CHPC, Creation and Earth Care
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) welcomes the release of Pope Francis’ papal encyclical Laudato Sii
Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk, Office of the General Assembly
We celebrate the faithful witness and words of Pope Francis today as he encourages responsible, loving care for God’s creation in the release of his papal encyclical Laudato Sii. We affirm its echo of the great St. Francis’ reverence for nature. At the same time, we join the Pope in the urgency of truth-telling: we humans are largely responsible for global warming and we have to find ways to reverse track. The Pope is calling us all to environmental conversion: may we together find the immense moral and spiritual energy that the world powers have been lacking so far.
This is a great day to remember our call to protect the earth and to care for brothers and sisters around the world. Indeed we praise God for ongoing reminders of our human vocation as stewards of God’s good earth. We cannot separate the health of people from the health of the whole creation.
In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we are greatly concerned about environmental degradation. Climate disruption in particular is a threat to this and future generations and to God’s creation. In 2008, our General Assembly said,
With our Lord, we will stand with the “least of these” (Matt. 25:40) and advocate for the poor and oppressed in present and future generations who are often the victims of environmental injustice and who are least able to mitigate the impact of global warming that [is falling] disproportionately on them. … [W]e implore our nation to accept its moral responsibility to address global warming. (The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming, approved by the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Minutes, 2008, Part I p. 935)
Our Presbyterian policies witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every dimension of life, including our relationship as stewards of God’s earth. While admitting our own complicity, we are trying to find new ways of living and being. Presbyterian churches are engaging in efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, to preach and teach on creation care, and to increase their commitment to renewable energy. Meanwhile, our PC(USA) agencies are committed to additional sustainable practices such as energy efficiency loans and fossil-free investment vehicles. Our General Assembly has recognized the need for a complete and systemic energy shift for this nation and are convinced that we must achieve it at all levels—from individual homes and local communities to public policy at national and global levels.
Pope Francis’ leadership, wisdom, and pastoral care are evident in the encyclical, and we deeply appreciate this powerful, faith-filled encouragement for all people to join together to care for God’s creation. We affirm the moral conviction that we must turn from individual and corporate practices that harm the creation and participate in healing, protecting, and caring for the world. We will continue to work in partnerships with other faith communities and in the public sector as we all seek to better care for all people and all creation. Finally, we applaud the inspiring leadership of Pope Francis and look forward to seeing what transformative commitments will result from this ethical mandate to care for creation.
See article below for details.
Pope Speaks Out on Caring for God’s Creation
Rebecca Barnes, Associate for Environmental Ministries (PCUSA)
Pope Francis released his papal encyclical on the environment. It includes messages consistent with the moral mandate to care for God’s creation and the understanding that poverty, hunger and environmental degradation are interlocking issues that invoke our faithful action. He speaks clearly on the ethical responsibility to act in the face of climate change. Read the summary
or full text
Presbyterians General Assemblies have passed many environmental resolutions and statements on caring for God’s creation, acting on everything from water and land use to energy and climate change. Congregations, church institutions, and individual Presbyterians are committed to earth care as part of daily discipleship and embrace any opportunity to learn and to grow in faith.
We are grateful for Pope Francis’ leadership and wisdom and the encyclical, knowing it is a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the faith community to speak pastorally, and prophetically, on the moral basis for environmental and climate justice.
Meanwhile, be prepared to start seeing Twitter, Facebook, and all kinds of media outlets talking about faith and the environment, and join the conversation!
Do the Math — How Much Do YOU Affect the Climate?
In 2006 the General Assembly passed a resolution encouraging all Presbyterians to live carbon neutral lives. The resolution, “strongly urges all Presbyterians to immediately make a bold witness by aspiring to live carbon neutral lives.” But do you really know how much you personally impact your environment? It’s time you take a few minutes to “Do the math.” We’ll tell you how.
In a how-to-do-this guide Pam McVety, leader of the team that developed the resolution, simply explained what Presbyterians must do. She said carbon neutrality requires that we all reduce our releases of carbon dioxide by using energy more efficiently and by purchasing carbon offsets for the amount of energy we do consume.
Find out how much carbon dioxide you and your family produce from energy use by doing the math. And remember, this is only with regard to primary energy use and not to other impacts you have from other aspects of your life. So, first get out your gas and electric bills, figure out how many miles a year you drive your car and how many plane flights you take a year. Then, go to the EPA Climate Change – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator for Individuals at –
Then tell us, ‘What is YOUR carbon footprint’.
We’d like to take an average of our congregation and set a goal of reducing our collective carbon use WELL BELOW the national or regional average in our community.
to post your current emissions per household member and your future emissions based on our selected actions to save money and reduce your impact.
And find out more at –