2601 54th Ave S
To Whom It May Concern:
Lakewood United Church of Christ is a small Christian community in the Lakewood Estates neighborhood. Each Sunday, in communion with all the Earth, we gather to worship God who formed all creation, who redeems all creation, and who sustains all creation. Part of our mission is to “work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.” We are grateful for the opportunity to share our thoughts on this important question of land use and zoning in our neighborhood.
According to the very first story in the Bible, Genesis 1, we are called to love God, love our neighbors, and care for creation. This biblical revelation reorients our relationship with the natural world to a love and care for God’s creation. We focus on God as creator and the wonders of creation, all designed to help us love creation as God does and commit ourselves to care for it and rejoice in it. In this respect, the Earth is, for us, a sacred space, a place where God is active and where God encounters us. This experience of the sacred leads us to advocate for public policies and laws that foster love of neighbor and care for creation.
We are acutely aware that this Earth is an endangered planet—to a great extent due to our own actions. As Christians we are called to ask: How can we treat the Earth differently? One way we do this is to designate certain areas of land, air, and water as natural “sanctuaries” that offer protection to a variety of animals, species of plants, and whole eco-systems. We are lucky to have one such sanctuary in our own neighborhood: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. We want to ensure that they have the ability to continue to fulfill their mission as environmental stewards.
It is our understanding that prescribed burns are among the management actions necessary to maintain appropriate eco-system function within the scrub habitat at Boyd Hill. And that development of the land in “Area D” will negatively impact the ability of Boyd Hill to protect this rare scrub habitat, including gopher tortoises and various endangered plants.
We humans have become alienated from our world and need to be deeply reconnected to the Earth as our home so we can be restored to a natural and life-giving relationship. It has taken our culture many years to recognize our kinship with the rest of creation. But this is the truth we now confess with new enthusiasm. God is reorienting us to a relationship with Earth so that we can now experience all creatures as our kin. God invites us to a new healing relationship with a vocation of service to the Earth rather than a relationship of domination and exploitation.
We hope that you will choose to embrace the work done at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve that gives so many in our community the opportunity to encounter the sacred in the natural world. We ask that you do not make this work more difficult by re-zoning “Area D” of our neighborhood.
Lakewood United Church of Christ