“The Christian mission requires that we meet basic human needs for education, food, water, medicine, justice, and peace. As is evident in the Apostle John’s assertion that Jesus was sent to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8 NASB), our mission is to continue his earthly mission by undertaking the kind of organized research and enterprises that combat evil in all its forms—violence, injustice, poverty, environmental exploitation, drug trafficking, and disease”. David Hesselgrave, describing Ralph Winter’s “kingdom mission” (2010, p. 196). Quoted in Charting Your Course through the Sectors, Global Member Care Volume 2 (pp. 10-11).
The Blessing Music videos of this encouraging song, in multiple languages, during covid and beyond -----------
In this Updatewe turn our attention to the responsibility to steward creation well--our living in harmony with nature and protecting the earth. In so doing we honor the Creator and seek to bless the entire planet and all the peoples, and hence as far as the curse is found.
We feature the recent Special Address by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the State of the Planet (part one). This 28 minute video is a good way to overview and probe the ongoing climate-environment concerns and crises, actions and debates. This is the main item in the Update that we want to emphasize. And then as you have time and interest, part two encourages us to go deeper, presenting several resources related to climate and the environment for perspectives and insights (faith-based, civil society, UN).
Note that seven items below are in blue highlights--our suggestions for what to prioritize. It is impossible, and arguably irresponsible, for us to only share a couple items on such a crucial, vast, and diverse topic.
Guterres’ message (like the resources in this Update) does not shy away from presenting unpleasant news. In fact, it is disturbing. And it comes at a time when so many of us are really wanting—and needing—to hear some good news in our lives and world. Nonetheless, we encourage you to take the time to prioritize this Special Address, carefully review it, and discuss it with others.
We also continue to include Perspectives and Resources for Covid Care (part three). These materials have been compiled over the past nine months to support you, your family, your organization, and others in your life and to support your work in mission and member care.
Finally, as you go through the resources in this Update, consider the links between member care in mission and blessing the planet (creation care), blessing the peoples (humanity care), and battling the pandemic (covid care). This quote below--and others throughout this Update--will surely prime the pump!
“What percentage of non-Christians personally know a Christian?...The [research] results are startling in the sense that Christians and non-Christians appear to be living in quite separate worlds. This distance has implications for Christian missions but is also problematic when it comes to dialogue, peace initiatives, environmental and health challenges, and many other areas of human interaction. Our hope is that highlighting the problem will help in planning solutions for the future.” Todd Johnson, David Barrett, and Peter Crossing (2010, p. 29). Quoted in Charting Your Course through the Sectors, Global Member Care Volume 2 (pp. 9-10).
Warm greetings, Kelly and Michèle
--Share your comments and resources on our MCA Facebook page --Send us your ideas and resources for future MC Updates --Forward to your colleagues and networks MCAresources@gmail.com
Featured Resources Blessing the Planet--Blessing the Peoples
Image source: Global Peace Index, Institute for Economics and Peace
“To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken…Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back -- and it is already doing so with growing force and fury.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
“If Jesus is Lord of all the earth, we cannot separate our relationship to Christ from how we act in relation to the earth. For to proclaim the gospel that says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to proclaim the gospel that includes the earth, since Christ’s Lordship is over all creation. Creation care is thus a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ.”The Cape Town Commitment (7-A, We Love God's World, 2010)
“We are called to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ—the fullness of life, the repentance and forgiveness of sin, and the promise of eternal life—in word and deed, in a violent world where many are sacrificed to the idols of death (Jeremiah 32:35) and where many have not yet heard the gospel….We are called to care for God’s creation, and to be in solidarity with nations severely affected by climate change in the face of a ruthless human-centered exploitation of the environment for consumerism and greed.”The Arusha Call to Discipleship (2018)
Part One State of the Planet Our Suicidal War on Nature
Source: UN image
“I have detailed an emergency, but I also see hope. I see a history of advances that show what can be done – from rescuing the ozone layer to reducing extinction rates to expanding protected areas. Many cities are becoming greener. The circular economy is reducing waste. Environmental laws have growing reach. At least 155 United Nations Member States now legally recognize that a healthy environment is a basic human right. And the knowledge base is greater than ever”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
On 2 December at Columbia University, UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented an overview--and dire warning--on the woeful state of the planet. He also highlighted progress in improving aspects of the environment yet clearly emphasized the serious collaborative action that needs to take place at all levels--individual through international--to lessen and/or avert major catastrophes. We strongly encourage you to watch this address and to seriously consider--and critique from your vantage points--the assertions, concerns, and action steps outlined.You can access the video HERE (28 minutes). The text is available in the six official UN languages.
“We face three imperatives in addressing the climate crisis: First, we need to achieve global carbon neutrality within the next three decades. Second, we have to align global finance behind the Paris Agreement, the world’s blueprint for climate action. Third, we must deliver a breakthrough on adaptation to protect the world – and especially the most vulnerable people and countries -- from climate impacts”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
Part Two: Going Deeper Examples of Resources to Review
“Woe to you shepherds...who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?... Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34: 1,18 NIV).
“The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt” (Isaiah 24: 4-6, NIV).
Trash Vortexes in the Oceans Original source of the above image unknown. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Ocean, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, is the largest. This area covers about 1.6 million square kilometers--twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. More information: Ocean Cleanup; UN Environment Program, Oceans and Seas; SDG 14: ”Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development” (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Sustainable Development); and Addressing Marine Plastic: A Systemic Approach, UN (December 2019).
William Carey Publishing --People Trees, and Poverty, Lowell Bliss (2018). “With climate change, global warming, and the environment making headlines on an almost-daily basis, followers of Christ can find themselves asking, “What’s my role in this? What’s my responsibility? And how does it relate to the Great Commission?” People, Trees & Poverty shares a high-level overview, a snapshot, of what it looks like to reach the unreached through advocacy on environmental issues. However, this book does more than raise awareness and pluck your heartstrings. It concludes with a critical feature, listing additional resources, gatherings, and organizations to move the reader from concern to action.” This is a “snapshot” book. See the author’ longer book, Environmental Missions (2013).
--Biblical Wholism and Agriculture: Cultivating Our Roots. David Evans, Ronald Voss, Keith Wright (Editors, revised 2020). “New generations are championing responsibility for both the environment and those peoples who depend upon it in all new ways. Biblical Holism and Agriculture addresses the urgent need for constructing a holistic perspective, grounded in the Bible, to appraise the economic, social, ecological, environmental, and spiritual impact of globalization and the unprecedented impact of powerful agricultural technologies, and marketing systems. The holistic biblical perspectives within reference ancient Hebrew insights about responsible freedom for “keeping” the land by people created in the image of God as representatives commissioned to stewardship and justice.”
Mission Connexion Northwest (15-16 January 2021) --This a free online conference endorsed and sponsored by many organizations. Four of the 100+ workshops are on on creation care (e.g., creation care as a mission of God; environmental degradation as an opportunity for sharing the good news); four are on member care (e.g., promoting rest/preventing burnout; member care and global mental health); and four are on trauma care including in the context of COVID-19.
Lausanne Movement --Creation Care Network. “Stewardship of God’s creation (creation care) is a clear biblical command and an integral part of what it means to follow Jesus as Lord….But that’s not all: God’s creation is in the midst of a crisis that is ‘pressing, urgent, and that must be resolved in our generation’ (Jamaica Call to Action). This crisis, of which climate change and massive biodiversity loss are just a part, represents an existential threat to the future of human society. The Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network (LWCCN) is a collaborative effort of both Lausanne and the World Evangelical Alliance to mobilize the global church to respond to this crisis. LWCCN now reaches 130 countries and encourages Christians in every country to work together to heal God’s creation.
Roman Catholic Church --Laudate Sí: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis (encyclical, 2015) “13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home….43. Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture....188. There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. Here I would state once more that the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.”
United Nations Resources --Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action--A Greener, Cleaner, Brighter Future. “As the world looks to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing global recognition that the catalyst for transformational change is investment in a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience to climate impacts. In December, we highlight Sustainable Development Goal 13--Climate Action--as we mark the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change [along with other efffrots for] Climate Action and an end to an unprecedented year with an ambition to recover better, stronger and healthier.” (quote from website)
--Paris Climate Agreement 2015. “The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century. The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.” (quote from website)
UN and Civil Society-Related --The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was set up in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society." (quote from website)
--UN Global Compact. “Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Responsible businesses enact the same values and principles wherever they have a presence, and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. By incorporating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and planet, but also setting the stage for long-term success." Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.” (quote from web site)
--Psychology, History, and Human Rights. “Past and future generations need guardians to defend their latent interests in the face of capricious short-term policy decisions.” Global Network of Psychologists for Human Rights, Antoon De Baets (25 October 2020)
Concluding Remarks by UN Secretary-General António Guterres
“This is a moment of truth for people and planet alike. COVID and climate have brought us to a threshold. We cannot go back to the old normal of inequality, injustice and heedless dominion over the Earth. Instead we must step towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path. We have a blueprint: the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The door is open; the solutions are there. Now is the time to transform humankind’s relationship with the natural world – and with each other. And we must do so together. Solidarity is humanity. Solidarity is survival. That is the lesson of 2020.With the world in disunity and disarray trying to contain the pandemic, let’s learn the lesson and change course for the pivotal period ahead. Thank you.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
Part Three--Covid Care Perspectives and Resources Don't fear. Trust God. Do good.
Image courtesy and (c) ENOD 2017
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39 NIV
1. Perspectives Pandemics, like many crises, bring out the best and the worst in us--our selfless and our selfish qualities. The reality of the uncertainties and anxieties of life, and indeed survival--existential risk--is heavy upon the world. Positively, the current COVID-19 pandemic certainly provides plenty of opportunities for us all individually through internationally--to reflect on the types of people we want to be, the types of societies we need to build, and the types of changes we have to make.
We join together in solidarity with the world community's efforts, locally through globally, on behalf of covid-care and in hopes to stir up the heroic in all of us. We also note that the many overlapping, problems in our world continue unabated--shadow pandemics--even as this covid pandemic dominates the center stage globally: multi-dimensional poverty, protracted violence, human rights violations, gross inequalities, racism, mental ill health, environmental degradation, etc. This is the ongoing, cascading context--full of challenges and opportunities--in which member care resources need to be provided and developed for workers and their sending groups around the world. And from our faith-based perspective, as co-workers with God engaged in the many areas of “humanity care,” we live and work for God’s glory.
Our recent Updates below are compiled for helping ourselves and others withcovid care. Examples of issues/resources: anxiety, trauma, depression, confinement, loneliness, loss, grief, relationship strains, coping for children, work insecurities, spiritual struggles, uncertainty/concerns about what is going on, etc. Have a look!
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a Christian non-profit organization working internationally and across sectors. We focus on personnel development for mission, humanitarian, development, and health workers and their organizations; global mental health; ethics and good practice; and integrity/anti-corruption. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications.
Our Special News-Updates1) promote the wellbeing and effectiveness (WE) of staff and sending groups and 2) support the diversity of colleagues with member care responsibilities. The focus is on the mission sector with applications for/from the overlapping health, development, and humanitarian sectors.
Global Integration(GI) is a framework for responsibly and actively engaging in our world--collaborating locally through globally for God's glory. It encourages connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). See more perspectives about GI HERE.
Disclaimer: The material and information in these Updates are shared as a service to the community and should not be seen as an endorsement by MCA or as a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice.