View this email in your browser
Prayerfully reflecting on the disaster on my doorstep

4 August 2021

Dear Matthias,

I can still remember this afternoon in July well: At our home in Hennef, a little west of Bonn/Germany, it rained unusually hard and unusually long. Rain is part of a normal summer in Germany. But this day was somehow different: It didn't want to stop raining.

During the night we realized: Something is different. Very different. I have the German disaster warning app "Nina" installed on my smartphone. And it was no longer standing still: flood warnings, news of the evacuation of a village, warnings of the danger of a dam breaking.... We became aware: something is not right. This seems to be something big. But we still had no idea how big it would be.

The next morning brought the first disaster reports: Only about 60 kilometers from our home, east of Bonn, nothing was the same anymore. Whole villages had been razed to the ground during the night by the masses of water, families were rescued by helicopter from the roofs of their houses trapped by water. Torrential rivers had rushed through the historic streets of tranquil and picturesque tourist towns, taking with them everything that stood in their way. The terrible realization was that this included people who could not get to safety in time. Several friends of ours and members of churches in Bonn whom we have known for years were affected, some of them in the worst way: Missing family members, flooded houses, cars washed away, destroyed interior furnishings.

The situation in the disaster area is still terrible almost two weeks after the night of the catastrophe. But what moves us at a deeper level in these times is the spiritual dimension of these terrible forces of nature. It had gone through the world media that one of the worst hit small towns in the Ahr Valley was named "Schuld" (English: guilt). A few days after the catastrophe, Chancellor Merkel also travelled to the scene: she visited the village of Schuld. I still get goose bumps when I say these words: the head of government of one of the richest countries in the world trudging through the rubble of "guilt".

Understandably, little is said about it in our German media. It is, after all, "just" a place name, like any other. But as spiritually sensitive people, we can't help but at least pause at this point. Names have something to say to us. And even if we don't want to give room to quick and simplistic conclusions, this strange "coincidence" makes us think. The whole of Germany, a whole nation, for a few days even the entire world public and the global media, looking at "guilt" and stunningly contemplating an extent of death, destruction and suffering as a result of a natural disaster hitherto unknown in Germany. And we ask ourselves how something like this could happen in our seemingly safe Western world.

A friend from India, who is involved with us in the global efforts for creation care, wrote to me shortly after the catastrophe in view of my report on dead and missing people as a result of the natural disaster: "That is a huge number for your region." She had visited the region herself a few years ago as part of the COP23 climate conference in Bonn and had also helped to organize a church service here with a focus on creation care. But if we're being completely honest: At that time, all visitors to this service probably thought: Well, this is the safe part of the world here. Natural disasters as a result of unleashed climate change occur in other parts of the world. The fact is: that was yesterday. It is urgently time to rethink. The catastrophic consequences of climate change have also reached my home in Bonn.

The solidarity with the affected people is terrific: helpers from all over Germany have arrived and are giving their all. The local Evangelical Alliance is experiencing unity as never before. They help together, in rubber boots and with shovels. Very practical - for the local people the most convincing and loving proclamation of the Gospel.

But in the hustle and bustle of all the helpfulness, we don't want to miss out on perceiving the spiritual dimension of what is currently happening on our doorstep. Because of the catastrophic situation on the ground, the small town of "Schuld" is still closed to private individuals. However, no one can prevent us from visiting the place of "guilt" in our thoughts and prayers to find out what God wants to show us there.

With prayer and thankfulness for God's forgiveness,

Matthias Boehning,

[Matthias is Director of the WEA Sustainabilty Center in Bonn. If you wish to send him a message, reply to this email and we'll forward your message to him.] 

---News stories below are excerpts - click on a story to read the full post on the Pollinator website---
---Do you have something to share with the LWCCN community? Click here for guidelines---

---The Pollinator is provided to the LWCCN community as a service of Care of Creation. Click here to help us provide this service through your generous donation. Thank you!---

“Saving Us” Book Club 

Brittany (Ederer) Michalski is hosting a book club on Katharine Hayhoe’s new book, Saving Us. The club runs from September 21 through November 11, and the timing is intended for participants in the US, but night-owls in other parts of the world can certainly join in if you like. Saving Us, by climate scientist Dr. […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like “Saving Us” Book Club on Facebook

Plastics and God 

Bob Sluka of A Rocha has just published a new book through Grove addressing the problem of plastics. (We seem to be talking about plastics a lot this month – here’s a story about a possible solution in Malawi)(and about books from Grove!) Here’s the blurb on Bob’s booklet: Plastic pollution continues to be a […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like Plastics and God on Facebook

Turning waste into jobs in Malawi 

Tiyanjana Banda wants to do something about the problem of solid waste in Malawi. He sees it as a blessing in disguise thanks to a machine he has designed that will turn plastic waste into building blocks: I have developed a Social Enterprise that will create employment for young people as well as reduce deforestation […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like Turning waste into jobs in Malawi on Facebook

Wildfires in the Middle East 

Climate change driven disasters seem to be global this year. In the US and Canada summer wildfires are a regular occurrence: we’re now seeing reports of similar disasters almost everywhere. This report out of Turkey is typical: ISTANBUL, Aug 1 (Reuters) – The death toll from wildfires on Turkey’s southern coast rose to eight on […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like Wildfires in the Middle East on Facebook

New Creation Care Discipleship book (yes, ebook too!) 

Rachel Mash, our favourite Green Anglican in South Africa, has authored a new discipleship book that you may want to take a look at. Published by Grove Books in the UK, it is available in ebook format (PDF) for those of us in other parts of the globe. Here’s the publisher’s description: While creation groans […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like New Creation Care Discipleship book (yes, ebook too!) on Facebook

The moon wobbles? Who knew? 

From the we-bet-you-didn’t-know-this department: A report from NASA (here; in laymen’s language here) reminds us that there are irregularities in the moon’s orbit (“wobbles” to the common person) on an 18.6 year cycle that affect earth’s tides, with half of the cycle producing lower-than-normal tides, and the other half resulting in higher-than-normal ones. This has […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like The moon wobbles? Who knew? on Facebook

Renewing the Oikos of God 

Season of Creation is almost upon us again. The period from 1 September through 4 October is observed by Christians and churches all over the world as a time to celebrate and work toward healing God’s creation. This year’s theme is “A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God”. Oikos, Greek for “Household”, is […]
Read more and comment
share on Twitter Like Renewing the Oikos of God on Facebook

Copyright © 2021 Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.