On Monday, July 20th, 2015, the White House recognized twelve people of faith as “Champions of Change” for their efforts in protecting our environment and communities from the effects of climate change.
Among them was Steven Beumer, an active member of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winter Park, Florida. He has led St. John to make changes through new energy efficient roofing and LED lighting. He also organized a regular worship service in April dedicated to Earth Day. Additionally, Beumer organized hands-on environmental projects such as labeling storm drains in the neighborhood to prevent trash from going into the lakes, and litter clean up on public streets near the church. Further, Beumer has worked with other faith communities to find their environmental footing within their own faith context.
In his statement on the “Champions of Change: People of Faith Acting on Climate” web page, Steven writes:
“When I was child growing up one of my favorite pastimes was getting a big book of connect the dot puzzles and working away on them. It was amazing to see the dots turn into dogs and fire trucks. Our faith communities have many “dots” imbedded in our traditions that address many issues. The environment is one of them. People of faith all share a great reverence and awe for what God has created.
“As we work to connect those dots in our respective faith traditions we see the illusion of our separation fade away. We become closer and bound together as we can celebrate our love of God’s creation—and rejoice in our work to protect it. People of faith share a unique perspective on the environment. We are not a social club, political group or secular advocacy organization, but our very existence is bound up in our oneness as a product of God’s creation. It is most important to take the moral initiative, to shine a light on the need to cherish and protect the sum total of the wonderful parts that make up all creation—people, plants and animals that grace every corner of our amazing planet.”
According to the White House, “These Champions have demonstrated clear leadership across the United States and around the world through their grassroots efforts to green their communities and educate others on the moral and social justice implications of climate change.”
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be live streamed on the White House website.