Social Justice Committee focuses on aid for wetlands education center
‘Nothing is being done in Louisiana,’ was plea of one attendee
A recommendation for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to establish financial support for a coastal wetlands education center in south Louisiana was one of several items approved Monday by the 219th General Assembly Committee on Social Justice Issues: the Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World.
The measure, sponsored by South Louisiana Presbytery, passed unanimously after a lengthy discussion on the exact amount of funding being requested.
During open hearings, the Rev. Kris Peterson of Bayou Blue Presbyterian Church of the South Louisiana Presbytery, made a tearful plea in support of the recommendation and on behalf of the people of South Louisiana.
“Indigenous populations in the wetlands of south Louisiana are disappearing by the day,” Peterson said. “Many cultures will vanish if we do not take action now. Restoration efforts in areas of the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades are given high priorities, but nothing is being done in Louisiana. We are losing communities and nobody is paying attention. We need your help.”
Along with a request for funding for the education center, the measure also asks the General Assembly to work with the Presbytery of South Louisiana to develop and make available resources on the implications of coastal wetlands loss for God’s creation and God’s community, to examine the role of corporations and institutions in the destruction of the wetlands, and to advocate with members of the U.S. Congress to take measures to restore land lost due to coastal erosion in delta regions of Louisiana.
Other items approved to be sent to the full Assembly:
- By a unanimous vote, a recommendation to endorse the Charter For Compassion;
- By a vote of 50-2-2, a recommendation to review efforts regarding cultural proficiency and creating a climate for change in PC(USA);
- By a unanimous vote, a recommendation to lift up “Call to Restore the Creation,” originally adopted as part of Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice by the 202nd General Assembly (1990).
- By a unanimous vote, a recommendation that GA bring to the attention of the church significant trends and developments in human rights, particularly in the areas of trafficking, detention of immigrants, and the continuing problem of torture.