Protect God's Creation: Grass-Roots Coalition Raises Awareness About Environment
For years the Rev. Denny Hook and his wife, Carolyn, have recycled, conserved water and electricity and carefully planned their car trips.
"Nothing we do is more important or more urgent than being faithful stewards of God's creation," declares the Oklahoma Conference district superintendent.
"Protecting and preserving God's creation is a spiritual issue. It's a matter of survival for humankind," says Hook, who frequently quotes the Social Principles: "All creation is the Lord's and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it" ("The Natural World," Par. 160).
At each of the 40 charge conferences Hook conducts in churches of his district each fall, he urges congregations to respect God's creation and use it wisely.
Hook organized the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition, a grass-roots collection of people and congregations with a mission "to raise awareness of and act on behalf of God's creation."
One function of the coalition is to exchange information about ways congregations practice good stewardship.
The coalition also plans to present a resolution at the 2004 Oklahoma Annual Conference calling for United Methodist churches and institutions to use renewable sources of energy such as wind power for all of their facilities by no later than June of 2009.
The group will also sponsor an environmental retreat in October 2004 at an Oklahoma Conference camp, which will feature an environmental study at the two-day event, which is open to everyone.
Hook acknowledges that environmental problems seem overwhelming, but he insists faith communities can help ease them. "We must identify and proclaim the spiritual and ethical dimensions of environmental problems and help see that every little bit we do makes a difference," he says.
Hook invites anyone interested in starting an environmental coalition to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org ; or call (405) 372-0624.
—Boyce Bowden is communications director for the Oklahoma Conference.
For more on environmental stewardship, see the 2000 Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, pps. 88-95.
For worship resources, see "Life-giving Breath of God: Protecting the Sacred Gift of Air," Christian Social Action, January-February 2004, pp. 16-17; or call John Hill, program director for economic and environmental justice, General Board of Church and Society, (202) 488-5654; or go to www.umc-gbcs.org