-by the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, ELCA Advocacy Director
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.
ELW 632, stanza 1
In mid-2018, the ELCA Advocacy team decided to focus the 2019 ELCA Advocacy Convening, an advocacy gathering for bishops and key community and ELCA leaders, on disasters intensified by climate change. We knew then that this topic required our urgent advocacy. Since then, millions more have suffered in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, wildfires in California, Cyclone Idai in southeast Africa and widespread flooding in the U.S. heartland. The earth is groaning as our warming climate intensifies drought, floods, wildfires and sea level rise, each in turn accelerating hunger, conflict, migration and the well-being of every inhabitant of our planet.
In response to such massive suffering, we turn to God, our help, asking for deliverance for those in harm’s way. We lament that climate impacts are visited first and most disproportionately on those who have done the least to cause them. We confess that relief and recovery for survivors of natural disasters is not justly distributed, reflecting and reinforcing the gender and racial inequities woven into our social fabric.
Faith community leadership is required in the small window of time our world has to pull back from the worst climate impacts. Solving the climate crisis requires us to reimagine our relationships to creation and one another. This includes our actions to repudiate the doctrine of discovery and denounce the colonization of creation that feeds our endless consumption. It demands a spiritual awakening toward new and more lifegiving ways of relating to the created world and one another.
Our church’s commitment to persistent and resolute action on behalf of creation and our neighbor is deepening. We learn from one another’s experience and expertise in climate and disaster response, practice leading climate conversations and communal discernment across the fault lines in our nation, and call our leaders to act. We are engaged in a sustained effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensure a just transition from fossil fuels in our communities, and address loss, damage and the wellbeing of survivors of natural disasters.
Your voice and presence are urgently needed. We place our trust and confidence in the God who formed us, breathed life into our world and sustains us now and always.
Before the hills in order stood or earth received its frame,
From everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.
ELW 632, stanza 3