Lutherans Worry about Human-Caused Damage to Creation

The environment is "under stress" and animals and plants are disappearing, alerted a church leader at the Lutheran World Federation's Council meeting last week where climate change and its effect was the main focus.

LWF's general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, said climate change is a global problem and the melting snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is an indication that the environment is "under stress," according to the Lutheran World Information.

He was explaining why the LWF and the Council's host church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), had chosen the theme, "Melting Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro: A Witness of a Suffering Creation," as the focus of its meeting, which took place June 25-30.

ELCT, a church that has long raised concern about climate change, said although experts may disagree on whether significant amounts of snow has melted on Mount Kilimanjaro, there was enough evidence of change on Africa's highest mountain, its forests and other habitations over the past few decades.

The church's general secretary, Bighton Killewa, said the LWF's theme is meant to be a "signal" of the need "to take care of our environment."

LWF president Bishop Mark S. Hanson, who is also presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, added that shrinking water bodies and receding glaciers are also indications of the climate change problem.

"Global climate change is an undeniable reality," Hanson said. "The documentation is voluminous and the consequences are inescapable."

He denounced humans' treatment of creation is as if creation's existence was intended "to serve and glorify the human race," rather than God. The earth's value, he criticized, was being measured by its "utility to human aspiration."

Besides climate change, the Council also discussed food insecurity, population growth, and unfair trade policies.

An estimated 170 participants attended this year's Council meeting, which ends on Monday. The Council is the governing body meeting between Assemblies, held every six years.

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