• Environmental Ministry and Justice Fall Update

    “You have been born on the hinge of history.

    —The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, climate activist and public theologian

     

    “The earth is what we all have in common.”

    —Wendell Berry, poet and author

    On a warm, sunny day on February 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 9:47am.   As a hundred thousand spectators and millions more on television watched, his powerful rocket hurled into space later separating from the bell-shaped capsule, Friendship Seven, which entered Earth’s orbit at about 17, 500 miles per hour Moments later and in awe of the stunning view of the earth below, Glenn radioed back, “Capsule is turning around.  Oh, that view is tremendous.”

    As people of faith, informed and shaped by scientific investigation and wonder, scripture directs our attention to the sacredness of God’s good creation.  Like the astronaut, John Glenn, traveling high in the heavens, we marvel at the sheer beauty and majesty of our planetary home.   Yet scripture also squarely places God as Sovereign, when it states, “God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.”

    “You and I have been born on the hinge of history.”  This is a heady reality and profound challenge.  Consider, that there is no longer a debate about whether or not global warming exists.    Nor is there a debate as to its cause.    Just as science and technology affords us the means for space exploration – through these same avenues – we can unequivocally state that climate change is not only real, but accelerating.

    How then do Christians appropriate a resurrection faith in the face of this daunting challenge?    Or is this even possible?     But suppose the answer is not a tepid maybe, or mere optimism, but a resounding and deeply affirmative, “YES!”   That quality of “YES” that summons us as God’s people to cultivate collective courage and the necessary hope for a just and sustainable future.    

    To harness our collective power as God’s people, will you join us in continuing to build upon what First Congregational Church of Winchester has already accomplished?    Only this past May, our Lead Pastor set forth a bold Five-Year Strategic Plan during his State of the Communion address, challenging us to live sustainably in our beautiful church building while joining with the Town of Winchester to be carbon neutral by 2050.   Having been recognized as a Level One Green Church as of June 2018, we have not only joined other Green churches in our conference – but through Rev. Burhans’ strategic vision – we are marshalling our congregation and resources to safeguard current and future generations.

    Aside from the work we’ve committed to in terms of lowering our carbon footprint and utility cost through energy efficient lighting, recycling, education, and reshaping how we perceive and worship in and through God’s beloved creation, the Green Congregation Challenge beckons towards completing the Level Two commitment along with other Green Churches.   Once completed, we can continue in earnest towards Level Three and its promise of utilizing solar power to drastically reduce cost (given our sizable electric and heating bills) while moving decisively towards becoming carbon neutral.

    In particular and acknowledging our ethical and moral mandate to be a Green Church and Congregation, the FCC website is being expanded to include content dedicated to Environmental Ministry and Justice.   For this, we need your thoughts and ideas:

    1. For instance, what concerns do you hold for our schools, local community, state, nation and world, environmentally speaking?   Are you concerned about the impact upon your families, and in particular your children and grandchildren?
    2. Along this same vein, what ideas would you like to share – as a way of helping our church and wider congregation live into its promise?    
    3. In particular, what do you see as the biggest hurdle facing us as a people of faith – in keeping hope alive in the face of these challenges?   

    Following worship on Sunday, September 29, a brief introductory meeting will be held to listen to your thoughts and ideas – as we move forward in designing and incorporating the content for FCC’s new Environmental Ministry and Justice webpage. Location to be announced.    

    Come and be a part of the solution!

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