Christian Reformed Church Climate Action

National Church Position on Creation Care:

We uphold “biblical principles of responsible dominion, care, and stewardship of creation,” recognizing that our continually growing knowledge about God’s world should “guide us in our love of God and neighbors, including care for the creation”; “even when scientific uncertainties are taken into account,” we are compelled to address “human-induced climate change” as “an ethical, social justice, and religious issue”; we are therefore called to be “voices for justice and public examples in the effort to live sustainably within our God-given resources, to promote stewardship in our own communities and our nations,” and to “examine energy choices” in our daily life and work “from a perspective of stewardship, challenging ourselves to use less energy and to use it more wisely” while seeking “justice for the poor and vulnerable among us and for future generations” (Acts of Synod 2012, pp. 803-805).[1]

Perspective from World Renew Missions:

CRC ministries around the world are extremely worried about the effect that climate change is already having on the poorest of the poor whom we serve. World Renew staff find that the people they work with who are in vulnerable economic, social, and political conditions are experiencing the impact of climate-related events right now—they are losing access to food, water, work, and are already suffering from the direct effects of environmental degradation. We cannot continue to face our brothers and sisters in Christ while doing – and saying – nothing about what they name as the most important barrier they face: a climate changing before their eyes. 

Thus, our Reformed faith demands action on climate change not only to fulfill God's calling to be caretakers of His creation, but also the command that we love our neighbors. 

Church Action on Climate Change:

  • 2016-2017: Phase Two of the CRCNA and the Office of Social Justice (OSJ) Climate Witness Project. Organizers want to expand the number of congregations participating to 100, do education in congregations and via op-eds in newspapers, and visit with members of Parliament. “Phase Two will begin to help congregations work toward ordering their lives in ways that are consistent with our shared concerns about climate change… [it] will be an opportunity for the CRC to respond to the commitments of the Paris Agreement by doing our part in helping the United States and Canada keep their promises,” said Rev. Richard Killmer who co-coordinates the project.
  • 2015-2016: Phase One of the CRCNA/OSJ Climate Witness Project, which sought to bring attention of CRC congregations to COP21 (21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) through education, empowerment, and advocacy.
    • 10 part-time, short-term organizers hired in North America to connect and resource CRC congregations.
    • 4 CRC delegates attended COP21 to advocate with North American reps, and communicate what happens at COP21.
    • Engaged ~200 congregants in 35 CRC congregations across North America
  • 2012: Synod adopted recommendations from the Reformed creation stewardship and climate change task force report, issuing the following:

statement on climate change

  • It is the current near-consensus of the international scientific community that climate change is occurring and is very likely due to human activity
  • Human-induced climate change is an ethical, social justice, and religious issue
  • Grounds:
    • a) Such climate change poses a significant threat to future generations, the poor, and the vulnerable
    • b) Such climate change poses a significant challenge to us all
    • c) We are called to “commit ourselves to honor all God’s creatures and to protect them from abuse and extinction, for our world belongs to God” (Contemporary Testimony, par. 51)
  • Therefore, even when scientific uncertainties are taken into account, the precautionary principle (e.g., Overture 60, Agenda for Synod 2012, p. 594) compels us to take private and public actions to address climate change.

call for church and individual action

  • be voices for justice and public examples in the effort to live sustainably within our God-given resources, promote stewardship in our own communities and our nations, and seek justice for the poor and vulnerable among us and for future generations.
  • reduce individual and collective carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Examine energy choices in our homes, lives, businesses, farms, and institutions from a perspective of stewardship, challenging ourselves to use less energy and to use it more wisely.
  • consider and advocate for public strategies that reduce carbon emissions and move us toward very low or zero net emissions.
  • respond with generosity and compassion to people and places negatively affected by climate change, and make efforts to mitigate it. This includes advocating with our governments to take the necessary actions in an effective global framework to assist populations that are bearing the brunt of the negative effects of climate change while being the least able to cope.

call for action by the Board of Trustees

  • ensure that educational resources and programs are identified and made widely available to congregations, schools, and other groups in order to promote participation in the urgent global conversation concerning care for the creation.
  • review the operational practices of major CRC agencies and institutions in the light of this report’s conclusion concerning the need to exercise robust leadership in caring for the creation and addressing a changing climate, including the need to reduce our denominational carbon emissions.
  • encourage several appropriate creation care organizations to apply for placement on the list of accredited nondenominational agencies recommended for financial support submitted for approval to Synod 2013.

  • 2010: Synod took a position on anthropogenic warming—affirming the significant contribution that humans make to environmental problems world wide, and accepting the Micah Declaration on creation stewardship and climate change, and establishing a task force to report on Reformed creation stewardship and climate change to Synod 2012.
  • 2008: Synod mandated the creation of the Office of Social Justice’s Creation Care Webpage and approved an updated version of “Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony” that identifies climate change as a creation care issue of importance for the church.
    • We lament that our abuse of creation
      has brought lasting damage
      to the world we have been given:
      polluting streams and soil,
      poisoning the air,
      altering the climate,
      and damaging the earth.
      We commit ourselves
      to honor all God’s creatures
      and to protect them from abuse and extinction,
      for our world belongs to God.

Interfaith Statements:

Resources available:

Please note: CPJ has compiled this resource using publicly available information to help people of faith join the action already being taken by their national church. It is not meant as a comprehensive history, but if we’ve missed something important please let us know by emailing climate@cpj.ca.

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