BLOOMFIELD — At the 271st annual meeting of Old St. Andrew Episcopal Church, parishioners unanimously voted to adopt the principles of the Earth Charter, becoming one of the first churches in Connecticut to do so.
The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values, according to the charter website.
For over a year, members of the Bloomfield congregation have studied and discussed the four pillars and sixteen principles of the Earth Charter. Parishioner Richard Watson, a long-time proponent of the Earth Charter, introduced the document during a series of adult education sessions. Rev. Puck Purnell, rector at Old St. Andrew , has written several articles in the parish newsletter connecting the church to the Earth Charter and he has used it as the basis for Sunday sermons.
The principles of the Earth Charter, Purnell says, are in harmony with the Jesus story, including our call to be stewards of all creation. He went on to say, as people of faith, we want to be relevant and active. It is not enough for us simply to come to church on Sundays. We are called to be advocates of social and economic justice, democracy, non-violence and peace, all principles of the Earth Charter.
The 2,400 word document was crafted over the course of a decade. Completed in 2000, the Earth Charter has been recognized and endorsed by dozens of countries, over 2,000 organizations, institutions, schools, and faith communities, including the national Episcopal Church, as well as millions of individuals.
The Earth Charter Initiative is an extraordinarily diverse, global network of people, organizations, and institutions that participate in promoting and implementing the values and principles of the Earth Charter, according to their website.
Dennis Desrochers, senior warden at Old St. Andrew , challenged the parish to continue exploring ways in which the parish and its members might act on the Earth Charter. "
We want our church to serve as a leader in the community with regards to these principles," he said.
After the annual meeting, parishioner Bob Warren agreed to convene an on-going working group in the parish to develop practical ways to live into the Earth Charter.
For more information about Old St. Andrew and the Earth Charter visit www.OldStAndrews.net.