Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February EARTH Keeper: Abby Mohaupt

EARTH Keeper: abby mohaupt
by Sue Smith

It is a season of awards for EARTH’s co-editor, abby mohaupt. She is the recipient of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s 2017 Peaceseeker Award for her “Prophetic & Pastoral Leadership for Creation Care.” And this month she is Presbyterians for Earth Care’s EARTH-Keeper, which highlights an individual who is an eco-justice advocate and who has done something extraordinary for God’s creation. The Peace Fellowship article announcing the award does an excellent job of telling the story leading up to abby becoming the moderator of Fossil Free PCUSA.

abby and I spoke about the next few months of work for Fossil Free PCUSA. Central to that vision is her commitment to working for divestment of individuals, congregations, and middle governing bodies as a witness to the need for the denomination to categorically divest from the fossil fuel industry. Additionally, she's interested in how to continue to build relationships with Mission Responsibility Through Investments (MRTI) and Faithful Alternatives to best serve God’s creation. 

photo on left is abby with Colleen Earp an Eco-Steward and member of PPF's Activist Council. on right, abby is with Katie Preston, a member of the EARTH committee and FFPCUSA Steering Committee

But more importantly, how does caring for God’s creation grow as a touchstone in the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA)?

Right now there are a number of already existing opportunities: urging churches to be Earth Care Congregations, advocating fossil fuel divestment at all levels of the church, and recommending investment in the Presbyterian Foundation’s socially responsible fossil free investment option and the Board of Pensions’ fossil free option for retirement accounts. These last two options are a direct result of the divestment movement in the church.

abby recently co-convened (with Timothy Wotring and James Martin) a cohort of young adults from around the US and Mexico at Stony Point to talk about the state of the Presbyterian Church and Climate Change. It was also an opportunity for the participants to connect with the work of the Peace Fellowship and Presbyterians for Earth Care, and as the emerging leadership of the church, connecting with each other. The gathering was one part history of environmental leadership in the church, another part state of climate change science, and a lot the brainstorming about what the participants wanted to see in the denomination going forward and what actions they were willing to take.

At the gathering they wrestled with how much more the church could be doing. The conversation was unapologetic in it's exploration of poverty, race, gender, and immigration as intersecting issues with climate change. Participants wondered how the church can be a prophetic witness in the face of environmental injustice and systems of oppression, and they committed to spending the next few months taking action to move the PCUSA in prophetic ways.

It is an honor for me to work with abby on EARTH and other creation care efforts. I am excited by the vision that abby has for this work, and to know that she is leading this generation of earth care activists in helping all of us be the church of Jesus Christ.

Sue Smith is co-editor of EARTH.

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