The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was among 16 interfaith leaders who recently gathered in New York City to discuss climate change and how clergy and congregations can get involved. The National Faith Leaders Climate Roundtable was convened by ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program, which works with religious and denominational leaders across a number of traditions, elevating climate change as a moral, religious and justice issue.
The group focused on the importance of expanding clergy awareness and capacity to engage congregations in climate education with plans to solidify a national faith and climate campaign early next year at the National Faith and Climate Forum in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve talked long enough. It’s now time for action. Every presbytery leader, pastor and church member needs to get involved. We don’t have the luxury of time anymore,” said Nelson. “I am encouraged by the time spent with clergy who share the same concerns for our environment. We must do more.”
Carol Devine, director of Blessed Tomorrow of ecoAmerica, says the roundtable recognizes that climate change requires participation at all levels, from within congregations and communities to denominations and interfaith collective action.
“The challenges for the faith community due to climate change are great, but so are the opportunities for us to live out our faith and our calling,” she said. “There are no people better to lead on this existential crisis than faith leaders. We understand that we are to pay particular attention and give particular care to poor, marginalized and oppressed communities.”
In addition to the PC(USA), the National Faith Leaders Climate Roundtable also includes representatives from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Islamic Society of North America, the Episcopal Church, Union for Reform Judaism and the United Church of Christ.