Overture to PCUSA General Assembly: THE TIME IS NOW TO “CHERISH CREATION, CUT CARBON, AND SPEAK UP”
The Church and our planet need your help. We need to get many more people involved in caring for creation to help counter climate change.
A top biblical teacher, an award-winning scientist, activists and pastors – all Presbyterians – worked together to create an overture that we hope local congregations’ sessions and presbyteries will consider sponsoring as an overture to our upcoming General Assembly. The goal is not only to have our Presbyterian national governing body approve this overture having seen many presbyteries supporting it, but to encourage discussions about climate change among local church leaders who can then overture their presbytery to discuss it and recommend it to the General Assembly. Our prayer is these conversations taking place throughout many churches and presbyteries will inspire more people to be educated and act more to counter climate change.
Different presbyteries have different ways of sending an overture to General Assembly. Some will consider it if several teaching elders (ministers) sponsor it. Other presbyteries want a church session to sponsor it. All have their unique timelines for considering an overture. The General Assembly requires overtures to be submitted by May 4, 2022 (see the online resource, Overture Submission Guide for the 225th General Assembly (2022). Talk to your pastor, Clerk of Session, Presbytery Stated Clerk, Presbytery Executive or Presbytery Moderator to understand your local process and ask for their help. If it seems unlikely there can be time found to discuss it in your church and presbytery by May 4, 2022, check the by-laws for what is required for a special meeting.
While many hours were spent by a diverse group of people on this overture (some editing meetings involved people in nine time zones, Washington state to Europe), feel free to change the overture so it speaks best in your context. Let us know if your presbytery supports the overture and if it was revised (we will share revisions for other presbyteries to concur). Our planet is literally in crisis (this overture includes a summary of the latest IPCC warnings) and the need to act is now, a very valid reason to make consideration of this overture a top priority in a regular or special meeting.
More and more people are concerned about climate change. Our churches can help educate and empower people to care for God’s creation. It can be a form of church growth as outsiders see churches truly trying to make a difference for everyone. The most recent results of the Yale Climate Change survey regarding attitudes about climate change report on “Six Americas” research from reported on January 12, 2022, that there are now more Americans who are alarmed about climate change than ever before. At 33%, this is the first time that the Alarmed group of those surveyed have outnumbered the other groups: Concerned (25%), Cautious (17%), Disengaged (5%), Doubtful (10%), and Dismissive (9%). Between 2017 and 2021, the Alarmed group percentage increased from 18% to 33%.
Please feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org for PEC members in your presbytery for local help, if you have any questions or if we can help in any way.
The challenges facing our planet can seem overwhelming; we as Christians are inspired to act not out of fear, but out of love for God, love for our neighbors (near and far geographically and future generations) and love for God’s creation entrusted to our care.
Thank you for your help and your care of God’s creation.