by: Shantha Ready Alonso
Today is my last day as Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries. My heart is full as I reflect with gratitude on the powerful ecumenical relationships we have built in service to our shared mission.
I give special thanks to our member communions, represented through our Board. You have built powerful ecumenical community, and those ecumenical relationships lie at the heart of Creation Justice Ministries identity. Special thanks to our devoted officers: Board President Rev. Rebecca Barnes of Presbyterian Church (USA), Vice President Bishop Carroll Baltimore, Vice President Deacon Sergei Kapral of the Orthodox Church in America, Treasurer Ruth Ivory-Moore of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Secretary Rev. Sarah Macias of the Alliance of Baptists.
I am thankful for Creation Justice Ministries staff and volunteer colleagues Amanda Robinson, Annika Harley, Helen Smith, Avery Davis Lamb, Dr. Jim David, and Andrea Folds. This team does not hesitate to go the extra mile to ensure the Creation Justice community is educated, equipped and mobilized to protect, restore, and more rightly share God's creation.
Thank you to the many (many!) coalition partners who have accompanied Creation Justice Ministries in the season of growth we experienced during my five and a half years as Executive Director. To the Washington Inter-religious Staff Community: You have been instrumental in my spiritual formation as well as professional development. To environmental justice community leaders: When you speak from your experience for yourselves about ecojustice realities on the ground, you call our country to accountability for racism and economic injustice. I have learned so much from you about intersectionality and leadership that centers people who are most impacted. I have especially been formed by my work with the Next 100 Coalition, founded on the centennial of the National Park Service to center diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in our US public lands and waters. To Indigenous leaders: Thank you for profoundly broadening as well as deepening my understanding of the spiritual significance of our human relationship with God's creation. I have been forever changed for the better by my time building spiritually-rooted alliances with Indigenous leaders who are out front in efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bears Ears National Monument, the sacred land at Standing Rock, and the Grand Canyon. To the many coalition partners working on public lands stewardship, endangered species protection, ocean conservation, and climate action: Thank you for many ways you have shared your policy expertise, scientific knowledge, and communications capacity.
I am so very grateful for the Creation Justice community. We are tens of thousands of people active in our own respective congregations and communities, united by our love for God's creation and each other. Together in 2021, we are shifting into a new time in our country's history: one in which climate action, conservation, and racial justice will come to the fore of public policy and social change-making. We feel the fierce urgency of now to confront the ecological crisis before us. Now more than ever, our ministry must be rooted in faithful community, as I articulated in my acceptance speech for the National Council of Churches Excellence in Ecumenical Leadership Award.
My Prayer for the Creation Justice Community
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer: I pray that your animating words "Let there be life" touch every Creation Justice community member in a fresh way in 2021. With your help, God, may we each echo Christ's call for just relationships among all of creation, amplifying your saving grace so it reverberates through this Earth, which is so desperately in need of your divine healing. Strengthen the Creation Justice community in our commitment to Christian unity, to foster eco-justice transformations, and to raise a collective witness in the public arena.
Shantha Ready Alonso was the Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries from Summer 2015 - January 2021.
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.