All that is created is good. It belongs to its Creator alone, and has worth in and of itself, without regard to its usefulness to humanity. We humans are likewise part of creation, and both as fellow creatures and as images of God we are called into relationship with all that is. God seeks the redemption not only of people, but of all the earth, and God’s love of the creation that sings its Creator’s praises ripples throughout the Bible in pastoral description, in metaphor, in song, in explicit covenant, and in the requirements of Jubilee.
Yet our relationship with creation, our unearned source of sustenance and wealth, is broken. There is no natural system on this planet that does not groan, is not degraded, because of human pressure. Fishery stocks are over-harvested; in the oceans, plastic enters food chains; species are disappearing at 1,000 times the natural rate; forests are cut down and desertification follows. The globe warms, and we reap the whirlwind.
In all these calamities, the poor and marginalized people of the earth—the least of these who are to be our special care—suffer disproportionately. Ecological systems and animals living within them are struggling to adapt. The biological and spiritual truth is, we are one, we breathing creatures. Our welfare is shared, and the human relationship to all is inherently a matter of justice.
We know that creation is good, and that it is in our care. We take actions such as recycling and reducing use of fossil fuels and water; we avoid factory-farmed meats; we give to organizations that work to preserve natural systems. We honor these individual and personal efforts, and yet we acknowledge that they are not enough, because earth’s systems are still failing.
Creation itself calls us now, urgently, to rededicate ourselves to covenant with it and with God for our mutual renewal. Therefore we, members of Hyattsville Mennonite Church, affirm the importance of working actively to protect and renew the earth—personally, together as a congregation, and collectively as citizens of the wealthiest, most wasteful nation on the planet. We recognize that this is one of the most profoundly important ministries of our time.
At Hyattsville Mennonite Church, we commit to making that ministry an integral part of our life together: in our preaching and worship; in our education, for children and adults; in the pastorate, the church council, and our committees; and in our personal lives, our prayers, and our civic engagement.
We covenant to keep this commitment in mind in such activities as:
- Making decisions about the building’s use and source of power;
- Sourcing the food we share;
- Learning about creation care and justice;
- Moving toward language inclusive of all creation when we speak of peace and justice, and the love of God;
- Engaging with movements such as Watershed Discipleship;
- Connecting formally with the wider religious community via Mennonite Creation Care Network, Interfaith Power and Light, and others;
- Communicating with our elected officials;
- Supporting civic actions and movements that move us toward sustainability, celebration of the natural world, and response to the call for renewal in worship; and, perhaps most of all,
- Encouraging one another in our daily lives and lifestyles.
We commit to reviewing our work together on this ministry annually, with the goal of evaluating its reality and revising it to help us move toward that day when, in God’s city, the leaves of the trees truly are for the healing of the nations, and the creation is restored.