Conservation and the Church: A survey of 100 churches on climate change

Fri 4:00pm - 4:50pm

Venue: Episcopal


Nearly every major Christian denomination has issued strong statements on climate change, yet the Pew Research Center has found that just 22% of U.S. churchgoers hear about the environment in church. What causes this disconnect between national Christian leaders and their local churches? In 2018, while a graduate student in religion and ecology at Yale's divinity and forestry schools, Rev. Nathan Empsall surveyed more than 100 responding Episcopal congregations to find out how they incorporate the environment into their ministry, what motivates them to do this work, and what challenges or objections keep them from doing more. The goal of this survey is to help environmental communicators, advocates, and theologians meet congregations where they are, improving resource offerings to ultimately motivate more people of faith to take environmental actions. Respondents were diverse in size and geography, so survey results will likely be applicable to other liturgical and mainline denominations. After discussing survey findings, this session will ask participants to share their own observations about what churches are and are not doing about climate change and environmental justice in their regions, what challenges they have faced in trying to start or sustain this work, and what we might do together to overcome these challenges.