Frequently Asked Questions about God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action

1. What is this message and why now?

As leaders of the 11.3 million member global United Methodist Church, the Bishops issue major statements on critical issues affecting church and society. This new pastoral letter is a successor to their landmark message, In Defense of Creation: The Nuclear Crisis and a Just Peace, shared at a similarly frightening and critical time during the Cold War. This pastoral call to hope and action urges us to recognize that God’s Creation is in crisis: We cannot be silent, nor can we help our world until we change our own way of being in it. It contains 9 pledges made by each bishop for hopeful, robust and transforming change.

2. How did the Bishops research these issues?

For three years, the bishops held hearings with issue specialists and theologians, and sponsored focus groups, online surveys, and listening events with over 5,000 members of the church around the world. The biblical and theological teachings of the church and social justice policies adopted by the General Conference are the foundation for their reflection on the three threats emphasized in the message: pandemic poverty and disease, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of violence and weapons.

3. How can I get started to respond and encourage others?

Read the Pastoral Letter and the Foundation Document (available in 6 languages on hopeandaction.org), and encourage your pastor, teacher or group leader to read it aloud in a service or meeting. Learn more. Form a small group to use the Study Guide with Adults or with Children during Lent (starting February 17, 2010). Connect with the groups already active on these issues in your community or institution to formulate plans for robust, transforming change. Share these plans with us at hopeandaction.org. Own a sense of urgency about your plans and continue to connect with others. Join our Facebook group site; sign up for our e-newsletter to news and ideas. Direct your own networks to this site.

4. Where can I get resources to work on these issues in my community?

This website has Studies and resources, including reliable web links to other groups and individuals active in these areas of social justice. Gather one or several small groups to use the Studies. Use the resources coordinating with the study sessions, feature articles and news reports on this site. Share with us any resources you find helpful at Contact Us.

5. Are the Bishops advocating for a particular political position?

On the contrary, the call to action is politically and globally nonpartisan. It is a statement of 69 active bishops from around the world continuing in our church’s tradition of “speaking truth to those in power” in national capitols, in state and regional legislatures, and in community councils. The grounding values are the same across political parties, cultures and nations: justice, sustainability, stewardship, sufficiency, hope and action. The positions are those adopted by the global General Conference of The United Methodist Church.

6. Are the Bishops really making changes in their own lives and ministries?

Yes, each bishop committed to 9 different pledges by adopting the Pastoral Letter. The pledges are for personal changes in lifestyle and advocacy with those in power as well as professional changes in the operations and ministry settings of each episcopal area affecting each of the 43,000 global congregations of The United Methodist Church. The Bishops and every UMC member will hold each other accountable for the transforming pledges of the Pastoral Letter. Multiply these pledges by the pledges of 11.3 million individual United Methodists, and there will be transforming and astonishing action to rescue and protect God’s good Creation for generations to come.

What will your pledges be?  Let us assist you in any way we can.