University UMC to host National Faith and Climate Forum

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The National Faith and Climate Forum 2024 will be livestreamed in the Safe Harbor Worship Center at University United Methodist Church (UUMC), 3501 Patrick St., Tuesday, April 16, 11 a.m.–4:15 p.m.

The National Faith and Climate Forum is a hybrid in-person and online event that aims to unite congregations across the country to discuss the ways that climate change is affecting church communities, and what actionable steps can be taken.

UUMC’s decision to host the forum livestream is a result of multi-organizational connections formed by a common goal. The event is in conjunction with For a Better Bayou and Blessed Tomorrow.

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For a Better Bayou is an organization that was founded in 2023 to “reshape the narrative and reality of Louisiana from a state plagued by environmental and economic challenges to one that thrives on equality, sustainability, and a deep sense of community,” according to James Hiatt, director of the organization.

Blessed Tomorrow – a coalition of religious entities committed to advancing faith-based climate solutions – is the forum’s original organizer.

Hiatt, a UUMC member, said that the “collective power to foster change” is garnered by church communities coming together. That belief is what the forum is rooted in.

“By understanding the current environmental crisis and its theological implications, congregations can take meaningful action towards sustainability and resilience.”

The nationwide participation in the forum is vast; Over 50 different churches will serve as hosts, he said. UUMC will be the only location in Southwest Louisiana that will be live-streaming the forum.

The scheduled sessions will comprehensively discuss and address the spiritual and practical aspects of climate change, he said.

“These discussions are rooted in the belief that faith informs our interaction with the world and our stewardship of the environment.”

Some of the topics will include: building thriving congregations, discussing how climate impacts congregations, fostering congregational and community resilience, caring for neighbors and “exploring ways to care for creation.”

Several reverends will participate as speakers, including Rev. Micael Malcolm, executive director, People’s Justice Council, Rev. Otis Moss, senior pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Rev. Chebon Kernell, executive director, Native American Comprehensive Plan, The United Methodist Church.

Hiatt said that the key focus of the forum will be the intersections of faith and environmental stewardship, with the goal of reframing the common interpretation of the theological principle of dominion.

“It challenges the interpretation of dominion over the earth as domination, instead advocating for a relationship of cherishing and protecting creation, as suggested by the second creation story in Genesis. This perspective is crucial for encouraging a shift from abusing to cherishing the natural world.”

The event is free and open to the public, including non-UUMC members. Free lunch will be provided.

Those interested in attending the forum at UUMC can register online at