By Jesse Love
May 13, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore.
The General Conference Climate Vigil sent a powerful message to delegates and guests: now is the time for action, collaboration and prayer during a period of great change for earth’s climate.
Hundreds of guests arrived at the Oregon Convention Center Plaza to hear stories from those heavily impacted by climate change. An abundance of hand-decorated lanterns graced the venue – each containing personal prayers for the healing of the earth and spiritual understanding of our personal choices as stewards for God’s creation.
The Rev. Jenny Phillips, Minister for Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy, supported by the Pacific Northwest Conference and other partners, led the planning for the Climate Vigil. Partners including United Methodist Communications (UMCOM), the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), Fossil Free UMC, GreenFaith, and the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, helped to inspire attendees towards prayerful, positive change.
For more on the Climate Vigil at General Conference 2016, visit Channels on Facebook.
“I will admit that our leaders in their places of comfort and privilege have debated the science and statistics, perpetuating our polluting ways,” said the Rev. Dr. Susan Crowe, General Secretary of the GBCS. “I pray and trust that this General Conference will reaffirm our commitment to this holy work. It is through these relationships from the Philippines to the Congo, to the coalfields of West Virginia, that we understand deeply our call to care for creation – to act in personal, social and civil righteousness.”
Other speakers included April Mercado, Special Projects Manager for UMCOM in the Philippines, sharing the effects of Typhoon Haiyan as well as the Rev. Jeanelle Ablola sharing her experience as co-chair of the Philippine Solidarity Task Force, witnessing the impact of climate change’s connection with political injustice. The Rev. Kath Stone, Office of Environmental and Economic Justice (United Methodist Women) urged everyone to participate in events that nurture conversation about environmental impact.
A spirit of unity shone over the attendees of the Climate Vigil – many with different cultural and political beliefs – as everyone entered in prayer for our changing planet.
For more information on PNW Creation Care, visit pnwumc.org/creation-care
Special thanks to the Rev. Jenny Phillips.
Jesse N. Love serves as Graphic Designer and Print Manager for the Pacific Northwest Conference Office of Connectional Ministries.