I'm delighted to share with you these thoughts and images from around the country as we care for creation in these days of Pentecost. The Spirit is alive all around us--and I can't wait to see what she will be up to this month.
Below you'll find our EARTH-Keeper for the month, a book review by Vickie, a poem by Laurie, as well as an update about General Assembly by Jenny and an overview of where to see PEC there.
abby mohaupt, EARTH Editor
Vice-Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care
EARTH-Keeper: Rob Mark by Dana Eglinton, member of PEC Steering Committee
In June, eight young adults will gather in Seattle, where they will engage with faith communities that are taking action to combat climate change. The eight will also consider Pope France' encyclical, Laudato Si', and its directive to care for our common home. And they will reflect on the connection between their faith journeys and the call to steward God's earth. They will be participants in the 2016 Eco-Stewards Program.
From their website: "The Eco-Stewards Program is a grassroots community that shapes young adult leaders through place-based experiences that connect faith and the environment."
The community is led by the leadership team of Rev Liz Leavitt, Vickie Machado, Brian Frick, Colleen Earp, Becky Evans, and coordinator Rev Rob Mark.
Rob Mark has been the driving force behind Eco-Stewards from its inception in 2006. He tells about the beginnings like this, "At a Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center Association conference in 2006, I was deeply moved by then moderator of the PCUSA, Rick Ufford-Chase who served up an inspired challenge to the PCCCA and PEC (then PRC) to get together in a more intentional way to inspire young people in the ways of eco-stewardship. Rick then sat with me at lunch and after talking, said, 'Rob I think you may be uniquely suited to help lead and coordinate this emerging idea.' And that was all the inspiration I needed to work with others to help birth the Eco-Stewards Program under our first label the Presbyterian Conservation Corps. Our first week-long experiential program began in 2007 at Westminster Woods in CA, and I have not looked back since and continue to be deeply inspired by the growing community of Eco-Stewards that continues to build." Following that first program in California, Rob has coordinated Eco-Stewards Programs in New York/Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Montana, Massachusetts/Vermont, Oregon, and Florida.
Rob is also the pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Boston, a PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation. Under Rob's leadership the congregation has divested from fossil fuels, greatly increased the energy efficiency of their historic building, and continued to provide daily lunch and breakfast to some of Boston's most vulnerable women.
Rob and his wife Becky Evans (of the Eco-Stewards leadership team) are the parents of two-year-old Rowan. Rob says, "Our motivation to do all we possibly can to better steward this wild gift of nature has grown one hundred fold since becoming parents." Thanks to those like Rob and Becky there is hope for Rowan's future and the future of God's earth.
Book Review by Vickie Machado, member of EARTH committee and on the leadership team of Eco-Stewards
Todd Wynward‘s Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God, does an incredible job of weaving Christianity with environmentalism. Tackling issues like affluenza, over-consumption and climate change, Wynward goes beyond the notions of a collective creation care and takes a look at individual practices and underlying themes in relation to faith. How does one follow Jesus Christ? More so—how do we as children, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers live in the world but not of the world? How does one negotiate the realm of work, family life and spirituality? Drawing from his wilderness experience, Wynward advocates a return to the wild. He asks his readers to go cimarron, “a Spanish term for a slave or domesticated animal gone free.” He pushes his readers to re-evaluate not just life but the paths Christians embark on as he re-invigorates scripture stories and parables.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this book is that Wynward provides readers with conviction. This is not the fire and brimstone conviction but rather a grace-filled understanding of life. As Christians, we must continue to strive to love God and love our neighbors. With our rapidly expanding world, this means looking at our choices and evaluating our lifestyles, while still considering how to live in the world. Wynward does not condemn the sinner or the over-consumer, but rather recognizes we all fall a bit short in this world. At the end of the day, God’s love is delivered to us all.
Poem for Creation by Laurie Fisher
Laurie is a Ruling Elder from Heartland Presbytery. She has been very active in gathering momentum for a Fossil Free PC(USA).
In the vastness of the Universe there is a place.
A place with immense oceans teaming with life.
A place with forests alive with untold numbers of species of insects, animals, birds, trees, and plants.
A place with vast open spaces to grow grains and other food.
A place with rain to provide water for all living things.
A place with a nearby star to warm the air, the soil, and the water.
An amazing place, it is.
Billions of years in the making.
A place human beings call home.
Humans have done amazing things with the resources of this gifted place.
Some things have been beneficial, but others have not.
The sustainable level of fossil fuel use was exceeded years ago.
The place’s climate is losing its equilibrium. Creation is suffering.
Humans have a choice to make every effort to restore equilibrium.
If this choice is not made, what will happen to this place?
Field Trips and Opportunities at General Assembly by Jenny Holmes, former PEC Moderator
If you are coming to GA you are truly coming to God's County! Get out and see Oregon while you are here.
The Eco-Justice Team of Cascades Presbytery has been pleased to partner with Presbyterians for Earth Care to sponsor two field trips and offer one of our own. Also, we have a special worship service and event on Sunday, June 19 with the Rev. Dr. Tricia Tull in the Portland suburbs. We have partnered with Southminster Presbyterian Church's Water2Wine Group for a trip to an organic farm and Oregon's leading sustainable winery on June 20th. We hope that you and your family will join us! Register for the field trips with General Assembly. The Eco-Justice Team looks forward to seeing you in Oregon.
Environmental Stewardship at Oregon Wineries and Farms: A Willamette Valley Tour, Monday, June 20, 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m.
See and learn about how Oregon agriculture is a leader in environmental stewardship – half of Oregon’s vineyard acres are certified sustainably farmed and many Oregon wineries are certified for sustainable practices in their winemaking processes and facilities. Visit part of Oregon’s Willamette Valley farm country (with handicap accessible stops) to see environmental stewardship in practice. The major stop will be Sokol Blosser vineyard and winery in Dundee Hills, a family operation featuring two generations of environmentally sustainable wine-growing and wine-making practices. The visit will feature a vineyard and winery tour, a tasting of premium estate wines, a talk by founder Susan Sokol Blosser, and a healthful locally made box lunch with locally produced ingredients. We will also visit Mills Organic Farm near Chehalem Mountains to learn about other sustainable and environmentally healthy farming practices in Oregon. Sponsored by the Eco-Justice Team, Presbytery of the Cascades, Water2Wine Group, Southminster Presbyterian Church, Beaverton
Fossil Fuel Exports and Environmental Justice in the Pacific Northwest, Wednesday, June 22 8:00 am to 2:00 p.m.
The beautiful Pacific Northwest is under threat to become a major export zone for fossil fuels. Learn about impacts of expanded transport/export of fossil fuels on climate, health, environmental justice, local communities and tribes. We will visit Vancouver,WA, where one of the world's largest oil terminals is proposed and trains carrying coal and oil currently pass through. We will then travel up the Columbia River Gorge and visit a Tribal Treaty fishing site near Cascade Locks. We will conclude with lunch and additional presentations at Menchua Retreat Center with magnificent Gorge views. This bus tour will visit key sites within a short distance of Portland that illustrate the environmental justice, health and climate change threats posed by current and proposed fossil fuel export terminals and transports. Leaders from key organizations working on these issues will be tapped.
Coal trains on the way
Earth Care Congregations Showcase, Thursday June 23 from 10:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m
Visit a certified PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation (ECC), Colonial Heights Presbyterian, in inner SE Portland, Oregon, and hear representatives of other ECC churches in Oregon and beyond describe their efforts and the benefits of certification. Learn how to become an ECC from our special guest Rebecca Barnes of PC(USA)'s Environmental Ministries and share ideas in conversation with others. We will start by touring the grounds of our host church which has worked extensively with community-based conservation organizations and is a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat. Lunch is provided by the Presbyterian Urban Network. Bus transportation will be provided, bus and sites will be universally accessible. A lunch will be provided at no cost by the Presbyterian Portland Urban Network. (The site is within a few blocks of public transportation and only 15 minutes from the Center). Sponsored by the Eco-Justice Team of Cascades Presbytery and Presbyterians for Earth Care. [Note- It is easy to take public transportation here. Just show up if you don't sign up through GA on time].
Special Worship Opportunity
Earth Care Congregation, Southminster Beaverton will have The Rev. Dr. Pactrica Tull (B. Rhodes Professor Emerita of Old Testament Louisville Presbyterian Seminary)in its pulpit on June 19th for 10 a.m. worship. Adult Education is at 9:00 a.m. following worship and then from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m, there will be a reflection on God's Garden, tour of the Southminster Community Garden and sharing by congregation members on being an Earth Care Congregation. The church is at 12250 SW Denney Road, Beaverton, Oregon 97008. Get directions at www.southmin.org/
abby mohaupt has been spending the Easter season looking for grace in creation. These flowers were pulled from the compost heap at the farm at which she volunteers, reminding her that there's beauty where we least expect it and that life can find a way.
want to join the newsletter committee and help PEC reflect on God's creation?
email abby mohaupt to join us.