The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has drafted a new social message on climate care in response to the ELCA Church Council’s authorization last November to develop the teaching document.
The ELCA Social Message on Earth’s Climate Crisis builds on previous social statements, particularly from Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice, drafted in the 1990s. The ELCA is asking for public input through a survey that is due back by Friday, Dec. 2.
The project is led by the ELCA Director for Theological Ethics Roger Willer. “”Social statements provide comprehensive address to the great social institutions or questions, while social messages focus on specific topics,” he said of the difference between a social statement and a social message and why climate care was a key concern.
“With this social message the ELCA provides facts, raises questions, draws on its 24 own social teaching, and identifies convictions that expansively address caretaking for climate. 25 At the heart of this social message lies the claim that climate change presents our generation 26 with a kairos moment; that is, a critical moment in time when decisive action is required,” the message reads.
Grounded in scripture, the document comes at a time when the ELCA at its Churchwide Assembly this past summer reaffirmed the commitment of the church to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, directing the churchwide organization to set a goal of a 50% reduction of net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, with a long range goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.