by Connie N. Larkman, United Church News
CLEVELAND (08/28/2012) -- Eastertide. The 50 days from Easter to Pentecost. It's a time of renewal, rebirth, resurrection. And what better time for each of us to share in a resurrection witness for Planet Earth.
The United Church of Christ introduces "Mission 4/1 Earth: 50 Great Days," a new, all-church initiative that is about boldly living Jesus' let-your-light-shine proclamation in the Sermon on the Mount: "That they may see your good works!" It is an opportunity to live out our faith — in unity, as one church — for the sake of our fragile planet Earth.
"If we truly believe that creation is a gift from a benevolent and loving God, we need to act in gratitude, to care for that gift of life," said the Rev. Jim Deming, UCC minister for environmental justice.
Working for environmental justice is not new to us -- the UCC first embraced the cause almost 30 years ago and recognizes the opportunity for a shared mission campaign to live out our faith -- and our faith in Planet Earth. Mission 4/1 Earth is another simple way for each of us to show "faith, in —" (see related story on the "Faith, In Project"), to live our faith and to love our communities.
Mission 4/1 Earth invites us to green up, power down, and shout out for the environment. Beginning on Easter Monday 2013 (April 1), the UCC will begin its 50 Great Days of Mission 4/1 Earth, in hopes of reaching more than 1 million hours of engaged earth care, 100,000 tree plantings across the globe, and 100,000 advocacy letters written and sent on environmental concerns.
"Our goals are really, really big, and to reach and surpass them we are going to need every setting of the church to begin thinking creatively and planning outrageously as to how we will collectively invest 1 million hours in environmental-focused mission, service, worship, education, and advocacy together," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister for the UCC's Local Church Ministries.
"Our task is to develop an environmental consciousness much like prayer - prayer is not a single event, it's a way to live our lives," Deming stated. "When we develop an environmental consciousness, we live it every day."
Below is a preview of Mission 4/1 Earth: 50 Great Days. Or visit ucc.org/earth for more information.
As Deming said, "Caring for creation is not an adjustment, it's a transformation."
Remember: Green up, Power down, and Shout out for the environment!
Karen Methot is the Administrative Assistant for Justice and Witness Ministries, Stewardship, and Church Development.