I am The Reverend Betty Whitted Holley, Ph.D., Academic Dean, Director of the Master of Divinity Degree Program and Associate Professor of Ecological Theology at Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, OH. I am also a presiding elder, superintending 28 churches in the Columbus, Springfield, Xenia District, located in the Ohio South Ohio Conference, Third Episcopal District, in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I also represent my denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, on the board for Creation Justice Ministries (CJM).
My work with various congregations and the seminary requires me to have ready access to a wide variety of educational materials, especially related to climate change, racial justice, and Earth Day, just to name a few. I can always count on Creation Justice Ministries for applicable resources for presentations, sermon starters, and information about a plethora of topics.
Over the years, Creation Justice Ministries has been able to expand the types of resources offered because of individual gifts from our community. When I needed information about preserving the history of various cultures through parks and monuments, it was CJM that aided me in preparing an op-ed paper that I wrote to have placed in the editorial section of my local newspaper. This is why I choose to support CJM all year round by being a monthly donor.
The climate catastrophe is greater than any one denomination, but working together we can have a huge impact!
When I felt the call to ordained ministry, I was confused and resistant. I ignored God and then tried to bargain my way out of it. I did not feel worthy, and I did not want to be a minister. It was not until I took a course in seminary called, “The Body of God” did my call make sense to me. In that course, I was introduced to Sallie McFague, a feminist eco-theologian. Through her writings I came to understand the purpose of my call to ministry and the connection between my passion for ecology and my faith came together. In that course the idea for what is now called the Green Chalice ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was born. In 2011 in my position as minister for Green Chalice, I was asked to represent Disciples of Christ on the National Council of Churches Ecojustice Working Group board which is now Creation Justice Ministries.
Working with this incredible group of people has been one of the greatest blessings of my environmental ministry. Ecojustice work can be isolating and stressful. The members of the CJM board support each other and cheer each other on. The work of our individual denominations and communions is amplified by our working together. The climate catastrophe is greater than any one person or denomination, but working together we can have a huge impact. We are truly all in this together, living out our faith by caring for God's creation.
Creation Justice Ministries has been for me an important, fun, creative, and inspiring space to connect with colleagues in diverse denominations and communions around issues of caring for the earth and all people.
When I was just a few years out of college and working in the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Environmental Justice around 2001, I was delighted to find this ecumenical environmental space to share resources, events, and relationships. It was thrilling to know such a roundtable existed! In young adulthood, my path took me in and out of office PC(USA) work and thus in and out of the ecumenical CJM space. However, since again taking a PC(USA) position in 2011 and working with the Presbyterian Hunger Program (which includes our denominational programs and resources on environmental and climate justice) I’ve been blessed to reclaim this community. I earned an MDiv and MAR from Louisville Seminary crafting a thesis on the sacraments in my tradition (baptism and communion) and the environmental and social justice implications thereof. I continue to be grateful for Creation Justice Ministries providing the annual Earth Day Sunday worship resource that I use on my own, share with my congregation, and make available throughout the PC(USA). It’s lovely to have an ecumenical resource that can be adapted to local contexts without each of us having to craft out own. While our sacraments and traditions vary across our communions and denominations, the clear correlation between our Christian faith and caring for God’s world is ever-present and encouraging and I’m grateful for the space CJM continues to hold for these conversations.
The richness of the resourcing, advocacy opportunities, and community provided by Creation Justice Ministries and the uniqueness of this organization are key reasons I give financially to support Creation Justice Ministries. It is a privilege to be connected to this meaningful work and it’s an honor to support it, knowing that it isn’t a large budget operation. Also, I haven’t found any other comparable network in the U.S. and I find it invaluable for my ministry. While Creation Justice Ministries engages important faith-based environmental justice work through receiving grants, we want to also have grassroots people of faith supporting the work so that the Board, and those denominations and communions that are part of CJM, can prioritize and engage work that isn’t always easy to fund through grant support. Having individual and congregational donors enables us to plan widely, broadly and imaginatively about where we feel God is calling us to go each year.
About this Blog
This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.