Theology is at the heart and soul of why we began the ministry of Caretakers. It is our faith in the God whose hands have formed all that exists that compels us to care for the earth. We are informed by science and are cognizant of the myriad environmental issues that are plaguing the planet, but it is our relationship with God that propels us to be in relationship with all else that God has made that motivates this ministry. We give special attention to our Biblical theology with scripture lists, questions for discussion that can be used in small group classes, theological quotes and reflections of individual Christians throughout history, and a resource list of books, DVD studies, etc. for use in local congregations. All of these resources can be found here.
United Methodist Theology
John Wesley was the founder of the United Methodist Church and not only had good wisdom regarding our stewardship of creation, but he was aware of environmental problems in his day as well and believed the church needed to a part of the solution. In "God's Renewed Creation" the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church make a connection between pandemic poverty and disease, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of violence and weapons. The Bishops challenge us to realize that until our theology embraces all three of these major areas collaboratively, we will not be effective stewards of God's creation. The problems our world faces are very complicated and complex. Good, appropriate solutions will require very deep thinking, contemplation, hard conversation with a diverse stakeholder community, and actions that truly embrace the common good. Our theology can educate, inform, and empower United Methodists all over the world to action for the healing of God's earth on behalf of our faith in Christ.
Social Principles on the Environment
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church, the denomination's policy-making body, has historically upheld a strong commitment to God's creation. Within the Social Principles of the United Methodist Book of Discipline are several statements guiding United Methodists in cultivating the creation God has gifted human kind. Below you will find several statements that are " call to all members of The United Methodist Church to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice" when it comes to the environment along with a paragraph citation so you find more context in the Book of Discipline.
The Book of Discipline calls United Methodists to be caretakers of God's Creation: (¶ 160 Preamble) All creation is the Lord's, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God's creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings. God has granted us stewardship of creation. We should meet these stewardship duties through acts of loving care and respect.
On Water, Air, Soil, Minerals, and Plants: (¶ 160 A) We support measures designed to maintain and restore natural ecosystems.
On Energy Resources Utilization: (¶ 160 B) ...We support and encourage social policies that are directed toward rational and restrained transformation of parts of the nonhuman world into energy for human usage and that deemphasize or eliminate energy-producing technologies that endanger the health, the safety, and even the existence of the present and future human and nonhuman creation.
On Global Climate Stewardship: (¶ 160 C) [We] support efforts of all governments to require mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and call on individuals, congregations, businesses, industries, and communities to reduce their emissions.
Caretakers of God's Creation is a grassroots community of United Methodists who believe that a relationship with God's creation and a ministry of caring for and healing the earth are integral to what it means to be a Christian. Both Christian scripture and Wesleyan theology are central to our belief that the earth belongs to God, not us, and we are given the responsibility to be good stewards of it. Our mission is to be a transformative Christian witness, helping others to know God as revealed through creation and motivating them to act on behalf of environmental wholeness and justice.
The United Methodist Church is a global church, at work in approximately 130 countries around the world with 8 million members. Given the global nature of the environmental problems the earth faces and the strength of our numbers, we have faith that we will make a significant difference in the world.
In order to accomplish our task, we will raise the level of theological understanding and its mandate for earth, we will encourage, by example, joyful stewardship through sustainable living, and we will advocate for public policy engagement on local, state, national, and international levels.
We partner with other Christian denominations, other faiths, and several inter-faith environmental organizations. It will take all of us working together to heal the planet, but because of our faith in Christ, we believe that all things are possible.
Caretakers of God's Creation is an independent grassroots nonprofit made up of United Methodists, but not officially a part of the United Methodist Church.