When Pfeiffer University students recently were asked what issues they see that concern churches, a frequent response was “the environment.”
This week, Pfeiffer will host a five-hour seminar on big and small ways congregations can make a difference in global environmental concerns.
The workshop, “Care for Creation and Greening of Church Communities,” will be led by Pfeiffer associate professor Laura Stivers. She teaches ethics and philosophy and has a passion for environmental issues.
Stivers edited the book “Justice in the Global Economy: Strategies for Home, Community, and World,” which discusses practical ways to live responsibly as a U.S. citizen in a global world.
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Kathleen Kilbourne, director of Pfeiffer's M.A. of Christian Education program, said the workshop will show people practical ways they can affect the environment with their own lives and also will address the “bigger picture.”
Stivers will begin the workshop by outlining how the Bible, tradition and theological writings inform and inspire care for God's creation and ways congregations can become more “green.”
Kilbourne said she learned at a recent conference that while small changes such as recycling and using energy-efficient light bulbs are good, some leaders believe the church needs to take on a greater role as an “agent of change.”
“We were given a commandment to take care of God's creation,” Kilbourne said. “I think (the church) really has to go back and claim our role as agents of social justice, not only in how we care for each other, but how we care for the world.”
Stivers will discuss options for how congregations and individuals can advocate for environmental issues and promote large-scale environmental change.
She'll also teach Christian educators how to introduce information about environmental issues and how to make changes to congregations.
Kilbourne said the seminar is open to anyone in the community, and churches are encouraged to send groups.