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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Weathering the storms

Global warming and faith intersect in the ELCA's northernmost congregation

Georgianna Merrill glances toward the sea that swallowed her mother's house — her childhood home. She's thankful it was dark during the last storm. That way "we couldn't see how scary the waves were," she says.

Like most of the 600 Inupiat Eskimos in Shishmaref, Alaska, 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle on the Chukchi Sea, Merrill is experiencing the hazards of global warming firsthand. Since 1971 overall temperatures in Alaska have risen by 2.7 degrees; in some areas they're up 7 degrees in the spring.


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