What a couple of years it has been!
Our congregations are wrestling not just the pandemic, but many other challenges to our mission and ministry. It may seem that climate change, environmental justice and energy costs are at the bottom of your agenda, even though energy – its cost and how it’s produced – is clearly a key to everything else on the list.
So to help, the NIC Board of Global Ministries will host a Renewable Energy Summit at Euclid Ave UMC, 405 S. Euclid Ave., Oak Park on Saturday, September 11.
It’s in response to our congregations’ needs, and also part of the general UMC emphases on global health – which is rooted in the health of the globe.
On Earth Day this year, April 22, eleven UMC general agencies pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The group said it was “called by our faith, informed by science and led by our relationship with impacted communities to respond urgently…we are embarking on a new course of action to match the urgency of the moment.” The “net-zero” goal means finding ways to produce less carbon dioxide, so that our work does not add to the carbon dioxide blanket trapping excessive heat in our atmosphere, and so mitigate climate change as much as possible.
“Caring for creation is a Biblical directive, God’s very first charge to humans in Genesis," says Harriett Jane Olson, United Methodist Women general secretary. “When we fail to care for creation, women, and children on the margins are most at risk in terms of their health and livelihoods.”
Rev. Jenny Phillips, senior technical advisor for environmental sustainability at Global Ministries, will share about what this effort will mean for our conference and our congregations. Jenny says, “We made this commitment as a first step in saying we are committed to making a plan and living into it…one thing that can be done immediately is better energy efficiency at many United Methodist churches. Going renewable will often free up money that can be used to grow missions. We need to dialogue, build, and share our long-term creation care efforts.”
The Renewable Energy Summit will be held Saturday, September 11 from 9 am to 2 pm. Besides the presentations and dialogue, there will be solar and geothermal tours, resource tables, and a lunch. Bishop John Hopkins will open the Summit.
To make a reservation go to the following link at umcnic.org/calendar/solar-summit. For questions email Richard Alton at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org, chair of the Northern Illinois Conference Eco-Sustainability Task Force.
Joining Rev. Phillips will be Jake Barnett from Wespath Benefits and Investments. Jake will explain Wespath's net-zero commitment work to encourage low carbon funds, regenerative agriculture, and circular economy investments.