God is asking us to be good stewards of this earth and all the life that lives on it. And the United Methodist Church is answering. Last night at the General Conference Climate Vigil, we came together in solidarity. We prayed for all of God’s creation, grieved the ways that climate change is already impacting us, and rejoiced in the beauty of the world around us. United Methodists from the Pacific Northwest had decorated hundreds of handmade lanterns to light the night. These lanterns were lit with solar powered LED lights. After the vigil, the lights were distributed to partners in the global south with limited or no energy access and to Central Washington families living without electricity as they recover from extreme wildfires.
The vigil began with the invoking of God's spirit through music led by Jim and Jean Strathdee. As everyone sang, and the Strathdees created the sound of the water and the waves, wind socks decorated as giant salmon swam gently through the crowds. Bishop Grant Hagiya helped to lead the opening prayers, followed by prayers by leaders across the connection. They offered prayers for creation as well as prayers of confession for the destruction we have inflicted on the earth. The vigil was translated into French and at times Spanish to involve all present in praying for creation. As the sun began to set, one by one the solar lights inside all the donated and decorated paper lights began to shine. We lit up the night with our paper lanterns symbolizing our commitment to work with God's Light to care for all of God's good creation.
Organizer and master of ceremonies, Rev. Jenny Phillips, says: “Climate change is happening right now. It is impacting all of our communities. As stewards of God’s creation, we must pray together and discern how United Methodists will respond. Phillips is the Pacific Northwest Conference Minister for Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy. “Together, we are grieving the ways climate change is harming the world and discerning how we must respond to protect the earth.”
This was the front page article of the May 13th edition of our magazine. Download the whole magazine here: May 13th 2016