RESPONSE: OCTOBER 2017 ISSUE

Caretakers of God’s Creation and the Peoples Climate March

Caretakers of God’s Creation and the Peoples Climate March
Shanae Als

Earth keepers from around the country gathered at the United Methodist Caretakers of God’s Creation Conference in Arlington, Virginia, to continue a faith-based approach to climate justice reform through workshops, speakers and fellowship. Inviting all to bring the earthly elements of soil and water from our respective homes, each participant was able to experience the size and interconnectedness of God’s Garden.

The Rev. Chebon Kernell with members of a local Native Americans tribe created an atmosphere of spirituality and legacy, reflecting on the plight of his ancestors and those standing tall and strong protecting Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

One of the workshops I attended was led by the Rev. Pat Watkins, Global Ministries’ missionary for Caretakers of God’s Creation and editor of United Methodist Women’s mission study Climate Justice. In the workshop we focused on the value of God’s creation, earth, created before even Adam and Eve. Throughout the session I pondered if I was a good shepherd and came to the conclusion that I needed to do more, not just for myself but for future children and grandchildren.

Another workshop expanded on the Rev. Jenny Phillip’s push for The United Methodist Church to divest from stock, bonds and investments that support the fossil fuel industry. After this presentation, I was elated to know that my home conference, New York, had passed a resolution to align our faith with action and the future.

The conference also helped participants prepare for the People’s Climate March, which was held on the 100th day of the current presidential administration. The temperature peaked at 91 degrees. It was so hot and humid that the letters on my United Methodist Women drawstring bag disappeared along the journey! Nonetheless, the organizers made sure the needs of all the participants were met with water stations, rest places and adequate restroom facilities. Over 200 United Methodists joined people from different faiths from all around the country marching 20 blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue. I was happy to march with my fellow United Methodists!

All in all, I have found that climate justice has a more amplified purpose when it is rooted in faith and goes way beyond just not using Styrofoam. Climate justice is simply part of following God’s Word and therefore should be the way of life!


Shanae Als is a member of United Methodist Women’s Program Advisory Group from the New York Conference.

Posted or updated: 10/9/2017 12:00:00 AM
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