Monthly Archives: July 2014

BCE Activities

Bishop's Committee for the Environment: Celebrating and Healing God's CreationMembers of the Bishop’s Committee for the Environment (BCE) have been busy during the past few months initiating conversations about divestment. As you know, delegates at 2013 diocesan convention passed a resolution asking the Board of Directors to develop a plan over five years to divest of direct ownership of stocks issued by the world’s leading fossil fuel companies. The resolution also instructed the BCE to “formulate an educational plan for implementation over the next year about the issues and questions surrounding the divestment of fossil fuel holdings”. Our educational plan is conversation, as we share information and ideas about divestment with individual and churches throughout the diocese.

I’m often asked, “Why divestment?” My answer is that divestment is one way to address the challenge of climate change. Climate change threatens the sanctity of God’s creation; the BCE’s mission is to heal and celebrate creation. But I would also like to emphasize that divestment is NOT the only way that the BCE works to address climate change. Here’s a brief list of the other actions that the BCE has taken on climate change.

  • Since 2010 the BCE has awarded 29 Green Grants of about $500 each to churches in our diocese. The grants have resulted in over $130,000 in improvements to church facilities. These projects have saved energy and money while shrinking the churches’ carbon footprint.
  • The BCE has offered workshops and coaching in the use of Portfolio Manager for Houses of Worship, the EPA’s carbon calculator. A group of ten churches, working together, have reduced their energy use and kept about 390 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere.
  • The BCE encourages churches to start environmental justice and faith ministries.  Eleven congregations are “Greening Congregations” with Earth Ministry.  Two congregations have been certified by Green Faith and several are beginning the process.
  • Although the BCE is deeply committed to the Genesis Covenant, the pledge made by the Episcopal Church to reduce energy use at all facilities it owns by 50% within 10 years (2019), it recognizes that goal is difficult to achieve in the Northwest where most energy is generated by hydro and other renewable sources. So we were eager to develop a carbon offset partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines (EDSP).  Bishop Rickel signed the agreement with Bishop Bustamante of the EDSP in February 2012.  To date the EDSP has raised from seed and planted over 5000 trees which sequester carbon, combat deforestation, and provide income for rural churches and farmers. Individuals and churches in the Diocese of Olympia have donated over $12,000, offsetting about 750 metric tons of carbon each year.

So divestment is just one of the strategies the BCE uses to combat climate change. But divestment is an essential strategy. We all know that old saying: “Show me your checkbook and I’ll show you what you value”. The investments in the Diocesan Investment Fund show the world what our faith teaches about caring for creation.

Faithfully,

Nancy McConnell

EDSP Visit Postponed

CrossingTheSeasToCareForCreationOur friends from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines (EDSP) have reluctantly postponed their planned trip to our diocese which was scheduled for later this month. Visas were denied to the young adults of the delegation. After prayer and discussion, Bishop Bustamante and the group decided to postpone their visit until April 2015 in the hope that the visa issues can be resolved. The young adults had worked in the nursery and the diocesan office and spoken to youth groups, raising awareness of the challenges of climate change. They had also prepared a presentation about how the EDSP’s work in growing and planting trees supports our joint mission. The young adults, who all lead youth ministries, planned to share their experiences here with other young people in the EDSP. The rest of the delegation is determined to stand with these impressive young adults.

The Olympia partnership team and diocesan staff are committed to helping the EDSP delegation with the travel document issues. The Stewardship Commission and the Bishop’s Committee for the Environment are planning to hold a national conference in April 2015 on the Fifth Mark of Mission which will build upon our experience in hosting the Healing our Planet Earth conference in 2008. We look forward to hosting the EDSP delegation during that time so they can share our mission with a wider audience.

Stay informed by checking this website; email questions to me at bce@ecww.org.

Faithfully,

Nancy McConnell

 

Crossing the Seas to Care for Creation

CrossingTheSeasToCareForCreationWho’s crossing the seas?  A delegation from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines (EDSP) will be visiting our diocese later this month. The EDSP is our partner in the carbon offset project and caring for creation. The delegation will be led by Bishop Danilo Bustamante and will include young adults active in youth ministry.

Between July 25 and August 11 they will be visiting churches throughout the diocese. They will see western Washington’s sustainable farming, visit church gardens, and learn about our church missions. Our visitors are bringing with them a presentation showing what the partnership has meant to their diocese. Their work is impressive.  Since Bishop Rickel and Bishop Bustamante signed the agreement in February, 2012, the EDSP has raised from seed and planted over 5,000 mahogany, rubber, coconut, and fruit trees. The worship services and fellowship meals are open to all. If you are interested in learning more, contact us at bce@ecww.org or check http://edsp-edo.org/ for more details.

Oh, yes…they will be flying, not sailing to Seattle! Since both diocesan logos include a ship we used it in the image.

Faithfully,

Nancy McConnell, Chair

Bishop’s Committee for the Environment