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In Maine, heart rethinks non secular management for a climate-changed international – Faith Information Carrier



(RNS) — Recycling. Rain gardens. Reusable cups at espresso hour. Those are acquainted steps religion communities take in line with the environmental disaster. However in Portland, Maine, a company that goals to foster non secular management for a climate-changed international goes past the strange, even the bodily — past even energy-efficient bulbs. 
“The ones are all issues we wish to be doing needless to say,” stated the Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, govt director of The BTS Middle, “however we’re in reality seeking to take a step or two again and take into consideration the weather disaster as a symptom, quite than as the issue.”
At The BTS Middle, an outgrowth of a now-defunct United Church of Christ seminary, fascinated with the non secular sector’s reaction to weather exchange is fueled by way of a commonplace conviction: that the weather disaster is a non secular disaster. 
Ewing-Merrill, a United Methodist minister, is as accustomed to the writings of environmental attorney Gus Speth as he’s the introduction narratives in Genesis. Ewing-Merrill is answerable for introducing the project of weather disaster reaction to The BTS Middle after he joined the group in 2019. 
RELATED: There’s no ignoring the Superb Courtroom’s motivations in ruling in opposition to the EPA
That imaginative and prescient is now shared by way of a staff of clergy, students, artists and activists who make up The BTS Middle personnel. In combination those practitioners have evolved a breadth of ecologically targeted programming, starting from artwork occasions to preaching workshops to ebook teams to nature retreats
Other people attend a Marvel and Wander daylong retreat arranged by way of The BTS Middle at Wells Reserve in Wells, Maine, in autumn 2021. Maine Grasp Naturalist Linda Littlefield Grenfell, best proper, led the tour. Picture courtesy of The BTS Middle
Visitor audio system and collaborators come with writer and non secular director Victoria Loorz, a central determine within the Wild Church Community, and Jerusalem Rabbi Yonatan Neril, founder and govt director of The Interfaith Middle for Sustainable Construction and co-author of the 2020 bestseller “Eco Bible.”
“Local weather isn’t in reality a parts-per-million drawback,” stated Ben Yosua-Davis, The BTS Middle’s director of carried out analysis. As an alternative, Yosua-Davis describes the average metrics of weather exchange because the “maximum visual, pressing, concrete manifestation of a suite of religious roots that pass a lot deeper.” 
The BTS Middle’s personal roots stretch again to the founding of Bangor Theological Seminary in 1814. “I shaggy dog story regularly (that) we’re a 200-year-old startup,” stated Yosua-Davis, who additionally co-hosts The BTS Middle’s new podcast, Local weather Modified
Whilst The BTS Middle is solely distinct from the previous seminary, which closed its doorways to scholars in 2013, it understands itself to be construction on Bangor’s ecumenical custom. 
That legacy continues to undergo ecumenical fruit. The BTS Middle engages other folks from throughout mainline and non-denominational Christian church buildings, Quaker, Jewish and Buddhist communities, as smartly those that establish as non secular however no longer non secular. 
For clergy in New England, The BTS Middle has been a welcome supply of group. “I simply felt like at BTS, I may are compatible in,” stated Doretta Colburn, a UCC pastor of 29 years who lately serves Waterford Congregational Church in southwest Maine. 
“I’ve all the time appeared for a strategy to mesh my figuring out of my religion and lend a hand deliver others alongside, with the surroundings and all of introduction,” Colburn advised RNS. “It used to be like they have been talking my language,” she stated of the folk she met at a convocation there ultimate 12 months.
The Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, govt director of The BTS Middle. Video display screen grasp
Language does numerous paintings on the heart. “We’re deliberately the use of ‘weather replaced’ in a type of provocative means — with a ‘d’ at the finish,” stated Ewing-Merrill, noting that the weather disaster is “no longer one thing that’s off one day” however, quite, “the truth of the arena wherein we are living.” 
However The BTS Middle personnel are transparent that their hobby isn’t in abstraction however in apply. 
One such apply is grieving. Probably the most heart’s earliest ecologically targeted programming, which coincided with the early months of the worldwide pandemic, inquisitive about rituals that identified eco-grief. 
The consequences of weather exchange on psychological well being is a phenomenon identified by way of the American Mental Affiliation, and phrases like eco-grief or climate-grief are an increasing number of used to explain the loss other folks really feel in mild of environmental destruction. 
Final fall, The BTS Middle started “Lament with Earth,” a chain of 5 digital rituals in collaboration with Chicago tune crew The Many who adopted the seasons of the liturgical 12 months. The grief sequence stuck the eye of Tyler Nelson, a divinity pupil learning Faith and Ecology at Yale Divinity Faculty. 

“The rising cultural consciousness of eco-grief is revealing the loss of lamentation in religion communities, particularly the ones which might be predominantly white,” Nelson stated, including that he “used to be interested in the inventive paintings that The BTS Middle is doing round such practices of eco-emotional expression.” 
Nelson used to be additionally attracted by way of The BTS Middle’s apply of creativeness. At The BTS Middle, Nelson says, “creativeness is a distinctive feature, an integral part within the paintings of spiritual and non secular management.”
One program the place creativeness is obviously at play is The BTS Middle’s analysis collaborative, a co-learning group of 8 nonprofit teams which might be asking a easy query: How would organizations act otherwise as of late in the event that they embodied an ecological creativeness?
“The fundamental type is to regard organizations like organisms, no longer machines,” stated Yosua-Davis, who in his function as director of carried out analysis takes copious box notes and appears for topics that pop out of dialogue classes.
The shift clear of what Yosua-Davis calls a “mechanistic creativeness” makes means for an figuring out of ecology this is, in step with personnel at The BTS Middle, hooked up with the flora and fauna, localized and extremely relational.
RELATED: Why Indigenous communities want a seat on the desk on weather
Ben Yosua-Davis. Picture courtesy of The BTS Middle
Present analysis collaborative members don’t essentially paintings in congregational settings or also have a non secular background. Spirituality isn’t just about non secular association, Yosua-Davis stated, however “about how you notice the arena and what your private values are.”
The middle welcomes those companions, such because the Boston Meals Wooded area Coalition and the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, that experience sensible knowledge in addressing as of late’s deep non secular crises. 
The BTS Middle may be bringing the apply of creativeness to native parishes in New England. “Because of the easy narratives of residing in an international this is obsessive about enlargement and with cash,” stated Yosua-Davis, “in the event you’re a small congregation, there’s frequently more or less a running assumption that by some means you’re poor.” 
The Small Church Management Group, co-facilitated by way of Ewing-Merrill and Colburn, is supposed to handle precisely this drawback. The crowd, which is able to meet in combination periodically over 5 months, seeks to nurture practices that strengthen non secular and ecological creativeness in small-scale congregational lifestyles.
Pastor Linda Brewster, a graduate of Bangor Theological Seminary who now serves at Tuttle Highway Group Church in Cumberland, Maine, used to be interested in the Small Management Group by way of this emphasis on creativeness. “We wish to lend a hand other folks to be extra inventive in fascinated with what the church of the long run must deliver to the group,” stated Brewster, whose church has about 50 contributors energetic in ministry methods however simplest about 30 in church on Sunday.
“I truthfully assume that we’re going again to the time of the small church,” stated Brewster. “With the whole lot that’s took place with the pandemic, it appears like we’re going again to wanting extra intimate, unique conversations, having higher relationships with one some other.” 
Ewing-Merrill is of the same opinion. We’re “in reality seeking to have fun the small and resilient,” he stated. “Because the weather disaster intensifies and we revel in an increasing number of sorts of communal trauma and communal grief about what’s took place to the arena round us … we’d like more fit, important, resilient, small church buildings. Now not fewer of them.” 


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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother




The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “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,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God




The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement




The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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