Trinity UMC in Southport, NC is the first church awarded with the “Ocean Friendly Establishments” award in Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick Counties, North Carolina. The Creation Care Ministry Team of Trinity took on the goal of educating the congregation of Trinity UMC and the communities of Southport, St. James, Boiling Spring Lakes and Leland, NC to a greater understanding of the waste we are putting in the Atlantic Ocean that is at our front door. The project initially started in the kitchen area, led by Dr. Rebecca Felton, who undertook the task of guiding us through the process of removing plastic and Stryofoam from the church’s kitchen. We then extended it to the entire building with recycling bins throughout, ways tomake classrooms plastic free, etc. The children and youth participated in “The Crayon Project”. We created a document for those outside of our church that use it for meeting space to coordinate with us on this endeavor as well. We have been educating our congregation through our Facebook page, meetings, classes, speakers and articles which have helped people change their habits and make them more aware of caring for God’s creation. We studied the book, “Climate Justice” and met with Rev. Pat Watkins to be certified in the NC Conference with the “Green Church Initiative”. We recently held an Earth Keepers training for the NC Conference and 34 new Earth Keepers were commissioned. The “Ocean Friendly Establishments” is a local chapter, part of the “International Plastic Ocean Project.” The local chapter started with educating restaurants to, “Skip the Straw” and have since added ways for restaurants to lower their carbon footprint. The local chapter decided to open this opportunity of being awarded to other establishments that were also working on reducing the waste to the ocean. After discussion of the criteria, our Creation Care Ministry Team made the decision to apply for this recognition. We were awarded the highest level of a 5-star award.
Each week during the Season of Creation, we are focusing on one part of our shared ministry for God's creation. This week, we focus on the ocean.
About Our Work
The Creation Justice community has worked together to uphold and expand protections for marine sanctuaries. Relatively untouched, marine sanctuaries serve as hotbeds of biodiversity for God's marine creation. Marine sanctuaries contribute not only to the healing of marine species, but also toward lasting positive impacts on human lives. We are also hosting ocean leadership trainings as well as roundtables. We have events coming up this Saturday, September 28 in Newport News, Virginia and October 4 in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.
So much of the ocean is unexplored, and the wonders of God's marine creation are still being discovered the deeper we are able to go. We have a moral responsibility to ensure God's marine creation sustains life and inspires wonder for generations to come.
In the News
Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. This report covers the state of the world's ocean, as well as high mountain snowy areas and polar regions known collectively as the cryosphere. It explains the ocean and cryosphere's roles in the climate system, as well as current and projected climate change impacts on fisheries, coral reefs, coastlines, and the people that rely upon them.
The findings in this report indicate that there will be serious impacts on all of God's marine creation unless humans take swift action to reduce emissions. These impacts include unprecedented sea level rise, changing behavior and migration patterns for marine life, stronger and more frequent tropical storms, flooding, food insecurity, and impaired water quality. Simply put, the global ocean is responsible for 97% of all water on planet Earth. We have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to safeguard this vast and magnificent, yet limited, gift of God's creation.
Download the IPCC report hereAction: Protect Marine Sanctuaries
This week, we encourage you to take the time to read this report and engage with your communities on the impact climate change will have on all of our marine creation. We have one ocean, and a duty to protect it for generations to come. We also invite you, if you haven't already, to take our featured action for September. Reach out to your members of congress and ask them to take action to protect marine sanctuaries.
Take ActionFeatured Education Resources: S.acred O.cean S.eas is a former Earth Day resource with great content to consider as you talk with your communities on the importance of protecting our ocean and all of the marine life within it.
Climate Partner to Watch: Blue Theology Mission Station
Creation Justice Ministries partners with Blue Theology Mission Station on our marine creation work. We plan to send a team of ocean champion faith leaders out to Monterey Bay to learn from and with Blue Theology in Spring 2020. If you, or someone you know, would be a good fit for this opportunity, we encourage you to nominate/apply here.
We also want to give a shout-out to Interfaith Oceans. Their website is rich with ocean resources.