On January 21, during the 196th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the delegation resolved to receive with thanks the “Teaching of the House of Bishops on Environment” issued from their meeting in Quito, Ecuador in September 2011. The delegation strongly recommended that all clergy and congregants in the Diocese, “read, mark and inwardly digest” its contents and heed its suggestions.
Embedded within the Pastoral Teaching, the Bishops state clearly and powerfully the causes for their concerns:
“Science confirms what we already know: Our human footprint is changing the face of the earth and because we come from earth, it is changing us too. We are engaged in the process of destroying our very being. One of the most dangerous and daunting challenges we face is global climate change. This is, at least in part, a direct result of our burning of fossil fuels. Rising average temperatures are already wreaking environmental havoc, and if unchecked, portend devastating consequences for every aspect of life on earth.“
The Rev. Thomas Droppers, Leader for the Chartered Committee on Environmental Ministry, provided this explanation for the need for action of the Episcopal community of faith:
“The House of Bishop’s issuance of a teaching on the environment speaks to their concern for the future of the planet and their belief that people of faith have a responsibility to study the issues and to respond in any way possible to heal the earth. The Bishops have set forth specific ways in which churches and individuals can make a difference, and this resolution supports their call to all of us to respond to what they have designated a crisis.”
The Environmental Ministry Committee for the Diocese also called for all congregations to report back to the Convention next year on the progress they have made.
Dr. Carl Sigel, Chair of NC IPL Steering Committee urges everyone to read, study and act upon the Bishop’s Pastoral Teaching, saying, “At a time when powerful forces in government, business, and the media divert our attention from an environmental crisis that threatens human civilization and all life on Earth as we know it, as people of faith, we need to be mindful of and thankful for our religious leaders, who look to both faith and science to develop a worldview based on reality and provide clear guideposts for us to take action.”
–Kathy Shea and Susannah Tuttle, NC IPL Co-Directors