ESUMC Launches "Com­mit­ment to Creation Care"


Simone Viljoen provides a summary of the recent conversations about Creation Care.

On the last two Sundays in September 2023, the first Creation Care conversations took place after worship in the fellowship area. On 17 September, the questions to prompt discussion were vague and open to interpretation, intended to build a foundation for further reflection on the topics of climate change and Creation Care. Based on the results of the first conversation, the questions posed on Sunday 24 September were more action-oriented and intended to help develop a plan and steps that ESUMC can take to help our community care for God’s creation.

In total approximately 15 people participated in the conversations. The first conversation became emotional very quickly. While talking about climate change, or rather the climate crisis, there was a general feeling of frustration and anxiety. While speaking about Creation Care it was clear that it is something many of us feel overwhelmed with, yet there is a lot of interest and hope. There is urgency in carrying one’s weight and doing what one can to at least make one’s own contribution to the crisis as small as possible. The focus of the conversations quickly moved into an energized and excited problem-solving and idea-brainstorming direction which was embraced in the second session.

Climate Change?

Climate change is a natural process that has always existed. There are warm phases and cold phases. But according to scientific evidence, today we are experiencing a climate crisis. Humankind has disregarded the natural balance, and exploited and pushed nature to her limits. Human activity is leading to increased global temperatures, which is causing more frequent and extreme weather conditions. 

The climate crisis is not only an environmental disaster, but also a social disaster that leads to the suffering of many people. In some political quarters, blame is placed on individuals and the responsibility to “repair the environment” is put onto the shoulders of the citizens. The people are asked to save water, take public transport and be considerate of their consumption, while many large companies have yet to adapt their practices and take responsibility for caring for the environment. 

Creation Care?

Taking care of God’s creation is a direct command from God. In Genesis 1-2, we read that God considered God’s creation of the heavens and the earth to be good, and told humans to care for the creation. In Matthew 6, Jesus extols the glory of God’s creation. The United Methodist Book of Resolutions calls on us to “explore lifestyle changes to reduce our individual and congregational carbon footprints and negative impacts on our natural and social environments.”

In accordance with the Bible and the teachings and tradition of our church, humans are meant to take care of all of God’s creation. 

Why now?

It has become personal. We have felt the heat, seen the floods, and watched the fires. We know people who have lost their lives, their loved ones, or their livelihoods through the extreme and unpredictable weather events. We cannot pretend any longer that everything is going the way that God intended. Creation Care is all of our responsibility and we’ve been doing a bad job. 

What are we going to do about it?

Many of us are already conscious about the impact of our choices. We are already doing things to reduce our negative impact on the Earth. However, there is so much more that we could be doing, especially if we are conscious and purposeful about it.

Creation Care starts with us as individuals, but doesn’t stop there. We as a church can make a difference. We can adapt everyday habits and lifestyle choices that may feel daunting but with some guidance and determination can become easy and start to happen automatically. In order to incorporate Creation Care into our everyday lives as individuals but also as a church, ESUMC is developing a task force that will articulate our “Commitment to Creation Care.” This commitment will include an overall strategy for how we as a congregation will adapt our behavior. The strategy will provide guiding principles, a timeline for action, benchmarks for evaluating progress, and tips for being environmentally friendly at home and in the world around us. The strategy will be regularly updated to help us meet the emerging needs of our community.  

Some of the ideas that emerged out of our recent conversations, and which shall be further articulated in our Commitment, include: 

  • Guidelines for managing waste and non-reusable products.
  • Tips for buying sustainable products and making environmentally and socially ethical choices related to food, clothes, etc.
  • Tips for upcycling, repairing or donating items that are no longer needed.
  • Incorporating Creation Care in the Sunday worship services and Sunday School curriculums.
  • Encouraging people to share their knowledge and know-how with the community (eg. through workshops where one teaches others their skill).
  • Identifying and making the most of the space and resources that are available to us (eg. book exchange corner, green space, etc.).
  • Making the ESUMC Commitment to Creation Care a part of the official church guidelines, so that they are held up in all our ministries.

What’s next?

We keep going! The Commitment to Creation Care will be prepared by a group of volunteers and shared with the congregation in the coming months. If you are interested in being a part of this group, please contact the ESUMC Creation Care team at Thank you!


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