PCUSA Updates Policy on Energy After 20 Years

For the first time in 23 years, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) named a committee to revise the Presbyterian Church USA’s policy on energy. The committee is slated to hold its first meeting in March in Washington DC.

“The meeting will provide the team with an opportunity to draw upon the diverse and rich resources within this community as it engages in a critical dialogue about current legislative energy issues,” said the Rev. Belinda M. Curry, ACSWP’s associate for Policy Development and Interpretation.

According to the ACSWP, the ordinance for the committee came in 2002 following the severe energy crises that shocked the nation.

The 2002 General Assembly called on the church to “to address the issue of energy in light of the current national and international concern over energy production, consumption, cost, patterns of distribution and energy security.”

The overture called energy a “multifaceted and controversial issue,” and noted, “The rolling blackouts on the West Coast and the skyrocketing cost of heating in the Northeast have made energy a concern to congregations and church members.”

At that end, the committee’s goal would be to develop resources for educating congregations and church organizations about “the cost-effectiveness of investing in building renovation and of using energy-efficient technologies, such as compact fluorescent lighting rather than incandescent lighting.” It also calls for “resources advising church bodies about denominational and secular programs in energy conservation and stewardship.”

“Church leaders and members need to reaffirm our Reformed ethical values of frugality and simplicity, and actively promote conservation of energy as a positive Christian virtue,” the overture said.

The energy team committee members are Donna Bradley, an attorney and elected ACSWP member from de Cristo Presbytery; Claudia L. Brown, an environmental consultant and freelance technical writer from the Presbytery of Lake Erie; Frank S. Gillian, a professor of biological sciences from the Presbytery of West Virginia; Douglas R. Hooker, an engineer from the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta; Sarah J. Kinney, a graduate student from the Presbytery of Wyoming; Pamela P. McVety, a retired environmental administrator from the Presbytery of Florida; Paige Murphy-Young, a retired lawyer from the Presbytery of Grand Canyon; Jananne Sharpless, a consultant and elected member of ACSWP from the Presbytery of Los Ranchos; Richard E. Shore, a retired professor of biology and industrial engineer from Transylvania Presbytery; and John C. Topping, Jr., a corporate executive from National Capital Presbytery.

In addition, staff support will be provided by Andrew Kang Bartlett, an associate for National Hunger Concerns in the Presbyterian Hunger Program in Worldwide Ministries; Carolynn Race, an associate for Domestic Poverty and Environmental Issues for the Washington Office; and the Rev. Bill Somplatsky-Jarman, associate for Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) in National Ministries. The Rev. Robert Stivers, a professor of religion and Christian ethics from Olympia Presbytery, will serve as a consultant and primary writer.