2023 Spring Appeal
Then he took a seed from the land, placed it in fertile soil; a plant by abundant waters, he set it like a willow twig. Ezekiel 17:5 (NRSV)
Abundance is seen all around us and witnessed in the ways we are intentional and collaborative with the time and resources we have. There are many challenges around us, with injustices and inequities plaguing our communities. Our willingness to journey together, allows us to have far greater impact than the challenges we face. One of the greatest challenges of our time is climate change. Global warming and rising sea waters are impacting lives around the world. Irregular weather patterns are causing soil erosion, famine, and drought. Life is being threatened in some communities as waters rise and severe rains result in lack of sustainability.
This year, Global Ministries will launch the Pacific Basin Initiative, which will bring focus to issues and partners in East Asia and the Pacific. The two-year initiative will be launched Summer 2023, at the United Church of Christ General Synod and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly. The initiative will increase awareness about the crucial issues affecting this region. Some of the most prominent issues include Peace and Community Resilience, Protecting the Rights of Migrants and Minorities, and Creation Justice.
The Pacific Islands region is experiencing the impacts of climate change at an alarming rate. There are many low-lying islands in the region that rise only a few feet above sea level, which makes this area especially vulnerable to severe storms and natural disasters. In these areas, even a moderate amount of precipitation can cause damage to freshwater supplies, natural habitats for endangered animals, infrastructure of homes and villages, and the livelihood of the inhabitants.
The Pacific Conference of Churches, a long-time partner of Global Ministries, is aware of the ongoing challenges resulting from rising sea levels, and they are taking steps to effect change in their communities. Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Rev. James Bhagwan, said communities across the region were working to battle climate change in their own way. “Our work this year will be on research to help the most vulnerable in the region, especially keeping them safe,” he said. “It will not be easy.”
Currently, the Pacific Conference of Churches is building an eco-school for young people on 50 acres of farmland in the Tailevu province of Fiji. At the school, students will learn about food security, disaster reduction and responsible land use. They are using traditional, organic crop-raising methods to plant produce such as cassava, pineapples and avocado. The farm will have livestock including pigs and cattle, and trees will be planted to help remove greenhouse gases polluting the environment. The first eco-school class is scheduled to take place in June 2023, which coincides with the launch of Global Ministries’ Pacific Basin Initiative.
During the Initiative, Global Ministries will share stories of resilience from the Pacific region, as well as hands-on opportunities to get involved such as participating in the Women-to-Women trip to East Asia in September, signing the Korea Peace Appeal, or giving to support ministries in the Pacific Basin.
Climate change has wide-reaching implications for everyone all over the globe, although some communities are experiencing the effects disproportionately. Global Ministries is working closely with international partners who are helping communities prepare for natural disasters and empowering people to maintain livelihoods to support their families. By working together to care for Creation, seeds of hope are being planted, which will thrive into an abundant harvest for generations to come. We invite you to join us in accompanying our siblings across the globe and strive for a sustainable future together.
We are the seed. We are ready to bring change to the world. We do this together to see a just world for all.