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Net Zero team seeks to Do No Harm to God’s good creation

Posted: February 20 2023 at 07:57 PM
Author: Rev. Violet Johnicker, Pastor at Brooke Road UMC in Rockford, IL and Associate Director of Rockford Urban Ministries

“As a church, we are called to take care of creation. The United Methodist Church and now our own Net Zero Team, offer us countless ways to practice stewardship that increases care of the planet,” Bishop Dan Scherwin reflects. “The NIC Net Zero team will open conversations and help put new ways of stewarding the earth into action. This is the start of building and sharing long-term creation care efforts in our churches.”

Bishop Schwerin’s comments echo John Wesley’s call to: do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.  Of all the areas in which living out these goals can be transformative, the one at the very center is the way we care for creation.  Everything about how we live and every other issue we address is intertwined with the health of our planet.  God gave us the beautiful gift of this Earth, and called us to be its stewards.  Yet, we have used and abused that blessing in shortsighted ways, centering convenience and profits over people and all forms of life. (see UMC Social Principles paragraph 160.D United Methodist Book of Discipline.)         

Net Zero Group

The NIC Net Zero team met on Jan. 20, 2023 to begin planning NIC actions toward Net-Zero emissions goals.

The Northern Illinois Conference has the vision to do no harm to our planet by reducing the emissions of our church properties as close as we can to zero.  To work on this goal, we are proud to announce the formation of the Net Zero Team, co-chaired by Richard Alton and Rev. Nancy Blade.  On January 20th, leaders from all five districts gathered in Glenview to pray and plan together.  The results of this meeting can be viewed in detail here. Led by facilitators Bruce Williams and Samantha Sainsbury, five working teams were formed centered around the goals of creating educational resources, executing specific actions, sharing motivational communication, including nature in worship, and promoting conference-level activities. 

“I have found so many things to celebrate as I learn more and more about the Northern Illinois Conference every day. The work of leaders in developing informational and actionable plans to care for creation is one of the gifts I celebrate,” Bishop Dan Schwerin observes.

An ambitious work plan means that you’ll be seeing much more from this team in the weeks and months to come, and we encourage you to take this important work of being good stewards of God’s good creation seriously. To learn more or get involved, follow the Net Zero Team Facebook page and visit the new website at

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