Justice & Mercy
- One of our team members, Nancy Flader, continues to take care of the garden areas around the church. Plants not only beautify our wonderful building but also help to sequester carbon. Nancy and several volunteers recently put in new native plants on the Northeast corner of the church. The July newsletter provides details about and pictures of those plantings. Be sure to check them out. Better yet, plan to take a walk around the East, South and West sides of the church to see all the landscaping that Nancy is responsible for.
- Lent is behind us for this year, but the team decided that it would be good to remind ourselves of some of the energy and resource conservation measures that were on the Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar and to list other suggestions that are especially relevant to the summer season.
To reduce water consumption, make sure that you are not overwatering your lawn. For most lawns a thorough watering once per week is adequate;
Reduce your energy consumption by turning up your thermostat to at least 78 degrees and plan to use fans to make the rooms feel cooler;
Learn where your food comes from and commit to buying as much from local sources such as food markets and/or through local crop share agreements as possible;
Make sure your vehicle is properly serviced and that the tires are properly inflated for maximum fuel efficiency; and Calculate your carbon footprint and take note of the activities that are the most carbon-intensive by using a fun tool found at https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator.
- One of the greatest contributions we can make toward reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases is to switch from gasoline-fueled vehicles to electric ones. If you are curious about how such a vehicle might meet your needs or would just like to drive one, LES is providing the opportunity to do just that on July 24. Check out the details at https://education.les.com/ride-drive/.
- The EPA is once again providing Americans with information about climate change. Its new website: https://www.epa.gov/climate-change and the links found on it provide a huge amount of information about nearly all aspects of this issue.
- Bill Gates has written a book entitled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” We recommend reading it. What is particularly informative about the book is that it not only describes the extent of the problem and some of the measures that we can take to address it, but also lays out clearly the current technological gaps necessary to deal with some of the most significant contributors to climate change. As with most anything addressing this subject, it proposes actions that are controversial. We had originally thought about arranging a book study on the book this summer, and that is still under consideration, but options are to have the book as one for the church’s non-fiction book group or perhaps have a study of it by the Paine Parlor class. If you have thoughts about that contact Jim Cook.
- A blog about plastic bags and the damage they cause can be seen at: https://blog.padi.com/2017/03/27/7-facts-plastic-gags-will-change-way-use/.
- An article about divestment in fossil fuels in the New Yorker magazine can be found at: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-powerful-new-financial-argument-for-fossil-fuel-divestment.
- Composting of food waste and other organic materials is another way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Lincoln’s website has several items of interest about composting including how to do it ourselves and what is available commercially in that regard. It can be easily accessed by going to: https://www.lincoln.ne.gov/Home and by searching for “compost.”
- Climate change has already affected the average annual number of days when the temperature hits 90 degrees or more at most locations around the globe. If you are curious about the extent to which that has happened in Lincoln or in your hometown since the year you were born, check out this easy-to-use tool: https://nyti.ms/2Vije8b. That article will also tell you how many greater than 90 degree days are projected for the future in that same location and at other places in the world.
- Decoding the Weather Machine – A documentary outlining what is happening scientifically to our planet because of the addition of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere and what options exist for reducing the increases in global warming.
- “Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman – A poem recited by National Youth Poet Laureate.
Mission and Ministry: Mercy
Advocating, Educating and Promoting a Healthy Life for all God’s people
Songs of Mercy and Justice Hymn Festival
Saint Paul Justice & Mercy Team FAQ
- Presence at the state capital for justice gatherings on topics such as immigration and racial injustice
- Representation on community partnership boards working for justice
- Speakers, classes and forums to educate on justice issues
- Preaching justice
- SP supports (financially and through participation) the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition yearly workshop.
- We have placed yard signs in member’s homes which address justice issues to let community know we are sharing God’s Love for all in acts of justice.
We have gained new members through our efforts at justice as people have seen our witness with PRIDE festival and our rainbow banners outside the church. Each have told stories of their previous exile from churches due to homophobic or shame-based theology. They have found new life and new connection to God through the welcoming of Saint Paul UMC.
- Saint Paul has undergone a new visioning process with the guidance of the Unstuck Church Group. One of the areas of our focus for growth is in Mercy and Justice. We have formed a strategic planning team which will be leading the congregation into greater justice-centered mission practices.
- We will begin with a foundation of deepening our own understanding of lovingkindness. All justice work must be grounded in love (open hearts).
- Next we will educate ourselves and the congregation around justice and the biblical mandate (open minds).
- Finally, we will go forward into the world beyond our doors to do acts of justice (open doors).
Our strategic planning team has identified three areas for our focus: racial justice, ecological justice, and health care. Each of these areas will be resourced and ministry teams will be formed to engage the congregation in love, education and action. We will schedule our efforts strategically by launching one at a time and building support before adding the next.