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Kairos Call to Action Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 1x
Dear friends and colleagues,

Early in 2020, just before the coronavirus set in, the UCC Council for Climate Justice issued an urgent plea to help rescue our planet from peril. The Kairos Call to Action invites congregations of the United Church of Christ to commit to a series of climate saving actions over the next 10 years. Guided by the Kairos Call to Action adopted at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Conference of the UCC, the Conference seeks to covenant with congregations and their members, empowering all of us to take on the crucial work of climate justice. 

We have seen floods submerge the south and fires ravage the west. We have witnessed continued threats to precious species and acknowledged that the “carbon reprieve” due to COVID-19 is short lived. We have confessed the disproportionate affect climate woes have on people of color and all who are marginalized. We wonder about the correlation between future pandemics and a climate in crisis. And we shudder in recognizing the intersectionality between climate stress and the vital needs of all humanity: nutritious food, clean water, safe air, and protection from natural disasters.
In this communication we are launching the Wisconsin Conference Kairos Call to Action! God has appointed us from the beginning of humanity to be faithful stewards of the earth and all that is within. Sadly, though, precious resources continue to diminish. The balance of our ecosystems is severely threatened. The very future of our children and grandchildren is uncertain. This crisis demands our spiritual and theological attention. It begs us to commit to a renewed “reverence” for all life. But, our most urgent imperative is to act now!

Young environmental activist Greta Thunberg reminds us, “We are now standing at a crossroads in history. We are failing but we have not yet failed. We can still fix this. It’s up to us.” It may already be too late to prevent irreparable damage. Species are becoming extinct. Glaciers are melting. Temperatures are rising. This is our reality. Mere human existence is increasingly strained, especially for the nearly 2 billion people who live in poverty.

The Greek word “Kairos” means – essentially – the time is now! It refers not to the more predictable chronological time (“chronos”) but to a critical moment, an immediate and holy beckoning from our insistent and grief-stricken God.

The Wisconsin Conference Creation Care Team seeks to empower and engage congregations and their members to rise to the urgent need for action concerning climate change and environmental justice. The Team stands ready to support you in this work, providing resources for study and worship, encouraging advocacy on behalf of climate justice, and helping congregations find and connect with partners who share this common concern and commitment. 
Here are some Conference-wide goals for this decade-long Kairos initiative:
  • 100 congregations will engage in the Kairos Call to Action by the end of 2021.
  • 150 congregations will form a “Kairos Action Team” by the end of 2022.
  • Participating congregations will engage 50% of their community of faith in committing to the Kairos action steps in their individual households by the end of 2023.

Thank you for considering this important challenge. Imagine the impact you and your congregation can have for the sake of generations to come!

With hopeful determination,

Franz Rigert
Conference Minister

You can also view Franz's message in this video, and share with your congregation!
Kairos Call to Action: The Newsletter of the Wisconsin Conference Creation Care Initiative
By John Helt
Some say “creation care.” Others say “environmental-, climate- or eco-justice.” No matter what we call it, now is the time to step it up. As Conference Minister Franz Rigert says, the Kairos Call to Action signals the beginning of a decade dedicated to loving care for the Creator’s earth, along with -- and for the sake of -- our children and neighbors.

For the last several years, a growing team of creation caregivers has been at work to connect with and help to coordinate this dimension of the Wisconsin Conference’s mission. Bob Ullman and I have been blessed to co-chair this team, and we were honored with the opportunity to help shape worship for the annual meeting in June, along with the presentation of the Kairos Call to Action. Now it is our challenge to keep before our congregations this “fierce urgency of now” (in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.).
As you see in our new logo, the sands of time are superimposed on the planet. We believe that God is calling us to use the coming ten years to respond to ten Kairos calls to action. They begin with prayer and studying the ways our faith addresses the global climate crisis. They include practical steps that congregations and the individuals and households in them can take to reduce our carbon footprint and move toward ever more sustainable daily practices. God is calling us to use this “right time” to take action. Download this Conference resource for background and actionable information.

We invite you to contact Lisa Hart, Bob Ullman or John Helt to explore how you can become a Kairos Call to Action congregation. This newsletter, along with a companion place on the Conference website at wcucc.org/kairos-call, will keep you informed and energized for the critical time before us. We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information, also visit these websites:
Grants Available for Creation Care Projects
Would your church like help funding your next step to a healthier Earth? 
  • Would a few hundred dollars make it possible to replace all the incandescent bulbs in the church with efficient LED lighting?
  • How about programmable thermostats to fully heat zones in your buildings only during the times they’re used?
  • Or hiring a consultant for energy efficiency recommendations that could lead to further fuel and money savings?
  • Perhaps you'd like to create Faith Formation materials that embrace care for our earthly home.

In response to the Kairos Call to Action, the Conference Creation Care Team is offering grants of up to $1000 available to Wisconsin Conference UCC Congregations that are planning initiatives to deepen their love of creation and positively change their relationship with the environment. 

But hurry - the application deadline is October 31. For more information and to submit a grant application, go to Creation Care Grants or wcucc.org/kairos-call.
You Can Be a Part of the Change
From the Saint Stephens, Merrill, Green Team
For the last several years, climate change/global warming has received headlines all over the world. And rightly so ... climate change is real. In fact, 97% of climate scientists agree to this, including the fact that the collective actions of humans, past and present, are the main contributors to this crisis. We have only to look at the evident facts: global temperatures are rising ... polar ice is melting ... sea levels are rising ... and our weather sustains severe fluctuations. Denial is no longer an option.
These same scientists claim there still is time to reverse the process, providing all of us (yes, the entire world) are willing to do that which may become necessary to reverse this process. Although many of us are doing our individual part (recycling, water and natural resource conservation, etc.), the practical fact is that all of us (individuals, corporations, business, government) will need to be directed and legally required to take the necessary action in these regards ... all for the common good and all for the sake of future generations. And this is where we can all have a voice.
Appropriate climate change legislation can only come through the legislative process ... and we elect our legislators. This year there will be a presidential election, as well as elections for federal and state senators and representatives. Along with other criterion that are important to you, the position on climate change by these candidates should also be an important part of your decision process. Policy information on all of these candidates is readily available. Please be guided and vote accordingly.

Recommended Resources
VIDEO: Climate change, our faith values and 2020 discusses how to communicate with your family and friends about climate change from a position of shared values. Featuring Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power and Light and Katherine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center. View here>

ACTION: Sign the UCC Creation Care Voter Pledge! Join voters around the country who want leadership that reflects their deepest values. The Creation Care Voter Pledge is produced by the United Church of Christ's Our Faith Our Vote in partnership with the Environmental Voter Project. Sign up here>

Also view this 3 minute video introduction to the Environmental Voter Project that illuminates why it's so important for all who care about the environment to vote.
LEARN: Links to learn more about the Kairos Call to Action
Sign up to receive the UCC's Pollinator newsletter to get regular Creation Care updates and information
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Wisconsin Conference UCC | wcucc.org