More than 100 United Methodists from 17 states and the Philippines gathered in Minnesota last week to discuss environmental stewardship, and explore specific ways in which they are called to care for the planet. Six attendees were from the Wisconsin Annual Conference. The Creation Care Summit is an annual event for clergy and laity that moves to a different city each year. At the 2018 gathering, which took place July 26-29 at Hamline University in St. Paul, attendees listened to a panel discussion on what they’re called to offer the world at this moment, heard from Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough and Jim Bear Jacobs of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, and engaged in action planning around topics they feel deserve attention.

Attendee Debi VanDenBoom, a student at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a member of the Wisconsin Conference, said creation care is near and dear to her heart, but she’s never preached on it before. She appreciated the opportunity to hear from the presenters and see them demonstrate what it might look like to do just that, and she’s committed to addressing creation care from the pulpit going forward.

“I will definitely engage my preaching differently,” she said. “Since I hadn’t had anyone model it, it wasn’t something I put at the forefront as far as importance…but if we continue to harm Mother Earth and our resources, that harms all of us. I can’t change people. But I can present in a prophetic voice the harm that is being done that we tolerate. People can make a difference if they choose.”

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