by Magdalena I. García
Every time the fossil fuel divestment overture comes before the Florida Presbytery, it faces strong opposition. This year was no different.
For twenty years, as the Caring for Creation Enabler for the presbytery, I have worked with its churches and members on climate justice issues, writing columns, holding workshops, sharing information and giving presentations. Members of this presbytery have had plenty of exposure to climate change information as well as to the reasons why fossil fuel divestment is important.
Since 2014, they have concurred with the fossil fuel divestment overture three times, resoundingly rejected it once and each time many vociferously opposed it. What is going on that makes divestment so controversial?
Having worked for this overture for our denomination for seven years at our church, presbytery and General Assembly, I have witnessed repeatedly how the false narrative of the fossil fuel industry continues to sway the hearts and minds of good people. For those of you looking to pass the overture at your church and presbytery, you need to fully understand the fossil fuel industry’s arguments. These are their points that we heard this year at the Florida Presbytery meeting:
Unfortunately, at the Presbytery meeting we are given no opportunity to oppose these points. We present our recommendation and commissioners alternating pro and con respond. Then they vote. We do have some options, though to address these concerns. We can:
At the last meeting, three of us presented the overture, explaining what it is and why it is important for the denomination to categorically divest all its fossil fuel holdings. My church has divested its endowment, so we gave a status report on how it is doing financially and our minister spoke passionately about the theology and morality of divestment. Two weeks in advance we provided a question-and-answer handout to all commissioners in their meeting packet. I wrote several monthly columns on divestment leading up to the meeting and two sympathetic commissioners at the presbytery meeting agreed to speak up.
Unfortunately, the number of people opposing the overture at the microphone seemed unending. This was a surprise given how long this issue has been around and how much information has been available on divestment. And much to our surprise someone asked that the vote be by paper ballot. We were stunned and prepared ourselves to lose, but surprisingly the overture passed, by a single vote.
The strong opposition to divestment is puzzling, especially given that our area has been slammed by climate change. It is still recovering after being hit by monster Hurricane Michael in 2018 that was fueled by our abnormally warm Gulf of Mexico waters. It destroyed Mexico Beach. Ten of our churches were damaged as well as our beloved summer camp and conference center, Dogwood Acres. Our increasingly long 100 degrees F plus summers should also be a wake-up call, along with the NOAA maps showing which streets, houses and businesses can expect to be flooded with sea level rise in the next twenty to thirty years. Yet the opposition persists.
Supporting fossil fuel divestment is crucially important and worth all your time and effort. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam McVety is the Caring for Creation Enabler for Florida Presbytery.
One challenge of teaching Sunday School to middle-schoolers is keeping it relevant to their life and faith, but not getting so into their teenage world that we forget the gospel. I somewhat enjoy the challenge of finding scripture and Christian truths that speak to current events or current situations that come up: it keeps me on my toes.
When the September 20 Global Youth Climate Strike happened, I changed gears from the lesson book and decided focus on this messy greenhouse atmosphere my generation and elders are passing on to them. Too many kids their age were skipping school to get the world’s attention to do something. It felt like a disservice to the kids not to discuss it at church.
I solicited suggestions for Biblical truths and talking points from a PC(USA) Leaders Facebook group, Fossil Free PC(USA) group, and my own circles. I found some excellent advice and got a lesson plan together.
Two kids came: Sarah and Elizabeth. We prayed for one’s friend struggling with school, we prayed for thanks for the other’s success at a volleyball tournament the day before. We read Psalm 24 v1. We watched some videos about Greta Thunberg—who isn’t much older than these kids—speaking to Congress and the UN, pleading them to listen to the warnings of science and to act soon. We read from Genesis 1 about God creating people on the sixth day because he needed someone to take care of everything He created. Then we went outside, read from Genesis 2 about Adam (which translates from Hebrew as “red clay”) and we took a minute to hold some dirt, and blow into it like God breathed into it to make our ancestor. We pondered how we are connected to this earth, this soil, this Adamah.
I don’t know what kind of impact that made on the kids. Are they forever scarred by the doom and gloom of their peers’ prophetic warnings to the UN? Did I get too far off church doctrine to go play in the dirt and breathe on it? Did they get the message I tried to lay down that with our faith we have a connection to the Earth?
One mom told me later that her daughter liked breathing on the soil it and gave it thumbs up. The other girl, the following week was helping the other youth kids paint some scenes to represent God’s creation on a board for the church garden. They agreed to paint a sunset to show the beauty God makes. The girl from my Sunday school pointed west to the actual sunset behind the Peaks of Otter. It was a beautiful scene God painted for us that night. She pointed out which peaks were “Sharp top” and “round top.” She said she would just paint that. I was taken away of how she took me back to my connection to Earth that this scene in front of us in real life is exactly representative of God’s creation.
The kids teach me more than I teach them. The future leaders of America, and the world are pretty bright, and we will probably be ok. But for now can you help me pray for the condition of the earth we are leaving to these bright kids and the next generations? Can you cut back on waste, consumption and plastic use, can you help these kids to make a better world? They deserve it.
Alex Haney is a youth volunteer at Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, VA where he also works for a construction company as a solar panel installation project manager. He is active in the church’s various mission projects and is an alumni of both PCUSA’s YAV program (Boston 2013-14, Little Rock 14-15) and The EcoStewards Program (2016, 2017).
In January of 2019, almost one year ago, I was ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the PC(USA). Being ordained meant a lot of changes. It meant I could now serve in my first call in a small church in central Arkansas. It meant I was given the title Reverend. It meant I could preside over communion, perform baptisms, and officiate weddings. It also meant that I became a member of the Board of Pensions (BOP).
In the past year, as part of my terms of call, my church has paid around $13,000 to the BOP. This money covers my insurance, as well as my pension plan. But the money paid to the BOP for my pension does not simply sit in a bank account. It is invested. When we debate whether or not our denomination should hold investments in certain companies, I think many people in the pews don’t fully understand where the money from investments comes from, and what it is used for. That is money that our members give in tithes and offerings each week. It is from the part of the budget used to support their pastors so that we may be free to do the work we are called to do. The earnings from those investments will be what their pastors live off of once we retire.
We should care what those investments are being used for by the companies that we entrust our money to. We should care where our investment earnings are coming from.
Three years before I became a member of the BOP, I was drawn, somewhat unwillingly, into the debate over fossil fuel divestment. In 2016, I was assigned to the committee for Immigration and Environmental Issues as a seminary advisory delegate to General Assembly. I arrived in Portland completely overwhelmed by the complicated debate and with no idea how I was going to vote. What ultimately swayed me in favor of divestment was the testimonies of human rights abuses committed by the fossil fuel industry around the world. Companies that we invest in are using our money, the money our members give each week to further the work of the church, to harm people and creation. I was already outraged, but when I became a member of the BOP a year ago it became even more personal. How can I in good conscious let my church send that money to the BOP knowing where it was going? How can I someday use that money when I am retired knowing where it came from?
Shortly after beginning my call, I received information concerning enrollment in the Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) offered through Fidelity Investments. This is an optional savings plan that PC(USA) clergy can choose to invest in, in order to supplement their pension income after retirement. Of the thirteen different investment options offered by the RSP, I was surprised to discover that only two follow the PC(USA) guidelines for divestment. Those guidelines lay out which companies we do not invest in for ethical reasons related to either business practices or what they produce. But for those, like me, who want to avoid investment in the fossil fuel industry, there is another option. I was able to use the guide written by Fossil Free PC(USA) to successfully enroll my retirement savings in the Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund, ensuring a fossil fuel free portfolio.[i]
But this raised the question: if Fidelity Investments can offer a fossil fuel free investment option, shouldn’t the BOP have the same option? Recently I contacted the BOP to find out if it was in fact possible to divest my own pension from fossil fuels. First, I submitted a request for a list of companies which the BOP invests in, as well as which companies my own pension funds are invested in. I was told the information was in the mail. A week later I received a packet containing the Annual Review,[ii] which is available on the BOP website and contained none of the information I requested. I contacted them again, this time by phone, only to be told that such requests needed to go through the same email I had already contacted before. So, I sent another email, this time specifying that what I had received was not what I requested and reiterating my reasons for requesting that information. They would not send information concerning which companies the BOP invests in and informed me that there is only one investment portfolio and therefore individuals cannot divest their pensions.
The time that I spent trying to contact the BOP and being passed from person to person seems to have been in vain, but it also raises several important questions. First, why is the BOP opposed to letting members know which companies our money is invested in? As members, don’t we have a right to that information? And second, why is the BOP unable to create a fossil free portfolio? Fidelity Investments offers a fossil free option for the RSP, and the Presbyterian Foundation now has an option for churches and mid-councils through the New Covenant Trust Company.[iii] While the BOP continues to fight against divestment at GA alongside MRTI, the least they could do is offer a fossil free option to their members who want to ensure their money is not being used to do harm.
Rev. Ainsley Herrick is Pastor of Morrilton First Presbyterian Church in Morrilton Arkansas.
This fall, I had the opportunity to join the San Juan Presbytery in a new mission to establish a program for the stewardship of creation across all its churches. The event took place in Guacio, the only remaining Presbyterian camp in Puerto Rico. Adults became like children, remembering their younger camp years; young people became teachers reminding us of their need for a better future.
Together everyone shared memories of hurricane Maria, and the presbytery provided new means for its members to lead the way towards healing, preparedness, and building a new Green Puerto Rico. Two thirds of San Juan Presbytery were represented among the 25 participants.
What would an eco-reformation look like for Puerto Rico? We found ourselves guided by the history of the Reformation, the tragic events of hurricane Maria, the recent migration of almost a million Puerto Ricans, and the love for this land against all odds. A land full or grace, many described it as. In less than two years, its green stands out and perches on their wounds, providing support to hope and healing. Alongside our Christian faith, these became the tools to find answers during the weekend.
San Juan Presbytery has not been wasting time: in May 2019 they voted to establish a program to educate all their congregations about their responsibility to care for creation. This weekend meeting became the first of many to come. The effort began with the fun challenge of minimizing the event’s footprint; by encouraging us to carpool, following the program on our cell phones, instead of printing programs on paper, providing reusable bags, bottles and silverware to all participants, making everyone responsible for washing them and continuing to bring them to each meal. Our presence became an opportunity for the camp’s director to consider how else it could become a Green Presbyterian Camp.
And although we had several pastors among us, putting together Sunday’s service was a task for everyone. The base was Genesis 1, one of Scripture’s Creation stories. Every person joined a small group to reflect and later speak about one of the seven days of creation. My group’s day was the Sabbath, the last day when God rested from all that God had made. If God needs to rest, and let nature rest from its need to produce life, how much don’t we? We noticed Genesis emphasis on God’s rest, Exodus (20) emphasis on the people of God’s need to keep the Sabbath for the Lord; Leviticus (25) emphasis on the land, and all its creatures, to rest.
If we never allow the land to rest, it can never regenerate and continue providing life as it should. We found climate change, soil erosion, water pollution, extinction of species, all to be the result of our own struggle against the Sabbath, and God’s wisdom showing us how to rest, to allow the land and the animals to rest from our human demands, a much needed remedy to allow Earth flourish.
The Presbytery of San Juan is paving the way for a Sabbath in Puerto Rico. Their vulnerability before climate change is fueling their resolve to putting solar panels in their churches and schools, staying off the grid, connecting with sustainable farmers to start community gardens, advocating for a political system that could support sustainable living practices, speaking in favor of the Divestment overture that will be presented to the 2020 PCUSA General Assembly, requesting our denomination to have resources available in Spanish, and seeking to learn from other denominations, how they are also responding to climate change and Island’s environmental crisis.
May the promises of the rainbow continue inspiring and surround Puerto Rico with divine grace.
The Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo is GreenFaith's Director for Training and LatinoAmerica. Neddy is a Venezuelan-American and eco-theologian as well as a Presbyterian pastor. Neddy has taught eco-theology courses at theological seminaries in Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and the USA. Neddy is a member of the Presbyterian Hunger Program Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the Angelic Organic’s Learning Center in Northern Illinois.
I am excited about the news of Monmouth Presbytery’s passing of the overture to divest from fossil fuels! This is the first step toward bringing this grassroots effort back to our General Assembly—for the fourth time.
It is not insignificant that Monmouth is the fourth different presbytery to originate a fossil fuel divestment overture. It’s not the project of just one region. Fifty different presbyteries have affirmed at least one of this overture’s predecessors for the last three General Assemblies.
I celebrate Monmouth Presbytery as a child of that place. While life has moved me elsewhere, I grew up in that presbytery in coastal New Jersey. The precious and unique ecosystems I call home are affected by storms of increasing strength and irregularity, like Hurricane Sandy in 2012, as well as regular coastal flooding, invasive species, and other environmental calamity.
This is the fourth attempt at categorical divestment from the exploration, extraction, and production of fossil fuels in the PC(USA). The movement to divest from fossil fuels has included the participation of hundreds of institutions around the world: universities, congregations, governments, and other organizations. It has included several presbyteries and synods in our own denomination. Divestment from fossil fuels is an idea affirmed by individuals and organizations around the world, including members of frontline communities most affected by the climate crisis and environmental destruction that we are all collectively responsible for.
We are awaiting the good news of concurrence from several presbyteries, which will officially send the overture to divest to the 224th General Assembly in Baltimore next June. In the meantime, I’m grateful that people in Monmouth Presbytery affirmed divestment as a tool we as Presbyterian Christians can use in the effort to combat climate change—a complex crisis that affects not just the communities of the Jersey coast, or the community of PC(USA), but the entire planet.
Fossil Free PCUSA Steering Committee
In October of 2019, Montreat Conference Center hosted CoInspire, the second in a series of conferences addressing systemic racism in the church. Our first conference, DisGrace, lived in lament for the ways in which the sins of racism thwart individual people and institutions, infecting congregations and denominations with death-dealing dehumanization. CoInspire examineed ways that we, as members of Christ’s body, might co-inspire one another to liberate imagination for new ways of being, and examine ways we can conspire to eviscerate the racism within our churches. read more here....
Rev. Michael Moore, who attended with his wife, Denise, reflects on their experience:
The conference was at times pretty intense. Hearing so many stories of pain was intense. For me, sitting there and listening as a Privileged White Male was at times uncomfortable (as it should be).
By Rev. Christopher De La Cruz
How much longer do we have to wait?
With the existential crisis of climate change looming over our world, a global movement of over 1,000 institutions have made commitments (https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/commitments/) of over $11 trillion to divest funds from fossil fuel companies. Many major religious institutions have shown radical leadership, including the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the World Council of Churches. In fact religious institutions make up the largest share of those divesting. Mainstream institutions as diverse as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the University of Glasgow, New York City (yes, the government of one of the biggest cities in the world), and the country of Ireland have all committed to divestment.
But when Fossil Free PCUSA and representatives from 12 presbyteries - a group that has since then grown to at least 40 supporting presbyteries - called on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to join this worldwide moral movement to take a stand for God’s world and the future for our children, they were given a message.
Wait for the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) - for Presbyterians, there’s always a committee - to tell the fossil fuel companies to behave. We will sit down with them, we will have a seat at the table, and we will push them toward responsible behavior.
Well, after a directive at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) to establish standards to evaluate companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) issue, we now have the report card (https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/mrti-shares-first-round-of-general-assembly-environmental-compliance-scores/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Presbyterian+Church+USA+Weekly+News&utm_campaign=Presbyterian+Church+USA+Weekly+News+%7C+Sep+04-10+2019) for nine companies - energy companies Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy and automotive manufacturers Ford and General Motors.
So how is waiting for a seat at the table going?
Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy, scored the lowest tier of “Red,” meaning “overall, company may have poor record of shareholder engagement, poor record on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Company may or may not acknowledge importance of ESG issues.” Chevron and Exxon are in the next highest, “Orange.”
No company scored “Green,” the highest tier. And the only companies that scored the next highest, “Blue,” were the auto companies - that is, none of the energy companies.
“We’ve communicated in writing to all nine companies and have had conversations with a few about the first-year scoring,” Joseph Kinard, chair of MRTI, said. “The companies are appreciative of our transparency.”
That’s great they’re appreciative. Meanwhile, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that countries would have to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by around 2050 in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Basically, we have to be on a path to fall by about 45 percent by around 2030 to reverse the worse case scenarios. Even then, we are still looking at unsustainable migration, hurricanes, flooding, droughts, food shortages, unprecedented ecosystem disruption and animal extinction, and of course a level of human suffering that we have yet to see, and yet we have at least some control to act against.
How much longer do we have to wait?
“By the end of this campaign in 2023 we will have a clear idea which of these companies are moving towards a low-carbon future and which are not,” Rob Fohr, Director of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), said.
So, 2023 until we can have an idea? People dealing with so-called environmental issues - the vast majority of which affect humanity the most - are often labeled utopian and idealists. But is there anything less practical and more idealist than truly believing we have all this time to write letters to multinational corporations hoping they may someday budge without a major incentive?
If you want to talk about the world as it is, the best way to move fossil fuel companies is a real show of denominational force as part of a global mainstream movement that includes major world cities and multiple educational and religious institutions.
We have waited long enough. Our children have waited long enough. Rarely in life does the clearly moral answer and clearly practical answer align like this. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), divest funds from fossil fuels.
At this point, divesting from fossil fuel companies is not even an overly outlier or idealist position, judging from the $11 trillion - and counting - already committed. Frankly, we can’t claim the mantle of radical leadership as much as simply getting onboard a moving train. Of course, when it comes to a moral movement with our world in the balance, better late than never!
But not too late. Time is ticking.
Rev. Christopher De La Cruz is the Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens.
by Aida Haddad
July 30th was our last full day of programming in Puerto Rico. The next day, we departed to our homes across the United States. I was ready to spread the news of Puerto Rico’s gift for rapid organization in the face of climate disaster and, in more recent history, government corruption. However, I also had a strong desire to stay and listen more. Part of me wanted to sit with the Puerto Rican people through the approaching hurricane season; to be another set of hands capable of moving debris, distributing potable water, or setting up solar lamps. But, this delegation intended to sit, to learn, to ask how we could best repent as a church & as U.S. citizens complicit in the archipelago’s colonization, and to leave--sharing what we learned with our local communities. We were always meant to go home and share. I was never meant to stick around and ‘fix’ anything.
Before medical school, I attended seminary. I may have finished my M.Div., but my affinity towards the pastorate dissipated as I realized I did not possess the spiritual gift of sitting with grief. Of course, this is something I developed in my personal relationships anyhow. I ultimately decided to pivot towards a career that would, more times than not, allow me to fix problems from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. rather than grieve them.
Anyway, here is what our last day in San Juan included:
Our day began at Proyecto ENLACE and the Fideicomiso Caño Martín Peña--a cooperative endeavor between two non-profits in San Juan, ensuring the health and prosperity of the area’s vulnerable populations living along the Martín Peña canal. Proyecto ENLACE has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Martín Peña canal, thus protecting families along the canal from flooding; the Fideicomiso (or land trust) will prevent predatory land grabbing after the canal is restored. The canal is on a very desirable piece of land that the wealthy will attempt to gentrify as soon as its dredging controls flooding. We met with Estrella Santiago, a biologist and lawyer who serves as the environmental area manager, once we arrived at their headquarters.
Estrella began by telling us the history of the informal settlement which surrounds the Martín Peña canal and Hurricane María’s effect on this community. For context, Puerto Ricans moved to this area in the mid-20th century searching for employment after the United States abandoned rural sugar cane industry subsidies. Their descendants now call this place home. For Proyecto ENLACE and the Fideicomiso Caño Martín Peña, this is reason enough to restore the canal thus ensuring that home remains a home. And right now, home is threatened by pollution-driven flooding, capitalism, and climate change.
In the wake of Hurricane María, the families living along the canal--a flood zone--were wholly neglected by the municipality, the commonwealth, and the federal government for weeks. Estrella fought tears as she recounted reasons for fatalities in the area. Due to the lack of electricity and potable water, the community lost many elders who suffered from lung conditions, cancer, or being homebound. She mourned the total rejection of Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable populations in the wake of climate disaster.
We sat with Estrella as she continued to share. She told us the stories of round-the-clock work for weeks on end and the transformation of their headquarters to a storage facility for emergency supplies. Finally, Estrella confirmed the countless lives saved because of the organizations’ community development work beginning thirteen years before Hurricane María’s landfall.
Left with much to think about, some of us spent the afternoon wandering La Perla on the coast adjacent to Old San Juan. La Perla is a historic neighborhood that once contained a slaughterhouse alongside homes for slaves and non-white servants. As we walked its streets, we noted a juxtaposition of María’s destructive forces and gentrification (feigning resilience). Signs of humanitarian disaster and displacement overwhelmed the senses. Murals offered a space for lament, and visions of hope and justice for the future. As I let my mind wander, I could not help but think of what was lost in La Perla--lives, health, homes, or any sense of security--without groups like Proyecto ENLACE and the Fideicomiso to fill the first responder disparity and protect the neighborhood’s families from ensuing disaster capitalism… without Puerto Ricans caring for other Puerto Ricans.
Puerto Rico is filled with artists, biologists, social workers, physicians, laborers, geologists, organizers, theologians, clergy, and congregants--all of whom acted as first responders after María and whose stories we should have shared sooner than this delegation. I returned one week ago, and I have only just started crying when I remember Estrella’s tears and La Perla’s reality almost two years after Hurricane María made landfall. My reluctance toward sitting in grief with strangers was fast eroding as I researched Puerto Rico’s healthcare crisis before the delegation; the barrier was then completely dismantled as we sat in classrooms and churches across San Juan, learning from Puerto Rican first responders on where they think we need to take the conversation on relief, recovery, and resilience.
Our teachers never asked us to fix anything. Instead, we asked the experts questions--potentially giving a new perspective of their already comprehensive recovery efforts, but more likely reassuring them that they were not screaming futilities into a void. If anything, we attempted to convey that we see them, we aim to understand them, and we will carry their stories across time and geographies. As Michelle Muñiz-Vega shared in anticipation of the delegation, “It is our hope that delegation members better understand [the Puerto Rican] cultural context, therefore harnessing the ability to identify methods of advocacy around topics like our island environment, societal colonialism, etc. while also developing a direct connection with the leadership in el Presbiterio de San Juan. In short, this delegation will give us the platform to amplify the struggles of the Puerto Rican people, within and apart from climate change natural disasters.” With this commissioning, I will continue to openly grieve María and the hurricane season to come, from afar, by whatever means asked of me.
You are invited to take part in this commission, as well.
So, what does communion with our Puerto Rican siblings look like for you?
What will you do?
We woke up in Puerto Rico Sunday morning, and the bright sun kissed my face, and a gentle breeze wrapped me in its embrace. The church Sexton was unlocking the church and a Psalm came to mind-“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”.
Indeed, once the community was gathered for worship at Iglesias Presbyterians Rvdo. Ramón Olivo Robles en Monteflores, we sang “This is the day, This is the day”.
Earlier in the week we were most inspired by Dr. Lorna Jaramillo Nieves words on resilience, including her inventory of the social resources that Puerto Rico has for responding to disasters and other challenges. In the sermon that Pastora Arelis Cardona preached Sunday morning, we were challenged to build on a solid foundation and to build something that withstand the challenges of life.
To build implies a future- and indeed, Pastora Arelis told us to practice towards a goal- so I pondered the resources we have for building a future.
We have, first, a knowledge of our vulnerability. We know things will happen. We know we will make mistakes. We know the CHALLENGES are tremendous. We know we will need God’s mercy. Second, the Puerto Ricans (having endured a massive hurricane) now know their strengths. They’ve a new understanding of unity, an awareness of their capabilities, and s knowledge of what must be done. We who were privileged to see first hand the events of recent weeks (as well as the last two years) are also inventorying OUR strengths.
As people of faith, we know we have the presence of God, vulnerable with us, yearning with us, building a future with us. So we have HOPE.
We have our brothers and sisters in faith with us, even as we strive for a renewed earth, and wait for a new heaven. AND, we have this day. So let’s be glad, and let’s begin.
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