Weathering the Storm:
Faithful Resilience

Earth Day Sunday 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Earth Day Sunday Resource website! This year we have taken the effort to make this site more digital-friendly. Scroll below to get a sense of what is included in the resource. However, if you want the traditional format, you can download it using the download button above. 

WEATHERING THE STORM
 
INTRODUCTION

The last five years have shown that the climate crisis is no longer something to worry about in the future—it is affecting our communities right now. Record-breaking storms, extreme weather, and the slow violence of sea level rise are tearing at the physical and social fabric of our society. So-called “natural” disasters in the United States have increased in frequency and intensity in the last two decades. In 2021, there were at least 18 weather disaster events in the United States with losses exceeding $1 billion each, 11 events more than the average since 1990. At the same time, our political leaders and structures have failed to prevent climate change and prepare for its worst effects.

It has become clear that climate change is not merely a problem for the church to prepare for in ten or twenty years; it is time for the church to prepare right now. Around us, God’s people and planet are facing the impacts of the climate crisis. As the world groans in travail, the church ought to partner with God in cultivating a redeemed, restored, and resilient creation. 

It is time for Christians to be agents of “Faithful Resilience.”

At the center of Faithful Resilience is the question: ‘How can our churches be hubs of resilience, helping our neighbors weather the physical and spiritual storms of the climate crisis?’ This year, we invite you to reflect on this question and to pursue resilience in your own congregation.

But what is climate resilience? Pathways to Resilience, a community-based collaborative effort to build resilience in U.S. institutions, defines resilience as “bouncing forward to eradicate the inequities and unsustainable resource use at the heart of the climate crisis.”  This definition of resilience, which expands the traditional definition of “bouncing back” from a stressor or disaster resonates with the Christian mission of our churches: to build a Beloved Community, the Kingdom of Heaven, here on Earth.  Resilience, far from being a singular issue, involves social, physical, and spiritual factors playing together in concert. 

Faith communities must take a proactive stance towards resilience to prepare for social, physical, and spiritual storms of the climate crisis. This year, we invite you to consider how you and your church are anticipating, preparing for, and “bouncing forward” into a just, sustainable, and resilient community.

LITURGY

The structure of our communal life lies in the heart of Christian worship. The ways we structure our worship life resonates beyond the walls of the sanctuary. You are invited to use this prayer and liturgy as a way to begin integrating climate resilience into your worship service.

BIBLE STUDIES & SERMON STARTERS

The reflections below can be used as “sermon starters,” sparks meant to ignite the fire of a sermon or bible study. Use the text, the reflections, and your own meditation to craft a sermon or bible study around climate resilience.

CHURCH CRISIS MAP

The Climate-Church Map offers a depiction of how communities of faith across the United States are being affected by climate change, particularly sea level rise. Look up your congregation on this Sea Level Rise Map. Reflect on your findings using the questions below. To see more Bible studies and sermon starters, download the 2022 Earth Day Sunday Resource. 

FAITHFUL RESILIENCE VIDEOS

These films share the stories of coastal faith communities who are facing the impacts of the climate crisis and spiritual and physical resilience in response. 

ACTION STEPS

 

Visit creationjustice.org/action to learn more about advocating for God’s Creation locally and federally. Using what you’ve learned about the climate risks and needs for resilience in your community, contact your legislators, write a letter to the editor, and organize your community in support of local resilience initiatives.

STORIES OF RESILIENCE

 

Each of the stories below spotlight a community that has demonstrated commitment to resilience through the theme of the week. These are inspirational stories of churches that have become hubs of resilience in different ways. Use these in your community as places to draw ideas and inspiration or as anecdotes for sermons and small group studies.