Mennonite Environmental Task Force (1991-2001)
Mennonite Creation Care Network was preceded by the Mennonite Environmental Task Force (ETF), which was created following a resolution at a church-wide convention in Normal, Illinois, in 1989. ETF worked for 10 years with the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church. Its mandate was to promote awareness within the church of how our Christian commitment necessarily encompasses a concern for God’s creation. One of its major contributions was Creation and the Environment: An Anabaptist Perspective, a book on Anabaptist understandings of the environment and theology. The ETF dissolved in 2001 during the reorganization that created the Mennonite Church USA.
Mennonite Creation Care Planning Group (2004-2005)
In 2004, Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA re-affirmed their commitment to support creation care. A planning group was formed which worked for several years to figure out what form this commitment would take.
Mennonite Creation Care Network (2005 to present)
The Mennonite Creation Care Network was formed out of the above planning process in 2005. It was structured as a mission of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, with a Creation Care Council consisting of two Canadians, four Americans and three ex officio members. Two sponsoring organizations have enabled the work of MCCN. Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College provides a half-time staff person and Everence, the stewardship arm of Mennonite Church USA, provides a budget that covers advertising, board member travel and other administrative expenses. Both organizations are in Goshen, Ind. Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Central Committee Canada also contribute.
Luke Gascho, then director of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College played a key role in founding the organization and in providing leadership until 2016. At that time, Jennifer Schrock was appointed leader and half time staff person.
Want More History?
Jason Kauffman, director of Archives and Records Management for Mennonite Church USA, penned this article critiquing the idea that Mennonites had little in the way of an environmental theology or ethics until recently.
Creation Care in Church History
This five-minute video from The Work of the People sums up both the positive models we can reclaim and the ambiguous legacy of the Christian Tradition.