High school students sent a letter to the Caring for Creation Ready Bench of the Conference of Bishops asking that the Conference of Bishops requesting that a social message be authorized on the topic of climate system change. These students were part of the Gustavus Youth Academy for Faith, Science and Ethics at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The program now in its third year was titled “Faith and Science in a Changing Climate: Modeling a Just Response,” and attracted more than 70 students. Together they asked how they might best use their own gifts and talents to address climate change, how faith fits with their interests in math or science and lastly whether they are looking for a community that shares their concerns and interests.

Speakers included: Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; James Martin-Schramm, Professor of Religion at Luther College; and Rev. Dr. Roger Willer, Director for Theological Ethics, Office of the Presiding Bishop.

The students pointed out that 20 years had passed since the ELCA released a climate change related social statement, “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice.”

“…we believe that it is time for the church to reaffirm its stance on climate change and provide clarification on ethical action and scientific exploration in this time of crisis in a social message,” the students wrote.

They added that the Academy taught them and reminded them that Martin Luther and the other reformers recognized the need for a process of ‘continual reformation’ for the Christian church.

“Grace affirms us so that we may go forth and face the injustices in the world,” the youth reminded church leaders in the letter.

Susan Barreto
Susan Barreto

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.

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