A new national network reflecting what organizers term a growing sense of call to creation care and eco-justice among the American Baptist Churches USA held an inaugural meeting Sept. 22-23 in Sherborn, Mass.
The ABC Creation Justice Network, envisioned in a workshop at the 2015 ABC/USA biennial Mission Summit in Overland Park, Kan., plans to support local congregations to work locally addressing concerns over climate change and other environmental injustices that disproportionally affect the poor and vulnerable communities.
Network co-coordinator Tom Carr said almost 50 years ago American Baptists were on the leading edge of the movement among religious communities promoting ecological stewardship and human justice that came to be known as “eco-justice.”
“Individuals and American Baptist congregations around the country have continued their commitments to or initiated this vital work in our time when people and Earth are crying out for justice, healing and renewal,” Carr, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Suffield, Conn., told American Baptist News Service. “The American Baptist Creation Justice Network is a way to inspire, resource and connect American Baptist congregations in a common ministry on behalf of all of God’s creation.”
The network plans to develop and recommend resources for use in worship, Sunday school classes and retreat settings to help cultivate spiritualities of care for creation, support sustainable lifestyle convictions and integrate justice concerns for ecology, race and economy into American Baptist life, according to the news release.
“Through our network, we will share our stories, inspire and teach one another, and find ways to work together and partner with others to achieve even greater impacts for creation justice on state, national and international levels,” the group announced.
Carr and fellow co-coordinator Ian Mevorach plan to lead a small group Bible study on creation justice at the November 2016 Board of General Ministries meetings to be held in King of Prussia, Pa.
Mevorach, co-founder of Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, Mass., was one of 16 interfaith clergy arrested in May for civil disobedience for using their bodies to block construction of a controversial natural gas pipeline in West Roxbury, Mass.
Members of the network’s steering committee include Stacey Simpson Duke, onetime pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church of Edison, Ga., affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who now serves with her husband, Paul, as co-pastors of First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, Mich., and campus ministers at the University of Michigan.