Why Church Partnerships Matter for Creation Care

Why Church Partnerships Matter for Creation Care

Part of the mission of the Southern New England Conference is to encourage local congregations and varied ministry settings, inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, to form covenant partnerships with all who work for the common good in their local communities and throughout the world. As Earth Month (April) and Earth Sunday (April 23) approach, I want to particularly encourage congregations to consider how you’re partnering with neighbors near and far in your care for God’s Creation. 

Why do partnerships matter for Creation care and climate justice? 
  1. Partnerships allow each partner to do what they do best (there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit). Is your church great at bringing people together for fellowship and community? Do that! Is your church great at getting volunteers to show up? Do that! Is your church great at offering worship that inspires faith in action? Do that! Consider your congregation’s strengths and where you could use support. Are you unsure what effective legislative advocacy looks like? Are you hoping to participate in direct action, but unsure where to start? Would you like to learn more about how households and congregations can use their buildings and spending power to make change? Partnering with organizations that specialize in these topics (and so many more) will allow them to share their expertise and allow you to contribute meaningfully to an existing organization – so everyone can focus on their unique gifts and graces. 
  1. Sharing our resources allows us to do far more than what anyone could do apart (They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketsful of broken pieces that were left over). Working as a team increases the time that can go into planning a project, the pool of people who might show up for an event or action, and the amount of money available to fund it. Although working in partnership can take more coordination at the forefront, especially as you get to know another organization’s way of doing things, in the long run, it increases your impact.  
  1. Recognizing our interconnectedness is part of the spiritual work of climate justice (Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself). Working in partnership raises the possibility that someone else’s needs, ideas, and priorities become central for us too. Although shifting to consider the needs of another organization or community can be an adjustment, it helps us practice honoring the needs of communities we may not see, but which are deeply affected by the realities of the climate crisis. 
A few things to consider in forming a new partnership – keeping in mind that there are no right answers, only what will best serve each potential partner’s mission!  
  • What is the mission and purpose of your congregation (or relevant ministry team)? What is the mission and purpose of the group you’re considering partnering with? 
  • What are the primary communities served by the group you’re considering partnering with, and how does this compare to the community of your congregation? What challenges can you foresee with these communities working together? What benefits? 
  • What kind of relationship or history do you have with the group you’re considering partnering with? 
  • Are you looking to partner for a specific program/event, or are you interested in something more open-ended? 
  • What does your congregation expect of its partners? What does the group you’re considering partnering with expect of you?  
The focus of the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team for 2023 and 2024 is encouraging local churches to engage in partnerships that strengthen environmental ministries, including (1) among local UCC churches and other houses of worship and (2) between churches and local environmental and climate justice groups. Is your congregation involved in a great partnership that strengthens your environmental ministries?
Do you have ideas about what would help your church connect with partners whose mission aligns with yours? Let us know!


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Noah Brewer-Wallin

Noah serves as the Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Southern New England Conference. Noah supports congregations in making God’s love real through engagement in environmental and economic justice. Contact them for: ...

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