FLUMC takes a major stand for creation careNext Generations
One of the major developments at the recently completed Annual Conference was that delegates overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for the Creation Care Task Force.
By 74%, they endorsed the Solar Sanctuaries Advocacy resolution, boldly encouraging United Methodist
Churches throughout the Florida Conference to transition to solar energy.
Cara Fleischer, FLUMC Creation Care Task Team Chair, put the resolution in biblical terms.
“Psalms 24:1 reminds us that ‘The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the world is his!’ In Florida, we are blessed with sunshine, beautiful beaches, lakes, springs, and vast biodiversity, but we live under the constant threat of devastating climate impacts," she said.
"Our state is ground zero for the sea-level rise that threatens to displace millions of us who live on the coast. Extreme weather events like catastrophic hurricanes, droughts, floods, and heatwaves cause suffering, homelessness, and even death. And the marginalized suffer the most -- including the poor, people of color, indigenous people, children, and the elderly – even though they contribute the least to the problem."
In April, Wespath, Global Ministries, United Methodist Men, and United Methodist Women were eleven UMC agencies that committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
They pledged this across ministries, facilities, operations, and investments to live into the biblical call to be good stewards of the earth and to care for the least of these.
The FLUMC Solar Sanctuaries Advocacy Resolution follows their lead by encouraging churches in our conference to advocate for solar energy.
United Methodist churches across the sunshine state can stand together, unified in our desire to make solar energy affordable and accessible to every church, saving money on utilities while protecting creation.
Creation Care Task Team member Elan Brown, who wrote the resolution, added: “We all have a moral and ethical responsibility to cultivate God’s good creation to bless the least of these among us. May we go forth in our biblical command to live humbly and justly upon God’s earth, using our voices to advocate for renewable energy solutions which bring life and not death to our neighbors, for all this belongs to God, the Divine Master Gardener.”
Rev. Andy Oliver of Allendale UMC in St. Petersburg also spoke in support of the resolution because his congregation has first-hand experience of the benefits of solar energy.
“Over the next twenty years, we will save $200,000-plus in energy costs. And perhaps the best part, about one in 10 new people who come to Allendale have said that they came to be a part of a church that takes care of the environment. Solar panels are evangelism…and brought new people closer to Christ.”
The resolution on page 199 of the FLUMC 2021 AC 2021 workbook calls churches to action and reads:
“We as people of faith, rooted in the Wesleyan tradition, will advocate for opportunities to make solar installation attainable and affordable for all to bring about a just transition to renewable energy to reduce the harms we have caused to God’s creation.
"Our moral responsibility, as stewards of creation, is not to remain silent, but to use our voices for the voiceless to expand access to clean, renewable solar power, and to advocate for a just transition to renewable energy at the local, state, federal, and global levels and that we will proactively advocate for our churches to become solar sanctuaries in the Florida UM Conference in to achieve carbon neutrality.”
For more information on solar sanctuaries and to join the FLUMC Creation Care Advocacy Committee, contact Cara Fleischer, FLUMC Creation Care Task Team Chair, at Cares4Creation@gmail.com
Eat. Pray. Grow. On Tuesday, June 22, there will be a special presentation on Zoom from 12-1 p.m. about the Solar Sanctuaries Advocacy Resolution. Rev. Andy Oliver will share how Allendale UMC saves money on utilities with solar and attracts new members.
Email Cares4Creation@gmail.com for a Zoom link.
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