The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) recently collaborated with the Lausanne Movement in a five-day Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel in Jamaica. 60 participants from 23 countries addressed the issue of creation care and the role of the Church from a biblical perspective and will soon release a ‘Call to Action’ as well as various resources designed to contribute to “the development of a global movement for caring for creation through local churches.”
Dr. Chris Elisara, Executive Director of WEA’s Creation Care Task Force, and Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Chair of WEA’s Theological Commission, participated in the consultation in which theologians, scientists, specialists, church leaders, and representatives of international Christian development agencies discussed the vital role churches can play in educating and encouraging Christians on how to better fulfill God’s command to care for His creation.
Dr. Elisara summarizes his experience in Jamaica as follows:
“Whenever God’s people come together prayerfully, humbly, and focused on seeking first God’s Kingdom, wonderful things can happen. That occurred at this global consultation where the outcomes, I believe, will have a huge and positive impact not only on global mission and evangelicalism, but ultimately, on the whole of creation.”
Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Chair of the WEA Theological Commission, issued a strong plea to Christians in the Global South, “to lead the Church on the issue of creation care,” because they are being impacted the most by the negative effects of pollution, ecological degradation, and climate instability.
A ‘Call to Action’ from the Consultation will be released soon, followed by a report in three months’ time and a book next year with papers and reflections from the Consultation.
WEA welcomes this further contribution to Creation Care, and commends both the Call to Action and earlier work to the global Church. Gordon Showell-Rogers, WEA Associate Secretary General, draws particular attention to the ‘excellent statement that came from the consultation on creation care hosted in 2009 by the Micah Network1, a valued WEA Global Partner, and to the statement adopted by the whole WEA membership at its last General Assembly in 20082.’
Dr. Elisara notes:
“While the Micah gathering and its outcomes focused on creation care and climate change, this year’s second global gathering focused on the relationship between God’s mission, the gospel, and creation care. By combining their foci evangelicals who are seeking understanding and guidance on creation care are well served by these two documents.”
Rev. Edward R. Brown, Lausanne’s Senior Associate for Creation Care, says the Consultation has already led to plans for regional Consultations on creation care, including meetings in Southeast Asia, East Africa and North America. WEA’s global, regional and national membership structure will be critical for organizing and facilitating productive outcomes at these regional consultations. From Dr. Elisara’s perspective, “co-hosting these consultations to strengthen the global Church’s capacity to care for creation will be one of the main goals for WEA’s Creation Care Task Force over the next few years.”
Furthermore, Rev. Brown is hopeful that the ‘Call to Action’ and other resources will result in, “the development of a global movement of care for creation through local churches, based on a biblical understanding of our role as caretakers of God’s creation, as well as specific steps Christians can take in their community and goals to measure progress.” He adds that the consultation is issuing an urgent Call for Action because “we believe that the environmental crisis is one that must be resolved in our generation.”