Seventh Day: Conserving Energy in Our Houses of Worship & Homes

Faith Calls to Care for Creation and Conserve Energy

From the African Methodist Episcopalians to the Wesleyans, people of faith are called to care for creation and conserve energy. Here are excerpts from twenty-four of these calls with links to the full versions. 

African Methodist Episcopal

Jesus commands us to “love one another” John 13:34, and God has given us responsibility to care for His good creation (Gen. 1:28, Gen. 2:15). The burning of fossil fuels is polluting our air and waters, warming the planet and putting our seasons out of balance, with low income communities, communities of color, the children, elderly, and our faithful in the Caribbean, Africa and in rural communities bearing the greatest burden.

The AME Church stands together with other faiths who are calling for urgent action on climate change on behalf of the world’s poor and God’s creation. We commit to take action and promote solutions that will help make our families and communities healthier and stronger so we and our children can live our best lives. African Methodist Episcopal Church

American Baptist 

Therefore, based on our faith in the Creator God who makes us a part of a unified creation, the General Board of the American Baptist Churches USA, calls on national boards, regions, American Baptist institutions, congregations and individuals to… Join in global, local and personal efforts to safeguard the world's atmospheric integrity and quality by: 1. Building and renovating our homes and church facilities to be energy efficient and beginning programs of energy conservation and awareness... General Board of the American Baptist Churches USA 

Black Church

As leaders in the Black Church, we view climate change as a moral issue and one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, particularly for black and other marginalized communities…We value responsible stewardship that provides healthy neighborhoods and connects people to jobs that promote vitality and economic security… We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind. Black Church Climate Statement

Catholic

Grateful for the gift of creation . . . we invite Catholics and men and women of good will in every walk of life to consider with us the moral issues raised by the environmental crisis. . . . As individuals, as institutions, as a people, we need a change of heart to preserve and protect the planet for our children and for generations yet unborn. Each of us should carefully consider our choices and lifestyles…  Even though energy resources literally fuel our economy and provide a good quality of life, we need to ask about ways we can conserve energy, prevent pollution, and live more simply. A Statement of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Church of the Brethren

As members of the Church of the Brethren, we are encouraged to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; to build and renovate our homes, church facilities, and camp structures to be energy efficient; to initiate new programs of energy conservation and awareness; to use public transportation, carpooling, and teleconferencing to reduce fossil fuel consumption; to become ecologically aware by using diets and products that consume less energy in production, transportation, packaging, and use; to separate and recycle household goods and to reduce waste and toxic materials. Church of the Brethren General Board

Christian (Disciples of Christ)

In a world of finite resources, for all to have enough requires that those among us who have more than enough will need to address our patterns of acquisition and consumption… As a member of the human family and a follower of Jesus Christ, I hereby covenant that:

I will change my lifestyle to reduce my contribution to pollution
I will support recycling efforts
I will search for sustainable lifestyles…             Disciples of Christ Alverna Covenant

Episcopal

Resolved, That every baptized Christian be encouraged to practice simple energy and water conservation techniques so that, by working together, we may restore the beauty of God’s creation and ensure that this resource may again be available to all God’s children in abundance. General Convention of the Episcopal Church  

Evangelical Protestant

We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part. We are not the owners of creation, but its stewards, summoned by God to "watch over and care for it" (Gen. 2:15). This implies the principle of sustainability: our uses of the Earth must be designed to conserve and renew the Earth rather than to deplete or destroy it....

People have long adapted their life habits and systems to the energy that is available to them. The challenge for us is to make changes voluntarily, for the sake of the poor and for the sake of God’s creation, before they are forced on us by world events. We can do this with some of the following changes:

Live more simply. Most Americans can make lifestyle changes that will reduce their energy requirements. We can learn godliness with contentment and avoid being enslaved to materialism (see 1 Timothy 6:6-9).

Use energy more efficiently. Most of us waste a significant portion of the energy we consume. We could enjoy many comforts while using less energy. Churches should lead the way in energy efficiency, and many of them are beginning to do so! Our houses of worship should be models of good stewardship. National Association of Evangelicals  

Jewish

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life calls upon members of the Jewish community, and all other Americans, to institute energy efficiency technologies and practices into private homes and communal facilities and to consider the environment and public health effects of economic decisions, including the purchase of vehicles and appliances and the choice of energy companies.

Together, humankind has a solemn obligation to do whatever we can both to prevent harm to current and future generations and to preserve the integrity of the creation with which we have been entrusted.  Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and Jewish Council on Public Affairs 

Lutheran

The principle of sustainability means providing an acceptable quality of life for present generations without compromising that of future generations…The principle of sustainability… summons each of us, in every aspect of our lives, to behave in ways that are consistent with the long-term sustainability of our planet.

As individual Christians… We challenge ourselves… (to reduce our) burden on the earth's bounty by producing ten percent less in waste, consuming ten percent less in non-renewable resources, and contributing the savings to earthcare efforts… As congregations and other expressions of this church, we will seek to incorporate the principles of sufficiency and sustainability in our life. We will advocate the enviromental tithe, and we will take other measures that work to limit consumption and reduce wastes. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 

Mennonite

We are only stewards for the duration of our lives of that which ultimately belongs to God (Psalms 24:1,2)… the present generation has a responsibility to all future generations to so use and conserve the limited energy resources of the earth, that future human habitation of this planet will not be either impossible or else greatly impoverished (Isaiah 45:18-20).… We confess that in the past we have often been unfaithful stewards of energy resources as our consumption has been geared more to our own short-term satisfaction and less to the long-range needs and requirements of the entire world. As churches we operate facilities that are often very wasteful and inefficient in the use of energy. Better stewardship will involve both efforts to reduce waste (e.g., increased insulation in our homes) and to bring changes in life-style which make life simpler and less consumptive of resources but sometimes less convenient and comfortable.

Therefore we call each General Conference congregation…To assign responsibility for stewardship in the use of energy resources in focal church facilities to a committee of the fellowship. This committee should study the use and possible methods of conserving energy in the church and should come to the congregation with targets for reducing energy use and ways of meeting these targets. (A feasible target might be reduction of use of fuels and electricity by one-third by 1980.)

Therefore we call General Conference Mennonite individuals and families:

  1. To budget the use of non-renewable resources such as fuels and electricity. We ask individuals and families to examine... their direct use of energy resources and to set specific targets for reducing that consumption in homes and in transportation.
  2. To consider the indirect use of energy (i.e., energy used in the manufacturing of products) when making purchases. "What we can afford" needs to include not only concerns for stewardship of money but also for the stewardship of energy and material resources consumed in the manufacture and use of a product.
  3. To encourage those recycle and reuse systems which save on energy and material resources. General Conference Mennonite Church 

Mormon

All humankind are stewards over the earth and should gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting life and resources and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor and the needy...

The earth and all things on it should be used responsibly to sustain the human family. However, all are stewards — not owners — over this earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations.

Approaches to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations, rather than pursuing the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights. The earth and all life upon it are much more than items to be consumed or conserved. God intends His creations to be aesthetically pleasing to enliven the mind and spirit, and some portions are to be preserved. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 

Muslim

We human beings are created to serve the Lord of all beings, to work the greatest good we can for all the species, individuals, and generations of God’s creatures… Excessive pollution from fossil fuels threatens to destroy the gifts bestowed on us by God, whom we know as Allah – gifts such as a functioning climate, healthy air to breathe, regular seasons, and living oceans. But our attitude to these gifts has been short-sighted, and we have abused them. What will future generations say of us, who leave them a degraded planet as our legacy? How will we face our Lord and Creator?

We recognize the corruption (fasād) that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption... Intelligence and conscience behoove us, as our faith commands, to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (rahmah) and utmost good (ihsan)… We recognize that we are accountable for all our actions... Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change                                                                

Nazarene

We believe God gave human beings the responsibility of stewardship over his creation. God placed humans in the garden to nurture and care for it, not to dominate and destroy it (Gen. 2:15)... We find in creation what we need to supply our “daily bread”. God has given all of us enough to meet our current and future needs if we wisely use the gifts of creation. This includes limiting our expansion and growth, not treating resources as inexhaustible, and not taking more than we need when others are still lacking the basics of life. It also includes loving our current and future neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:39) by not polluting our common resources: the land, water, and air.

Any compassionate ministry that is directed toward human beings must eventually come full circle to compassionate care for the environment as well. This is because our own well-being is inextricably linked with the well-being of creation. Especially for the most poverty stricken in our world, the tie between the destruction of the earth and the destruction of their own lives is immediately apparent. The poor suffer the most from the pollution of God’s earth. Church of Nazarene 

Orthodox Churches

We believe that our first task is to raise the consciousness of adults who most use the resources and gifts of the planet. Ultimately, it is for our children that we must perceive our every action in the world as having a direct effect upon the future of the environment…Human beings and the environment form a seamless garment of existence; a complex fabric that we believe is fashioned by God…

By reducing our consumption, in Orthodox Theology 'encratia' or self-control, we come to ensure that resources are also left for others in the world… Excessive consumption may be understood to issue from a world-view of estrangement from self, from land, from life, and from God. Consuming the fruits of the earth unrestrained, we become consumed ourselves, by avarice and greed. Excessive consumption leaves us emptied, out-of-touch with our deepest self…

We must be spokespeople for an ecological ethic that reminds the world that it is not ours to use for our own convenience. It is God's gift of love to us and we must return his love by protecting it and all that is in it. Ecumencial Patriarch Bartholomew 

Presbyterian

The 217th General Assembly (2006)…

Finds that the Christian mandate to care for creation and the biblical promise of the restoration of right relationships between God, human beings, and the rest of creation impels and inspires us to act to reduce our energy usage.

Finds that the urgency, injustice, and seriousness of this issue calls us as Christians to act NOW and to act boldly to lead the way in reducing our energy usage.

Strongly urges all Presbyterians to immediately make a bold witness by aspiring to live carbon neutral lives. General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA) 

Quaker

Implicit in our testimony on simplicity is the understanding that we will not take more than we need, particularly (and here we move into the testimony on justice) if it means depriving others, including future generations, of their basic needs.

We call upon Friends to examine their own lives to see if their own patterns of consumption reflect self-centeredness and greed rather than a concern for living harmoniously in the creation, that we might witness to the world that harmony. Friends United Meeting 

Reformed

The Carbon Reduction Campaign is a new opportunity offered through the National Council of Churches (NCC) Eco-Justice Program. It allows individuals, congregations, and youth groups to care for creation by reducing carbon emissions while also saving on energy costs. 

From the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice website:

Across the world, people living in poverty who have fewer resources and emit less carbon dioxide will suffer the most dire consequences of a changing climate. Even within the United States, this is the case: poorer communities will bear an unequal burden of the impacts of climate change. The impacts of global climate change threaten all of God's Creation, destroying habitats and threatening multiple species with extinction. While ultimate ownership of creation is God’s, we have a responsibility to care for all of God’s creation—both human and nonhuman. And as God’s people, we have a responsibility to work for justice (Micah 6:8).   Reformed Church in America 

Seventh Day Adventist

It is the belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that humankind was created in the image of God, and is thus to represent God as His steward and to manage the natural environment in a faithful and fruitful way. Nature is a gift from God…Seventh-day Adventism advocates a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled over-consumption, accumulation of goods, and production of waste. A reformation of lifestyle is called for, based on respect for nature, restraint in the use of the world's resources, reevaluation of one's needs, and reaffirmation of the dignity of created life. Seventh Day Adventist Church Statement on Stewardship of the Environment 

Southern Baptist

Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed. We can do better. To abandon these issues to the secular world is to shirk from our responsibility to be salt and light. The time for timidity regarding God’s creation is no more…

We realize that simply affirming our God-given responsibility to care for the earth will likely produce no tangible or effective results. Therefore, we pledge to find ways to curb ecological degradation through promoting biblical stewardship habits and increasing awareness in our homes, businesses where we find influence, relationships with others and in our local churches. Many of our churches do not actively preach, promote or practice biblical creation care. We urge churches to begin doing so.  A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change 

Unitarian Universalist

…we, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, pledge to ground our missions and ministries in reverence for this earth and responsibility to it as we undertake these personal practices, congregational actions, and advocacy goals.

  • Reduce our use of energy and our consumption of manufactured goods that become waste;
  • Use alternative sources of energy to reduce global warming/climate change and to encourage the development of such sources;
  • Choose the most energy-efficient transportation means that meet our needs and abilities (e.g., walk, bike, carpool, use mass transit and communication technologies, and limit travel);

Determine our personal energy consumption and pledge to reduce our use of energy and carbon emissions by at least 20 percent by 2010 or sooner and into the future…  The Unitarian Universalist Association 

United Church of Christ

 All churches are encouraged to conduct an energy audit.

 Buildings undergoing new construction and/or major renovations strive to be carbon neutral (operate with a net-zero use of fossil fuel, greenhouse gas emitting energy) by reducing electricity and natural gas usage, generating on-site renewable power, and/or purchasing renewable energy…

Existing church buildings not undergoing major renovation at this time be encouraged to take steps to meet (an)… energy consumption performance standard of at least 60% below the regional average for houses of worship or that building type.

Be it further resolved, that local congregations be requested to encourage their members to meet the above standards in their own homes. The General Synod of the United Church of Christ 

United Methodist

The United Methodist Church…

• encourages a simplified and environmentally sound lifestyle throughout the church and requests that Church agencies, conferences, and congregations be stewards of God's creation by reducing levels of consumption and participating in programs that reuse and recycle goods; and

• encourages United Methodist institutions to perform energy audits, improve energy efficiency, and pursue use of alternative clean energy sources such as wind and solar power where available. General Board of the United Methodist Church 

Wesleyan

The psalmist wrote “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). Yet any honest reader of the newspaper or thoughtful observer of current events must acknowledge that all is not well with this earth that belongs to our God. As the earth’s population grows and humanity’s ability to impact the created order increases, we face an increasing and intensifying cluster of environmental concerns.

The Wesleyan Church believes that creation care is an important social issue of our day and that the time has come for us to take energetic, intentional steps toward more effective environmental stewardship. Our concern for the environment is not driven by any political agenda, but rather by what the Bible clearly teaches about God and His creation. The Wesleyan Church

The Seventh Day Initiative  l  info@seventhdayinitiative.org  l  (812) 339-7303