Stewardship of the Earth: Resolution on Environment and Faith Issues (General Conference Mennonite Church, Mennonite Church, 1989)

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Stewardship of the Earth: Resolution on Environment and Faith Issues (General Conference Mennonite Church, Mennonite Church, 1989)

Introduction: From every side we are made aware today that the Lord's earth--the natural environment that sustains us all--is suffering serious degradation at human hands. Included among the many problems are these:

  • global warming caused by excessive use of fossil fuels
  • destruction of tropical rain forests
  • ozone depletion caused by industrial chemicals
  • acid rain caused by industrial emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides
  • pesticide contamination of soil, water, and food
  • waste disposal problems (solid and toxic)
  • the loss of genetic resources as animal and plant habitats are destroyed
  • the unavailability of renewable energy for a growing population
  • the unknown consequences of genetic engineering on the ecosystem
  • the destructive use of productive farmland

These and many other environmental issues are being discussed widely in our North American societies. We recognize and affirm the ways in which individuals, congregations, and district/provincial conferences have engaged in both education and action on these matters. However, to date most churches have given low priority to environmental problems. We believe this is a serious mistake because all of these issues relate to Christian faith and lifestyle and to the Christian's desire to be an earth caretaker and peacemaker and to exercise stewardship of the earth along with stewardship of money and stewardship of the gospel.

Whereas: The Bible clearly teaches that God's creation is good (Genesis 1), that God is the Owner of the earth (Psalms 24:1-2), and that nature itself praises and glorifies God (Psalm 19 and Psalm 96);

Christians have been directed by many Scriptures to care for the natural creation as God's stewards (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 25 and Leviticus 26; and Luke 4:16-22, among others);

Christians look forward to the time when all of creation, including humankind, will be fully restored/redeemed (Romans 8:18-25; Colossians 1:15-23; and John 1:1-5 among others);

and many Mennonites who have traditionally understood their role as good earth stewards and accepted the scriptural teaching have today neglected or forgotten an environmental ethic and have not been fully aware of the impact of our lifestyle on the global environment and on our sisters and brothers worldwide who share God's earth with us;

Therefore be it resolved that: In our individual, work, and family life we seek to become more caring about our impact on the environment, and seek to educate ourselves and act upon our best knowledge of ways to conserve the resources we use.

Mennonite Church and General Conference congregations and conferences be encouraged to promote discussion and action on ways the Christian faith relates to environmental issues. Sermons, Sunday school and group studies, days of special observance, workshops, statements, and community projects such as recycling that promote a deeper understanding of the issues are some ways to work.

Mennonite schools and colleges be encouraged to place special emphasis upon ways environmental issues relate to Christian faith and lifestyle through special curricula, workshops, projects, and special days of emphasis during the next several years.

Mennonite Central Committee offices in the capitals of both the United States and Canada, and individual staff working with environmental concerns, seek policy directions from the several Mennonite church bodies in promoting creation stewardship.

That the delegates of this assembly approve the appointment of a task force to promote environmental concerns among us. This task force shall be sponsored by, and report to, the Board of Congregational Ministries (MC) and the Commission on Home Ministries (GC).

Adopted by the Mennonite Church General Assembly, August 3, 1989

Adopted by the General Conference Mennonite Church, August 3, 1989