Stewards of Creation
The Louisiana Interchurch Conference (LIC) was formed to serve in part as a collective voice of a significant portion of the Christian churches and faith communities in our state. In the 1980s the attention of the conference turned to the coast and the loss of land along the coastal parishes. The LIC joined its corporate voice with others in advocating for ways to restore the coast and to draw attention to the call of all Christians to be good stewards of creation. At our Annual Assembly in March, Helen Rose Patterson, Greater New Orleans Outreach Coordinator with Restore the Mississippi River Delta, and Alisha Renfro, staff scientist with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), provided an update on the efforts to restore the coast or at least to slow if not stop the land loss. Their presentations were a poignant reminder to people of faith to exercise faithful stewardship so that generations to come will enjoy the beauty of our coast.
Earlier this month I was a guest of Helen Rose along with Bishop Morris Thompson and a colleague, Father Harry Jenkins, who were interested in working in partnership with those advocating for coastal restoration. The five of us were in the boat behind some trees near the Mississippi River as the winds of a fresh cold front swept around us moving some dark clouds away. Water was everywhere around us except for the new growth of grasses, trees and other vegetation nourished by the rich river sediment. In my imagination I went back in history several millennia to recover a description from a primeval story: “Darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit (wind) of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
The creative process of the Spirit wasn’t just a one-time event, I think. No, that day in the boat I saw along with my companions not just the resilience of creation in the life of the creatures and the elements sustaining this part of the world along the Louisiana coast; but also that creation is ongoing and ever changing and renewing itself. The coast may seem old, but on this day, it seemed so fresh and new.
So, the Church, its members and other people of faith are to serve as stewards of creation so that generations to come can enjoy the beauty that appeared before my eyes. Richie Blink, NWF’s Plaquemines Parish Outreach Coordinator, and Helen Rose were wonderful guides and were so helpful in pointing out the need to restore our coast to the best of our abilities. That means for me to be an advocate, a voice for the coast, and to join with others who see a calling to help in sustaining the life and wonders of the Louisiana coastline.
In a way, we are called to be partners with nature, coworkers with the Spirit to enable a future for those to come. Everyone has a role to play from the scientist to the fisher, to the one who simply takes a boat ride with friends and discovers anew what it means to be a steward of creation. Nature and the Spirit say, “Come.”
If your church, synagogue, mosque or temple would like to schedule a field trip, please contact Helen Rose Patterson via email at PattersonH@nwf.org.
About the Author:
Rev. Dan Krutz is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, a statewide association of churches with offices in Baton Rouge. Rev. Krutz received his BA from Southern Methodist University, Master of Divinity from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in New Haven, CT and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. Rev. Krutz was ordained as an Episcopal Priest in 1971. He has served in several Churches around Louisiana. He currently serves as Priest of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Denham Springs.