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A Desert Faith
for a Desert
Time

As people of faith in the high desert of Northern New Mexico, we have two deep sources of
strength and hope. One is the Bible, a book filled with stories and teachings that are rooted in the dry
lands of the Middle East. The other is the dry land in which we live.

 

But we also know that deserts are not limited to geography. They can instead be defined by the
circumstances of our lives, be it a pandemic or racial injustice, climate change or refugee crises.
From the early years of the United Church of Santa Fe, we have drawn upon both the Bible and
our desert landscape to deepen our Desert Faith. We believe both the Bible and this landscape have
lessons to teach us, such as. . .

  • Bloom where you’re planted. Even the spiniest, scrawniest, tiniest of cactus bear flowers

and fruit. The desert can teach us how to look for the life and possibilities where we are.

  • Put down roots, either deep (like pinon trees) or broad (like saguaro cactus).

  • Unexpected blessings. A spring hidden among boulders, a summer thunderstorm with

life-giving rain, a tiny flower that pushes forth from rock-hard earth. Deserts are filled
with surprising graces.


We also believe that our faith calls us to care for this corner of creation known as Northern New
Mexico, along with all the other deserts, plains, mountains, seas, and rivers that make up our planet
home.


We invite you to join in as we deepen our “Desert Faith in this Desert time. And bring a friend.
Perhaps they need a desert faith these days as well.

United Church of Santa Fe Whole Earth Covenant
(Adopted by vote of the whole Congregation on June 21, 2009)

“We endeavor to live in harmony with all creation as stewards of the earth.” In keeping with this, and in the face of a changed world, we propose this Whole Earth Covenant.

 

We live and move and have our being in God, Creator of the cosmos.

God’s creation is seamless. It births and sustains all life, together.

The lesson of creation’s seamlessness is clear: planetary health is primary, human well-being is derivative. If the rest of nature does not thrive, neither do we.

Yet now we are altering the conditions for life as we know and cherish it. The same achievements that have taken some across the threshold of abundance have brought much life to the brink of ruination. We are at a turning point of our own making and the future of Earth’s community of life is uncertain.

Accelerated climate change increases planetary uncertainty. Yet Christian faith prepares us for an uncertain world. Forged in turbulent times, Christian faith has again and again sustained and renewed people of many cultures, races, and regions amidst uncertainty and danger. As we practice vigilance to emerging needs Christian faith may call us to even more radical action than we presently envision.

Signs of peril are also tests of faith. The immensity and uncertainty pertaining to climate change and the eco-crisis dare not sever bonds between persons or with the rest of life. Solidarity and justice are imperatives. This means that the moral and spiritual climate is as vital to sustainability as the physical climate is cause for concern and sometimes despair.

In sum, God calls us to dedicate ourselves anew to an Earth-honoring fait

Accordingly, we commit ourselves to the following actions:

As a Congregation:

  • Develop through worship, education and our interpretation of Christian traditions, a spirituality that reflects our home in the desert and our respect for all of creation in all its diversity. We learn from the desert, its peoples and their heritage; and we celebrate its life.  

  • Model institutional practices that sustain and restore resources. We will be vigilant to emerging needs and challenge ourselves to continually seek deeper and more effective responses.

  • Promote justice for humanity and for the rest of creation through education and outreach to the wider community and through support of governmental laws and policies that insure economic and ecological security. Peace and justice to creation, as well as in creation, is the extension of our ongoing commitments as a community of faith and as leaders in the wider Christian community.

 

As Individuals:

  • Deepen our spiritual awareness of the sacredness of all creation and of God’s call to us to live in harmony with the natural world of which we are a part.

  • Change our lifestyle and consumption patterns to become more responsible guardians of God’s creation, which sustains us and which we hold in trust for future generations.

  • Engage the issues threatening our planet while understanding the limits of our comprehension in the face of the complexities of both the problems and their solutions.

  • Recognize that as desert dwellers we have a special responsibility to protect its delicate ecosystems, and not least, to wisely use water which is precious to all life