Christians interested in environmental issues call the church to awareness, action.

An Amish proverb states, “We didn’t inherit the land from our fathers; we are borrowing it from our children.” In the spirit of this proverb, a group representing a small but growing Christian ecological movement met last month in Madison, Wisconsin, to discuss Christians’ responsibility to care for the environment.

The forum, called Reclaiming the Covenant, was sponsored by the North American Conference on Christianity and Ecology (NACCE) and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Fred Krueger, executive directer of NACCE, compared society’s regard for ecological issues today to its view of slavery 150 or so years ago.

“As long as slavery was discussed in economic terms,” said Krueger, “there was not much progress toward abolishing it. Abolition came after it reached the pulpits of this nation as a moral issue.” He added, “We need to see ecological issues in moral terms also, because most of the important forms of ecological healing are never going to be financially profitable.”

Calvin DeWitt, one of the conference organizers, said that interest in ecological issues has barely begun to take root among Christians in North America. “In the churches and Christian groups where I speak,” he said, “there is usally a handful of people who are practicing care for the Earth.”

DeWitt, a professor of ecology and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, said last month’s forum marked the first time on this continent that Christians have convened to address justice, peace, and the integrity (wholeness) of creation as inseparable concerns.

Many of ...

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