Fellow Publishes Creation Care Action Plans
The end of July marked the end of Katie Isaac’s Climate Futures Fellowship, in which she spent the past year working on a series of Creation Care Action Plans. These plans are “designed to help congregations see creation care as a part of God’s redemptive work and take part in God’s vision of reconciliation for all creation. Each plan strives to meet churches where they are and empower them towards further creation care action.” Her work was “informed and inspired by the experiences of Anabaptist pastors” in the United States and Canada.
A native of Fresno, California, with roots in Kansas, Katie attended Fresno Pacific University. She graduated in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Political Science. It was there she realized her “love for the natural world and love for Christ were connected,” she explained. Growing up in the church, she always felt like she had to choose between her love for Christ and her “passion for environmentalism.” This realization prompted Katie to “teach others about the importance of this connection and explore why Christians like me believed that Christian responsibility excluded caring about creation.” A professor then introduced her to the Center, where she felt empowered through internships, a student ambassador position, and a year-long fellowship. These opportunities allowed her to explore her passion, hone her skills, and pursue her goal of highlighting for others the deep connection between faith and the natural world.
The idea for the Creation Care Action Plans initially arose out of her outreach internship with the Center in 2018. During this time, she “came across many churches with the same creation care challenges: ‘We want to do something, but don’t know where to start,’ ‘We have done a few things, but our actions are disconnected,’ ‘We feel alone in this work and it’s hard to feel like we are making a difference.’” These common questions lead her to focus her 2019 senior research at Fresno Pacific on Christian creation care communication. She then continued and expanded upon that work through her fellowship with the Center and the development of these plans.
When asked to describe the fellowship, Katie responded, “[it] empowered me to follow a passion I had and gave me the tools I needed to make a dream into a reality.” Through the support of our Student Program Coordinator, Daniel Bellerose, Katie was able to create a project that met the needs of churches. She “worked independently for a year, with weekly check-ins, and feedback from Daniel.” In addition, she was able to travel to Goshen, Indiana for pastoral interviews, attend a conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and meet with the Sustainability Alumni Network in Bluffton, Ohio.
Some of Katie’s favorite moments during the fellowship were when she was able to interview over 20 pastors at various levels of creation care engagement. “It was such a joy to talk with each of them and learn about their experiences with creation care,” she said. “They shared their passions, concerns, challenges, and needs with me. It was so humbling and encouraging to hear of their experiences.” “Even congregations who were exploring creation care for the first time,” she went on to explain, “found that they had taken steps to steward their resources and were excited to learn that their current passions could be utilized towards caring for creation.”
Regarding the fellowship, Katie learned “there are so many ways that churches care for creation and that we need all those ways to steward the goodness that God has created.” We are so grateful for Katie’s hard and dedicated work and for her example over this past year. Katie’s passion for including congregations in climate action and conversations is a source of inspiration and motivation for us. Katie, along with all of our student leaders, gives the Center hope and reminds us why we do what we do. We wish Katie all the best as she moves from Harrisonburg to Washington state for an AmeriCorps position and just hope she will come back to visit us from time to time!
Click here to check out Katie’s Creation Care Action Plans. You will be guided through a short quiz to inform you which plan will best suit your needs. There is also a cumulative resource page with materials from trusted, faith-based organizations on creation care. While you’re at it, feel free to peruse our new resource page!
Article written by Judith Marklin
2020 Communications Intern