referred to the disappearance of the fish and thus the ancient practice of communal summer fishing as “cultural genocide.”

D030 would create a task force composed of wide-ranging voices – primarily Indigenous people and other people of color – who could speak to environmental justice and creation care concerns, said Connecticut Bishop Jeffrey Mello, speaking in favor of the resolution.

The task force would create pastoral and liturgical environmental stewardship, eco-justice and creation care resources, while also consulting with and educating church bodies on these issues.

The resolutions now pass to the House of Deputies for consideration.

–Logan Crews, a former Episcopal Church Ecojustice Fellow, is a seminarian at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale who serves on the student leadership team of the World Student Christian Federation-United States.