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Environmentalism and the Black Church: New Frontiers

A recent article from the Religion News Network highlights Trinity United Church of Christ, a Black congregation in Chicago, that focuses much of its energy on the environment, and much of its congregational cultural focus surrounds issues of the environment. The article reads,

They recycle their church bulletins, plan to renovate their building with a “green” roof and have purchased 27 acres for a community project that will include an urban farm.

But the pastor, Reverend Otis Moss III, reports that for many pastors, environmentalism isn’t a primary focus. They tell Moss, “That’s your thing.”

The environment has been of rising importance in many religious groups, aligning the protection of the Earth with being a good steward of what God has provided.

The article goes on to describe how Reverend Ambrose Carroll, a pastor at a congregation in Berkeley, CA, created a video that links the environment to particular social problems rampant in the Black community, such as children with asthma.

Health and stewardship appear to be two popular ways to frame the environmental debate for people — Black congregations as well as others — to engage listeners. These issues can become rallying cries, and congregational foci that separate a particular congregation from others in its community.

Ellen Childs
About the Author
Dr. Ellen Childs holds a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Notre Dame. She is Website Director at