The social justice committee voted unanimously to approve “Proposed Actions Regarding Deep Water Horizon Oil Disaster.” It directs the Moderator of the 219th General Assembly to send condolences to each of the families of the workers who lost their lives in the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon oil rig, directs the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC) to make a one-time special fundraising appeal to support long term recovery efforts, directs the Stated Clerk to write a letter to the CEO of BP urging BP to insure the safety of all workers, directs the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) to communicate with oil and gas companies urging them to conduct a thorough review of operations, and seek to work in partnership with local impacted communities.
The General Assembly approved the committee report with the following comment:
It is impossible to express adequately the outrage felt by Presbyterians and others at the enduring tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico region today. While the long-term socioeconomic and spiritual effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil disaster are yet to be determined, urgent action by the PC(USA) is our Christian responsibility.
Concern for the gulf was only one discussion on a myriad of environmental concerns.
The work of seeding a movement of change in building up all of God’s creation has begun to build into a movement, Rick Ufford-Chase told the annual luncheon of the Presbyterians for Earth Care July 6. “I see the signs all around me that what has been on the fringes of respectability has moved to the center of our life as a denomination,” he said.
Ufford-Chase is executive director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and co-director of Stony Point Center. He was moderator of the 216th General Assembly.
“The most important thing that every one of us in the room can do is to go home and do the work in our own communities,” he said. He urged the gathering to “commit to a place and settle in for the long haul — dig in and act like you mean it.”
Ufford-Chase also challenged participants, in working for creation care, to “defy all conventional wisdom about what is possible,” arguing that conventional wisdom is dead wrong. “God’s people have always been able to do everything they can possibly imagine,” he pointed out. “With God’s help, together, we can make a difference.”
The luncheon also focused on honoring persons who have made such a difference.
The William Gibson Award was presented to two recipients this year, Bob Stivers and Kristina Peterson.
The Restoring Creation Award was presented to North Como Church in Roseville, Minn.
ERIN DUNIGAN is a designated tentmaking evangelist and writer/photographer residing in Baja California.