Southeastern Synod ELCA

Creation Justice Ministries

The Rev. Cliff Bahlingher - April 23, 2018
Left to right:  Rabbi Daniel Swartz, Rev. Cliff Bahlinger, Rev. John Barton, Rev. Peter Cook, Shantha Ready Alonso, Bishop Carroll Baltimore

As a former Park Ranger with the National Park Service and having served with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, it was an honor to have Shantha Ready Alonso, Executive Director, Creation Justice Ministries call and ask if I would be available to travel to Washington, DC to meet with elected officials and advocate for public lands and parks. Creation Justice is the environmental office for the National Council of Churches. They partner with the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. The National Religious Partnership for the Environment represents mainline Christians, evangelical Christians, Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims. This is a powerful coalition of all the major faith groups in the world. Together we all seek to care for creation and work to stop global warming. 
 
I was part of a team comprised of Bishop Carroll Baltimore of the Global United Fellowship, Rev. John Barton of the Virginia Council of Churches, Rev. Peter Cook of the New York Council of Churches and Rabbi Daniel Swartz of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. We were led by Cassandra Carmichael, Executive Director, National Religious Partnership for the Environment and Shantha Ready Alonso. We met with the offices of Sen. Corker (TN), Sen. Alexander (TN), Sen. Schumer (NY), Rep. Taylor (VA), Rep. Faso (NY), Rep. Donovan (NY), and Rep. Garrett (VA). Our goal was to speak and advocate for the protection of national monuments and the Antiquities Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, concerns of coastal drilling and funding our National Park System. 
 
It gives me great confidence to know that our faith community is represented in the halls of congress. As people of faith we are called to be stewards of God's good creation. The voices of people of faith need to heard. God has given us this one planet, this one, wonderful planet we call earth. Let us care for it, love it, and protect it for the good of our neighbor.