How The Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll Sees It
Coalition for Environmental Equity and Economics Advocates for Public
Policies That Promote Sustainability and Green Economics
Green The Church, the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and the Council of Mexican Federations in North America unite to promote green economics and consumer rights.
Please add your organization to CEEE’s coalition to save rooftop solar.
Oakland, Calif., Several of California’s leading environmental justice and immigrant rights advocacy groups have launched an unprecedented alliance to help educate working-class communities on issues of green economic sustainability and consumer rights and promote pro-sustainability public policy. The alliance, called the Coalition for Environmental Equity and Economics, is a project of Green The Church, the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and immigrant advocacy organization the Council of Mexican Federations in North America (COFEM). These organizations have united to promote green economics and consumer rights.
“Communities of color are those most impacted by climate change. They are the communities that live with the health consequences of environmental hazards, and they lack the resources to quickly bounce back from natural disasters. CEEE has a high sense of urgency to ensure California public policy makes the communities we care about a priority,” said CEEE co-founder Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Sr.
A top priority of CEEE will be to advocate for public policies that encourage the growth of clean and distributed solar energy in California. “As an environmental justice advocate, I know the games the big polluters play to protect their profits. The mission of CEEE will be to expose the PR myths aimed at slowing the transformation to a clean, green and sustainable economy,” said Esperanza Vielma, executive director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water.
CEEE announced that it will collaborate with the Save California Solar campaign to encourage Governor Newsom and the Public Utilities Commission to continue with Net Energy Metering policies that are supporting an unprecedented expansion of solar in working communities. “We are happy to be working with rooftop solar advocates to protect and strengthen net metering, advocate for additional policies that will help bring rooftop solar and battery storage to communities of color, and educate solar buyers on their consumer rights,” said Rev. Carroll. CEEE also announced the launch of a statewide consumer education program to be managed by COFEM, the largest member-driven immigration rights organization in the nation.
COFEM Executive Director Francisco Moreno stated, “The benefits of rooftop solar are many for the communities we serve. Installing solar panels helps lower the monthly electric bills of families, the industry creates good-paying jobs and, most importantly, the more rooftop solar, the lower the rate of dirty emissions generally and specifically in our communities. However, our immigrant communities are susceptible to scams and lack of knowledge concerning solar contracts. We are encouraged that Save California Solar will be working with us to protect the consumer rights of our communities.”
A Call to Action for Christians, Celebrating Faith and a Commitment to Creation Care
No one is alone in this fight to address climate change and environmental issues. In this video Dr. Ambrose Carroll joins others in the global church community to encourage viewers to act on climate solutions, whether that be within their own faith communities or as part of the Christian community. Click to watch the video.
A conversation with the Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll
Cross-posted from Benders of the Arc - p
I met the Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll when we both traveled to northern Minnesota in early June 2021 to support the water protectors who are resisting the building of a pipeline, called Line 3, that will bring even more dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Great Lakes. We were both there as part of an interfaith delegation in support of the Indigenous leaders who are putting their bodies on line to stop the building of this pipeline that will cut right through the treaty lands of the Anishinaabe people. You can find out more here.
Ambrose is the pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Berkeley, CA. He has a long resume of being a pastor and chaplain. He was a green fall fellow with Van Jones in Denver, CO working on green jobs and environmental justice. He met Sally Bingham, the founder of Interfaith Power & Light, and realized there aren’t many Black churches who are part of that movement and realized that has to change.
I wanted to speak with Pastor Ambrose because he and his church are on the front lines of racial, social and environmental justice. We talked about the inner spiritual work of love as well as the outer work of social and environmental justice. We can’t do one without the other, he says. This is the ongoing story of environmental racism toward Indigenous people and people of color who bear a disproportionate burden of environmental degradation and pollution. But it is also a sign of hope that as we stand in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, we are also recognizing and standing with BIPOC communities near and far.
*Just a note, I was speaking to Pastor Ambrose outside one of the Treaty People Gathering events so you will hear voices and other noise in the background. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
The Rev. Bruce Carroll
By KERRY M. KIRSPEL
Cross-posted from the The Inquisitor - Focus SB News
The Rev. Bruce Carroll is facing the challenge of returning his congregation inside Antioch Baptist Church in downtown Shreveport, of which he is pastor. But it’s not just the pandemic that has kept them from the pews. The building itself needs refurbishment. The roof leaks, and there is damage to tiles, walls and windows. He said God led him to the local historic church, located at 1057 Texas Ave., which is also celebrating its 155th anniversary.
Carroll has served as pastor of Antioch for four years but has been in the ministry for 30. He was born in Confederate Memorial Hospital, now Ochsner LSU Health. He said the cost for his delivery into the world was “a pint of blood” from his father. “That was the payment for me to be born.” His father moved the family to Atlanta, Ga., to attend seminary. “My daddy was an itinerant Baptist preacher,” he said. From there, the family moved to North Carolina, St. Louis and finally California.
Despite being exposed to ministry from his youth, Carroll said, “preaching was never on my radar. And I fought it tooth and nail. I didn’t want to do this. Two other brothers started preaching before I did.” But he grew up in the church and participated in its activities as an usher, custodian and choir member. “I didn’t just start pastoring. I didn’t wake up and start preaching. It was a process,” he said. Instead, he became a business major in college in Miami. “I wanted to open my own business,” he said.
Carroll still stayed connected to the church, however, in Sunday school and Bible study. “The Lord had called me to preach when I was 17, but what I had seen, what I had heard, I didn’t say nothing. I just kept moving.” In 1990, however, “the Lord began to speak.” This time, Carroll listened. He was hesitant, though, because he already had two brothers involved in the ministry. There was no life-altering epiphany, but, he said, “a path already apparently had been set.” “It changed some things for me because I wanted to work on my MBA. So the call to the ministry was step one. Step two was calling the preparation, so I enrolled in seminary” in Atlanta, Ga., just like his father. “And thus began my training, my preparation for ministry, to prepare me to go out into the world to teach.”
Was it easier for him, having had a father who was himself a minister? Because his father was no longer living to help direct him in his new path, he said, it was probably more difficult. He served as a youth pastor in California in 1991. “When I got to seminary, there was a youth pastor position that opened up in Atlanta, Ga., and the dean, who went to school with my daddy, sent me to that position.” Upon graduating in 1997, Carroll relocated to True Faith Baptist Church in California, working as an assistant to Joe Patterson, who was one of his first mentors. He also worked at other churches in California. Because the state has such a high cost of living, Carroll and his wife prayed about their next
transition. “And the Lord led us to Shreveport in 2001,” he said. So he and his family, which at that time consisted of two children, returned to the place of his birth, where he united with his uncle at Fellowship of Christ Baptist Church.
Shortly after that, he got called to a church called Pleasant Valley in Athens, La. “From there, because of the connection that my father had and another pastor by the name of George Thomas, we began a conversation with the United Methodist Church and served at a church in Mansfield, La., for a couple of years. Having lived for so long in California, where the pace of life was rather speedy, “I felt Shreveport was not moving fast enough,” Carroll said. So the family moved back to Atlanta preaching at different places. Carroll said the Lord had directed him to Shreveport in 2001, but when he left, “He didn’t give me permission to leave.” In 2009, they returned to the Shreveport area in Grand Cane. Carroll’s wife had received a job offer at Linwood Charter School. In 2010, he became the Christian education director and administrator at Stonewall Baptist Church in Bossier City.
Finally, in 2017, Antioch Baptist Church called him to serve as pastor. Is he happy there? “I’m hocked,” he said, “knowing the prestige of the church and knowing the history of the church.” Although he had preached there in the past, “I just never imagined that I would be at that church.” But, yes, he is happy, as well as “ecstatic, surprised and just kind of taking it all in.” What were he goals at the Shreveport church? “I knew the church had suffered, and the membership declined over the years. So one thing was to have conversations about how do we get back into the swing. It was like we’re here, but nothing was going on outside. It was more inward-focused. “So the goal was to reinvigorate them or to strike a match and light a fire so that people would be excited and want to be part of the Antioch Church ministry in downtown.”
He said many churches are built around community, and downtown had no residential community, as such. “So how do you do that? You do that by preaching. You do that by
teaching. You do it by sharing your faith.” Carroll began by preaching from the Book of Acts and “kind of cater to our church being like that church” in that biblical book, “where they were fellowshipping, they were praying, where they were persevering, where they were steadfast.” And people began to slowly trickle in. “That’s the goal: to have a church similar to the one in Acts,” Carroll said. He had planned a program to bring the community together to pray and to bring awareness so that repairs could be made to the building. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, brought everything to a standstill.
While the pandemic didn’t really hurt the church, it did help after a fashion. “No I’ve got people on Zoom who don’t live in Shreveport.” Their family members were connected to other family members and participate in the worship services. Now that churches and other public buildings are reopening thanks to Covid vaccines, attention has returned to repairing the church building to be a safer facility. Carroll has had conversations with a historical preservation committee a year before the pandemic to find ways to seek funding for brick and mortar. But the focus remains on people, to share Christ and one’s faith with others. Carroll said if one focuses on saving souls, then things like the church building will fall into place. The pause caused by the pandemic gave Carroll time to take a step back and reassess matters. In February, he said, the Lord said let’s start doing things to bring awareness and to again have conversations about the building and how to move forward. Carroll wanted to invite the community to an outside service “and possibly open the ears to some possible stakeholders.”
So where do things stand now? “We had gotten some quotes and some guesstimates about the total structure some time ago,” he said. He asked his congregation to consider giving more to their tithes and donations, which would then go into a special building fund. “We’re not where we need to be, but we’ve started,” he said. “People have reached out to say they want to help,” including local architect Bill Wiener,” he said. Carroll said he is considering other opportunities to bring awareness to the church’s plight, such
as holding an ecumenical event, inviting other denominations to worship together outdoors. “But nothing has been planned,” he said. Despite the hardships, the Rev. Carroll is happy where he is. “Ministry for me is exciting and challenging because I’m often looking for what’s new on the horizon, what can I do to make it better,” he said. His recent outdoor service was not just something to do but a means to do something totally different, something that had not been done before and that the community would receive it.
Carroll is constantly looking for ways “to keep the fire burning.” The church’s motto is “Each One, Reach One,” or to have each member reach one member for Jesus Christ. Antioch has a rich history, and I want to continue that legacy so that 150 years from now, they can say that we were a light in the community,” he said. “With the community changing and with the people that are coming to the community, (the church) is opening up for everybody. It won’t just be a black community, it won’t just be a white community. Our churches can’t be a black church or just be white church. It has to be a church for everybody — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ community. I want to add to that. I want to put that out there. I want to make sure that’s the kind of church that would be acceptable to all kinds of people.”
Plant with Purpose Executive Scott Sabin's Blog Post Gives GTC a Thumbs Up
Friday, May 7, 2021
"Most recently, I have gotten to know Green the Church, an organization founded by Rev. Ambrose Carroll, a pastor from Berkeley, California. Green the Church “stands at the intersection of the Black Church and the environmental movement,” working to develop resources on environmental theology for the church, promoting sustainable practices, and helping member churches organize to advocate on behalf of the environment.
Green the Church has a monthly webinar, and I just enrolled in their self-paced course "The Black Church & The Environmental Age.” I will let you know how that goes.
One of the things I like the most about Green the Church is their effort to lift up and amplify the voices of churches across the country “who are already doing powerful work to care for our Earth.” It has long been my contention that there is far more innovative work being done by congregations at a local level than anyone realizes. These are projects that tend to be overlooked by the media and by those with a platform. Thus, their stories are never told and we never benefit from their ideas, or the encouragement that comes from knowing of like-minded Christians, actively fulfilling their role as stewards of creation. Green the Church has awakened me to the fact that some of the most dynamic and creative work around the country is being done by African American churches, and I am excited to learn more.
There are many more organizations and initiatives that I could highlight. The more I research, the more I realize how much is going on at the local level that is imaginative, inspiring and often below the radar."
Scott Sabin is the Chief Executive Officer of Plant with Purpose. To read more of Scott's blog go to Three Christian Environmental Organizations You Should Know.
How 1,000 Black Churches Are Caring For the Earth
When Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll joined with other U.S. leaders around environmental issues, he didn’t see people who looked like him — Black brothers and sisters of faith — at the table. Since the pastor founded Green The Church to amplify the efforts of Black churches 10 years ago, the organization has grown to include 1,000 Black congregations across the U.S. who are taking environmental action — from preaching sermons about creation care, to installing solar panels and growing community gardens, to influencing national policy.
Wed, Apr 14, 2021 - Rev. Dr. Kip Banks, Partner with Values Partnership
An Interview with Dr. Ambrose Carrol on the Green The Church Movement
Rev. Dr. Ambrose F. Carroll, Sr. was recently interviewed by The Black Church Weekly, a publication focused on communities of faith and communities of color bringing news and views related to the Black church and opportunities to engage on policy, entertainment, and culture each week!
Read the interview here.
March 18, 2021
Green The Church Applauds EPA Return to Science
OAKLAND, CA – Today, the EPA relaunched its webpage about climate change. The page had been removed from the site by the Trump administration in 2017. In response to the relaunch of the page, Reverend Ambrose Carroll, founder of Green The Church, released the following statement:
“As a national initiative working with Black churches to expand environmental resilience, Green The Church applauds EPA Administrator Michael Regan for reinstating its climate policy website. The previous administration denied science-based evidence and ignored the unequal impact of climate change on our health and our economy. That was a denial of climate and environmental injustices.
The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” The return of the climate policy website means the Biden Administration is returning to EPA’s promise to protect our communities in a fair and just manner.”
Rev. Dr. Carroll on Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church and Green The Church
INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS - DECEMBER 31, 2020
Black church leaders continue to take their own approach to climate and the environment. One example comes from Green the Church, an initiative of Carroll Ministries International, led by the Rev. Ambrose Carroll Sr., the senior pastor at the Church by the Side of the Road in Berkeley, California.
Green The Church Joins 50 Other Leading Environmental Advocacy and Public Health Organizations Recommend Robust Investments in Clean Energy Infrastructure for All
Monday, February 22. 2021
In a detailed letter to Congressional leaders, leading environmental, justice, and public health organizations push significant investment in policies to tackle climate crisis, cut pollution, create jobs and address environmental justice as part of economic recovery. Read the letter delivered to House and Senate leadership.
Environmental activist Heather McTeer Toney recognizes Green The Church work as a principle of Kwanzaa
YALE CLIMATE CONNECTIONS - DECEMBER 29, 2020
Today is the third day of Kwanzaa.
“For me personally, it’s a period of reflection, of preparation, of really centering myself in my culture and my spirituality and celebrating African Americans,” says Heather McTeer Toney, senior director at Mom’s Clean Air Force.
Continue reading ...
Heather McTeer Toney (Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force / Flickr)
Green theology provides valuable framework for climate action, justice
Green theology is at the forefront of addressing the disparities and environmental injustices faced by many Black communities. It is based on the interconnection of conventional and non traditional faiths, green philosophy — which balances protecting the earth and improving health — and history.
Read the article here ...
The Rev. Dr Ambrose Carroll, Sr is founder of Green The Church, a sustainability initiative working to create a cadre of Black Church communities who are committed to green theology, promoting sustainable practices within their communities and helping to build economic & political change. He is also senior pastor at The Church by the Side of the Road in Berkeley, CA.
CLIMATE VOTING TO PROTECT GOD’S CREATION
by Oct 27, 2020 | Election,Your Vote Matters | Take the Faith Climate Voter Pledge|
I have been incredibly heartened by a recent national poll of religious voters that showed 94% of Black Protestants believe that our responsibility to protect God’s Creation is an important reason to address climate. I am not surprised that Black people of faith feel this way for three important reasons.
Faith & Leadership an online magazine of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity reports on how Green The Church encourages African American congregations to commit to an enviromnetal theology that promotes sustainable practices and helps build economic and political change.
TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2020
As the son of an itinerant Baptist minister, Ambrose Carroll moved with his family from city to city as his father felt called to serve new churches: Atlanta, St. Louis, Compton, Santa Ana and finally, Oakland, California.
But there was one constant in the lives of the six Carroll siblings. Summers and holidays were spent back on the family homestead in the tiny community of Holly, Louisiana.