By Frances Townsend
As a result of a query on caring for God’s creation, a study committee is to be formed. The delegates to Annual Conference voted to appoint the study committee in response to “Query: Continuing the Study of Our Christian Responsibility to Care for God’s Creation.” A vote of 57.6 percent supported the creation of the study. The vote required only a simply majority.
The three-member committee will be named by the Standing Committee of district delegates. The study committee will work in consultation with Brethren Benefit Trust and other relevant agencies to develop educational resources and strategies to help Brethren make financial and investment decisions and get involved in community projects to reduce greenhouse gas and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Kevin Kessler, district executive of Illinois and Wisconsin District, presented the rationale for the query. He said Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren was disheartened by the 2014 Annual Conference decision not to adopt a study committee’s recommendations on “ Guidance for Responding to the Changing of Earth’s Climate.” The congregation wanted to keep alive the most positive aspects of those recommendations and bring them back to Annual Conference.
John Willoughby presented the Standing Committee motion to accept the query and form a study committee, stating that the district delegates deemed the focus on financial investments to be sufficiently different from the previous query to be worthy of study.
The motion from Standing Committee to make this a joint effort of study committee and Brethren Benefit Trust was amended at BBT’s behest, to reduce the agency’s involvement because its mission is to implement church policy, not create it.
Comments from the floor affirmed the need for good stewardship of creation, although some speakers were concerned that the church should channel its funds and energy into other issues, particularly spreading the gospel.
The 2016 Annual Conference News Team includes: writers Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend, Karen Garrett, Tyler Roebuck, Monica McFadden; photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Laura Brown; Conference Journal editor Eddie Edmonds; web manager Jan Fischer Bachman; web staff Russ Otto; editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.