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Sorley preaching message of environmental stewardship

Release Date: October 8, 2009    

 

PLAINVIEW – Don’t call Craig Sorley an environmentalist. He’s not too fond of the term environmentalism.

              “It sounds too much like a religion,” Sorley said. “I would say I have a passion for creation stewardship. When we engage in efforts to be good stewards of creation, we honor God, our creator.”

              Sorley, who co-founded Care of Creation with Ed Brown, was in Plainview this week speaking to students at Wayland Baptist University about the importance of taking care of the environment. Sorley’s visit came on the heels of a visit from Brown who spoke at Wayland’s chapel and conducted community workshops the previous week.

              Sorley lives and operates in Kenya. He teaches classes at the Kenya Baptist Theological College and works with local churches, pastors and community members to better understand stewardship of natural resources, a cause to which he has devoted his life.

              Craig SorleyGrowing up the son of missionary parents in eastern Africa, Sorley was a witness to the AIDS epidemic that started in the early 1980s. He watched as AIDS ravaged the continent. But it was through his relationships, experience and acquaintances that he realized another problem would soon hit the African people.

              “I began to realize there was another crisis in Kenya coming down the pipeline,” he said. “It had to do with the land, with deforestation, over fishing, and the careless way in which farmers practice agriculture on hillsides, leading to soil erosion.”

              In 1987, Sorley graduated from high school and came to the United States to pursue a college degree in biology at Bethel University. But in 1989, his plans were put on hold as he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Throughout the treatment process, Sorley felt God calling him to service to find out how the church should respond to the question of environmental stewardship.

              “I began an exploration into what the church was saying,” Sorley said. “I found out the church wasn’t saying much of anything. It was a topic that was very rarely discussed in the churches I attended.”

              Sorley soon joined with Brown to form the Care of Creation organization through which he teaches the importance of conservation efforts. He has found the people and churches in Kenya are open and receptive to the message.

              “People there are so connected to the land,” he said. “When we came along and started developing a theology of creation stewardship, we started getting very positive feedback from Kenya Christians. Not just Baptists, but other denominations as well.”

              Through his efforts, Sorley is also hoping to encourage Christians in the U.S. to embrace the idea of creation stewardship and what it means.

              “One of the real opportunities that I see is for mission agencies of all kinds to embrace this topic as a strategic part of their mission,” Sorley said. “I see it as a major area not only for discipleship with the Christians who already exist, but also a major opportunity to reach unreached people groups.”

              Sorley said the message of hope for eternity is complimented by bringing people hope for today. He says good stewardship begins with a change in attitude toward natural resources.

              “I like to think that the concept of consuming less can be a good thing,” he said.

              Anyone interested in more information about Sorley’s work, or in donating to his cause can visit the Care of Creation Web site at careofcreation.net.