Stewards, not subduers

Why one church joined The Intertwine Alliance

My name is Jerry Magee, and I’m the current President of the South Park Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship (I know, but our fellowship predates the popular, similarly-named cartoon by over 30 years). We're a church, and also a partner of The Intertwine Alliance.

What’s the connection, you ask, between a religious organization and the nature-based Intertwine Alliance? Why did we unanimously agree to join after Alliance Executive Director Mike Wetter kindly spoke at our Fellowship’s Earth Month service a couple years ago?

We believe it’s a total connection—which is something we’re all about.

In a world of increasing disconnect with the natural environment, we participate with and support organizations, such as the Intertwine Alliance, which attempt to overcome this societal trend. The Alliance’s efforts closely match a mission that we wholeheartedly endorse: to “foster an awareness that care for creation is integral to a life of faith.”

This mission comes from the Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns. As a program of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the Interfaith Network carries out a mission of earth stewardship—to connect, inform, inspire and empower people, congregations and religious institutions to work for justice and the care and renewal of the earth.

Our members similarly work for social justice and the care and renewal of the earth. We believe that we’ve inherited an exquisitely beautiful gift, and that an entity that professes to honor the Creator cannot condone desecrating the Creation. We subscribe to the Biblical translations that describe our role as stewards rather than subduers of the earth.

The Intertwine Alliance resonated with us because of its commitment to “ensure that the region’s trail network gets completed; that our natural areas get restored, and that people of all ages discover they can enjoy the outdoors near where they live.” Doing so equitably across the region will raise the quality of life for all of our Metro Area citizens. 

By linking neighborhoods and communities in every corner of the Metro Area, the Intertwine Alliance can ensure safe and healthful alternatives to automobile transportation for all citizens while promoting inter-community communication, cooperation, and common connections with the natural environment.​

These outcomes serve four of the seven principles that Unitarian Universalist congregations together affirm and promote—the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; the goal of world community, with peace, liberty and justice for all; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.

Although small in size, our Fellowship continues to vocally (in public venues), financially (through donations), politically (through our votes) and, as we’re able, physically support environmental and social justice issues and, particularly, organizations such as the Intertwine Alliance that serve to promote both.

As I said, our connection with The Intertwine Alliance is total, and it’s one we plan to maintain long into the future.

Jerry Magee is the current President of the South Park Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in West Linn, Oregon. He and his family have been members of this small congregation since 1988. For more information about the Fellowship, please visit their website.

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