Crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico—destroying sea life and the natural environment—is just the most recent incident that has stirred many in the faith community to action.
On May 25, evangelical groups will gather at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to pray for the environment. The event, dubbed the National Day of Prayer for Creation Care, will be the culmination of a month-long, 300-mile walk to make the point that God requires us to care for the Earth.
“The Creation Care Walk is a walk for life, a walk discerned from God to draw attention to the millions of God’s children who are impacted each day by our lack of care for God’s creation,” stated Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environment Network (EEN), the primary group organizing the event.
During the walk, which began on May 8 in West Virginia, participants say they have observed and called attention to mountaintop removal sites and other environmentally devastated areas. And as a grassroots effort to draw others into the creation care movement, they have been stopping at local churches and schools to talk about the walk and to share “practical biblical opportunities” to stem, if not reverse, the damage to the planet.
Hescox emphasized that destruction of the environment directly impacts human lives: run-off from mountaintop removal in search of coal pollutes streams, deforestation in Haiti exacerbated the effects of the recent earthquake and global warming has caused water levels to rise—causing flooding in coastal villages of Bangladesh and Tuvalu.
“This walk is truly about life,” he said.
In his effort to build support for the movement, Hescox has been telling the story of a 5-year-old Tanzanian girl who walks 12 miles every day to fetch water back to her village. According to Hescox, deforestation and climate change have destroyed her family’s local source of clean water. “She walks for life and so do I,” he stated on his blog.
Environmentalism is taking root in the evangelical community. In April, Northland Church, a mega church in Longwood, Fla., hosted a live creation care Webcast that drew participation from tens of thousands of Christians from 40 counties. According to organizers, the global strategy and information session had one simple message: “Caring for creation is biblical and honors the creator.”
Participants prayed for the environment and focused their worship on God as the creator. They also previewed a new film documentary series titled Hope for Creation, written by Matthew Sleeth, a former emergency room doctor who has emerged as one of the leading voices in the global creation care movement.
Northland’s pastor, Joel C. Hunter, described the simulcast as “an effort to recast the environmental movement into its proper perspective—as a biblical issue that Christians should care about.”
At the end of the 300-mile walk and day of prayer, participants plan to gather on the Capitol lawn for a Creation Care concert, headlined by gospel music award-winner Mark Shultz.
In addition to EEN, Christians for the Mountains and Renewal: Students Caring for Creation are among the myriad environmental ministries involve in the event. Visit www.PrayerForCreationCare.org to find out more.