[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry kicked off Ecumenical Advocacy Days, the annual gathering of American Christian groups focused on pushing for social justice causes through political action, at a virtual worship service on April 18 in which he framed this year’s theme of climate justice as a fundamentally Christian mission.
Building on the event’s goal of uniting Christian denominations through shared values and goals, Curry talked about creation care in the context of John 3:16 – perhaps the most widely quoted Scripture passage across the Christian world.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only son,” Curry recited, noting that the Greek word used for “world” in that passage is “kosmos,” an expansive term encompassing all of creation.
“The work of helping to save God’s world is not a secular endeavor. It is the sacred work of God. For God so loved the world, and we who follow in the footsteps of Jesus are summoned to love as God loves.”
The online gathering, taking place April 18-21, focuses on informing and mobilizing Christians to push for real solutions to the climate crisis, specifically through an intersectional lens that acknowledges environmental racism – a topic that Anglicans and Episcopalians have long been engaged with.
“We continue to see how the historic reality of colonialism and structural racism has designed systems that live on today through environmental racism and a myriad of other injustices that grew out of the same evil roots,” organizers wrote. “Addressing the history of colonialism and structural racism is key to achieving climate justice.”
This year’s Ecumenical Advocacy Days includes over 30 workshops to educate attendees about the climate crisis and its origins and equip them to act, such as “Climate Change as a Driver of Forced Migration from Central America” and “Democratic Governance in Africa Will Improve the Health of Our Planet.”
The topic of climate-induced migration has been highlighted recently by The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations through the Episcopal Public Policy Network’s Creation Care Series. “Many of our biblical ancestors,” it notes, “were climate migrants.” The World Bank estimates that more than 8 million people have already had to leave areas particularly affected by the climate crisis.
Representatives of the Office of Government Relations, including Director Rebecca Linder Blachly and Church Relations Officer Alan Yarborough, convened a Zoom gathering of Episcopal attendees on April 19, the second day of the event. About 30 Episcopalians participated, learning about effective ways to lobby members of Congress and sharing what drives them toward advocacy and social justice work.
One important way Episcopalians can stay informed and learn how to take action for climate justice is to sign up for the Episcopal Public Policy Network alerts, which enable recipients to lend their voices to the advocacy campaigns that the Office of Government Relations is engaged in on Capitol Hill, guided by General Convention resolutions. The office’s creation care page also provides education about the specific climate-related issues that the church is focusing on and resources to educate others.
Registration is still open for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, which continues through April 21.
– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.