Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Hope is the word of the day

It has been a long and busy past three days at the annual conference of the church where I hold my membership (the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church). It has been a very good experience though, especially because a number of my clergy friends have given me a special gift this week through the conversations we've had together. Hope is the gift. Yes, I am feeling very hopeful about the church's response to some of the major environmental challenges we face as a human species at this time.

One challenge is the disconnect that many people experience from the natural world and its natural processes.

Another challenge is the need for increased environmental efficiency and sustainability measures to be adopted by organizations (like the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church).

A third challenge is the need for spiritual leaders to celebrate connections between the faith that we profess and the important conservation and preservation work that we have to do for the sake of all that has life on this good earth.

Here are some of my friends whose ongoing work I am so encouraged by:

*In a post from two days ago I spoke of the beginning work of the Susquehanna Conference Creation Care Team.

*My friend Beth is leading a ministry called Deep Green Journey through which she is working to connect people with God through nature.
Check out her website here:

*My friend Chris is preparing to lead a series of hikes along trails in Centre county, PA. His ministry called Centre Spirituality in Nature is focused on "seeking to find a deeper understanding of how we are called to be caretakers of God’s creation, and to learn more about God and ourselves along the way." Check out Chris's Facebook Page by following this link: CentreSpiritualityInNature
If you live in central PA please consider joining one of his events. I know Chris well enough to be able to say this; you'll be glad you did!

*My friend Taylor is a kind young woman who is preparing to begin her first appointment at a local church. She is also working on a degree at Methodist Theological School in Ohio with a focus on Eco-theology.

I've always found the intersection between theology and ecology to be of special interest. My personal thoughts are that an understanding of the interplay between these disciplines is of critical significance in the life of the church. To hear that this is an actual course of study (and not treated as two unrelated topics) fills me with so much hope because the possibilities for the church to be a leader in the larger environmental movement of today are so great! With God all things are possible!

Taylor, may God continue to bless you with wisdom and courage as you take your next steps in your studies as well as in pastoral ministry. May God grant you inner strength by the presence of God's Spirit living in you. And may you be empowered to partner with God and others to fulfill the big dreams that God will place upon your heart.

My prayer is that we all may be empowered with inner strength by the Spirit of God living in us. Together let us resolve to live into community with all that has life, opening our hearts to trust in God who is the transformer of hearts, and to partner with God and each other in every next step of the journey. 

We are better together.

God is depending on us. Our neighbors are depending on us. All that has life is depending on us. 

What a weighty and joyful duty it is to live into community with God, with others, and with all that has life. Amen.

(Me and Taylor at Annual Conference 2019)

(Me and Chris at Annual Conference 2019)

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