Creation Justice Church
Medford UCC has been active with a Green Team and Justice and Peace Team for over a decade. In 2018 the Church became certified as a Climate Justice Church (see the Application and Medford UCC Covenant below.) Since then we have been active in the defeat of the proposed LNG pipeline; advocated for the passage of three climate-related bills in the 2021 Oregon Legislature; and interfaith climate action in the Rogue Valley.
Medford Congregational United Church of Christ
Creation Justice Church Application
September 17, 2018
Creation Justice Church Context for Medford United Church of Christ
As we write this application to become a UCC Creation Justice Church, the members of our church community have been living inside a thick haze of wildfire smoke through most of the summer. Our county and the surrounding counties are filled with some 40 fires that started in July and more that started in August from lightning strikes and human causes. We listen every night to the fire report on the local news to learn what areas have been issued evacuation notices and air quality alerts. During the day, we hear helicopters and airplanes flying overhead carrying water and retardant to fight the fires.
Our condition stems directly from climate change. Fire season in Southern Oregon has been starting earlier and earlier and lasting longer and longer year by year. Winters bring us less rain and reduced snowpack which creates summer drought conditions, diminished water supplies, hot dry weather, warming temperatures in our creeks and rivers, and impacts on wildlife, including our iconic species of salmon.
Ranchers and native tribes all depend on water levels for irrigation and traditional salmon catches, which results in ongoing fights over water rights.
Illness increases from air pollution among vulnerable populations.
Cooling centers for the homeless population in summer are as important as warming centers in winter. Police do crackdowns on our creekside greenway to empty homeless camps where several fires have started.
Economic impacts from smoke on our economy include downtown businesses, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Britt outdoor concert venue, Rogue River sports, hiking, camping, and fishing.
Dry conditions increase disease in forest trees, forest fuels, and dry soils.
Over 10 have died this summer from fire including a homeless man living on Bear Creek Greenway, residents in Northern California, and several firefighters.
Climate change and environmental impacts have become a daily challenge to the entire population of Southern Oregon. Our faith requires us to pay attention and act together for creation justice.
Medford UCC Creation Justice Covenant
We the members of the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ affirm our connections to God, each other, and the world around us. We all depend on our earthly home, yet there is an injustice in the distribution of environmental burdens and benefits.
We commit ourselves to confront the human abuses of creation which increasingly cause human and other living species to suffer and many to die.
We pledge to stay awake and aware of our responsibilities as God’s stewards of Earth and to act in ways that protect and respect it.
Therefore, with God’s help as individuals and as a congregation, we enter this Creation Justice Covenant.