Involving Young People in "God's Renewed Creation"
One of the most interesting projects that I've worked on during my time with Young People's Ministries has been being a part of the committee developing and implementing the Bishop's Pastoral Letter entitled God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action. The letter is a challenge by the bishops for members of the United Methodist Church to behave in ways that is sustain life for all of God's creations and to convince others to do the same. The letter was developed after months of speaking with people from around the world, including a number of young people, concerning how the Bishops of the United Methodist Church could lead its people in addressing three important issues affecting creation: pandemic poverty and disease, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of violence and weapons. The voices and passion of these people can be heard throughout the letter and speak with the bishops by urging action on these issues. Throughout the process of developing the letter, and continuing to the present day, I've been heartened by the lead that young people are already taking on the issues mentioned in the letter. I'd love to see even more congregations and young people take part in the challenge. Over at hopeandaction.org, we have a number of great resources to help young people become familiar with the letter, step up to the challenges addressed in it, implement it in a worship setting, and help the peers in their churches, schools, and groups to become more conscious of how our actions affect the world and its inhabitants. I hope that you can find use of some of the resources mentioned above to educate and challenge the young people you are in ministry with. The content of the letter does not lend itself to easy distillation into a quick blog post, so I encourage you to read it for yourself. I'll be posting more on these issues, and why I feel they are important for the church in general, and young people in specific, as I prepare a presentation on the letter for the Caring for Creation Conference at Lake Junaluska this Spring. Feel free to take a look at the documents and to share your own stories about these issues in the comments.