Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Demonstrators protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate change accord.

Demonstrators protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate change accord. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Offering Moral Leadership, UCC Urges Clergy to 'Be Bold and Courageous' in Climate Fight

 'The Earth is the Lord's—Not Ours to Wreck,' declares church document.

Jessica Corbett

The United Church of Christ on Monday passed a resolution that calls on clergy to lead educational and legislative efforts to combat climate change, urging its members to be "bold and courageous as we address the greatest moral challenge that the world has ever faced."

The resolution, titled "The Earth is the Lord's—Not Ours to Wreck: Imperatives for a New Moral Era," was supported by 97 percent of the delegates of the church's General Synod, which meets every two years to discuss church structure and policies.

"This sets the stage for engagement and hope. This is a proclamation of truth and the love of God's gift," said Rev. Jim Antal, head of the UCC's Massachusetts conference and author of the resolution. "The climate crisis is an opportunity for which the church was born."

Framing climate change prevention as a moral obligation—similar to the message of Pope Francis's 2015 encyclical—the resolution reads: "As people of faith, recognizing that the earth is the Lord's, it falls upon our generation to embrace the imperatives set forth in this resolution."

It details a strategy for "the whole of the church to prayerfully engage" with the issue of climate change through three key imperatives:

  • Let our clergy accept the mantle of moral leadership.
  • Let all of us incarnate the changes we long for.
  • Let us proclaim truth in the public square.

In addition to preaching the clergy's obligation to protect the planet and educate the public about the climate crisis, the resolution encourages church members to advocate for wide-scale transitions to accessible, sustainable energy sources. "Let us commit to resist all expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and demand new sources of renewable energy that are accessible to all communities," the resolution states.

It also takes a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration's recent actions on climate policy: "While the leaders of every country in the world recognize this reality, our current Administration ignores science, defunds the Environmental Protection Agency, and withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord."

Along with ditching the Paris Agreement and the administration's controversial choices regarding the EPA, Trump and his apointees have attempted to halt an Obama-era rule targeting methane leaks, frustrating U.S. citizens and world leaders alike. The administration's disregard for climate science and environmental protection is pushing cities, states, and groups such as the UCC to take action. 

This is not the UCC's first move to address climate change. In 2013, the church's General Synod approved—also with major support from Rev. Antal—a five-year path toward divesting from fossil fuel companies, and became the first major U.S. religious body to act on divestment. They also adopted a resolution to make UCC buildings more carbon-neutral.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·


US to Offer 'Condolence Payments' to Relatives of 10 Civilians Killed in Drone Strike

The Pentagon statement follows a call for President Joe Biden to "show real concern for civilians by taking more meaningful steps to prevent civilian casualties as a result of all U.S. lethal operations."

Andrea Germanos ·


New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

"This is what someone who's bought and paid for looks like."

Brett Wilkins ·


'We're Not Stopping': Weeklong D.C. Climate Protests End With 650+ Arrests, Vows to Fight On

"There is no other planet to escape to. Water is life... They need to listen to the youth. They need to hear us speak our cries."

Brett Wilkins ·


Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo