While I was out west this summer, I took a few road trips with my favorite traveling companion, my wife. Along the way we stopped in a couple of small towns. The glory days of both these two communities seemed to be long gone. One town was an historic logging community and the other a mining town.
For centuries humans have used the natural resources in their environment for their own personal use and for their livelihood. Often we have done so without any regard for future generations or the folks down the river from us. Last year, our Mission Opportunity focus for ECMN was on Engaging God’s Mission through Engaging all God’s Creation. During this year, many of our faith communities and individuals took important steps toward decreasing our impact on God’s creation and the impact we have on our neighbors. And yet there is so much important work to be done.
Our neighbors in North Dakota, specifically the people of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, find their lives both historically and presently impacted by those disregarding God’s creation. As people of faith called to be good stewards of God’s creation, it is important that we stand with those who are being marginalized. Presiding Bishop Curry recently wrote the following:
“We are called to do our part to urge decision makers to recognize and honor the efforts to protect the sacred water and burial grounds threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Pipeline, if completed, would stretch over one thousand miles and transport 540,000 barrels of crude oil through hallowed North Dakota burial grounds every day. A rupture in its infrastructure could wreak untold havoc on the Sioux and catastrophically pollute the Missouri River, a sacred tributary that the Sioux people depend upon for their daily water.”
The Presiding Bishop has encouraged all Episcopalians to unite with the people of Standing Rock as they protest those disrespecting their history, home and God’s creation “so, while we cannot all physically stand in the Camp of Sacred Stones today, let us hold, both in spoken word and silent prayer, the aspirations of the Sioux people and urge our policymakers to protect and responsibly steward our water, the sacred gift from God that sustains us all.”
If you have not done so, I would encourage you to read the full text of Presiding Bishop Curry’s statement here.