Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News

By Rev. Richenda Fairhurst, Steward of Creation at Circle Faith Future

The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement had its genesis in 2019 at a creation care summit in Nashville, Tennessee, when a group of long-time United Methodist climate advocates and Earthkeepers gathered to address both the climate crisis and the woeful inaction of The United Methodist Church. At that summit it was decided: they could no longer wait for action from the church. They needed to start a movement. And they did.

The movement began with a handful of leaders and grew exponentially, forming a number of work teams to tackle various priorities including advocacy, communications and annual conference organizing. The rapid growth of the movement meant rapid additions. Zoom accounts were enabled, webinars scheduled, and more working teams formed. Today there are many teams, with more to come.

The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement also developed collaborative partnerships and joined coalition UMC organizing. They became part of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition in 2023 and stood alongside coalition members to cheer the transforming denomination at this years General Conference.

In addition to celebrating the welcoming of LGBTQ people fully back into the life of the church, they worked to raise the visibility of creation justice efforts in the denomination and shepherd creation justice legislation through the committee process and onto the plenary floor. All the legislation submitted by the Movement passed, and is now in place to help guide the denomination. 

Legislation passed at General Conference connected with the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement:

On Earth Day, the evening before the official start of General Conference, and together with United Women in Faith and others, the UM Creation Justice Movement organized a Earth Day Vigil for Creation at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte. Other activities included a multi-language Prayer Walk together with Upper Room Ministries and the People of Faith Vigil on April 23 where faith leaders and partners gathered to call out Bank of America and the continued financing of fossil fuels. 

The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement was not the only organization to submit legislation related to creation justice. You will  find the movement cheering for creation care/green team activities, such as for North Georgia Conference’s new solar trailer, and rejoicing in the UWFaith, Church and Society, and Revised Social Principles brought and passed at Conference. The new Social Principles make it clear that a United Methodist life of faith includes care for the creation. 

Learn more about the The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement through their virtual ‘Movement Cafe’ and newsletters. They have a General Conference hub, and partner with others for special events, such as a Divestment Conversation with Bill McKibben, and in calling for divestment alongside Fossil Free UMC.

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