U-C: What I See

Thursday, June 16, 2005

concrete ideas for Presbyterians concerned about the environment

Sisters and Brothers:

Here’s a short list of a few opportunities that are out there for going deeper into issues of ecology and the protection and nurture of God’s creation.

First, check out the Presbyterians for Restoring Creation website at www.prcweb.org. Consider joining and making a real commitment to support their important work.

Second, PRC was created to put legs on a marvelous document overwhelmingly affirmed by the General Assembly that met in 1990 (91% in favor) called "Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice." That study named the 1990’s as the “turnaround decade” for church response to environmental crisis, which speaks to that Assembly's enthusiasm, if not its realistic grip on what would happen the following decade.

The huge support for this document makes it clear that this is another of those issues which has the potential to unite Presbyterians in common commitment and action across the spectrum of theological opinion. That study is available through the Office of the General Assembly, or it can be ordered online for $1.50 (including the study guide) at http://www.pcusa.org/environment/resources.htm. I highly recommend it for adult or youth education classes in your local church.

Third, I’ve been developing a friendship with Dan Terpstra, a Presbyterian from near Knoxville who is hot to get Presbyterians involved in environmental challenges in a far more profound and “hands-on” way. He is working with the Jaguar Creek Environmental Project in Belize to offer a one-week, experiential seminar to strategize about how our churches could and should find spiritual grounding and new life in the responding to the overwhelming destruction of God’s creation. The conference will take place October 22 to 29. We’re hoping to recruit a group of at least fifteen to twenty people (and we hope half of them will be college students) who will be financially and prayerfully supported by their congregations. Their task will be to spend a week in Belize discerning God’s will and the movement of God’s spirit on these important matters, and strategizing about how to move Presbyterians to take action. If you’re interested in following up on this, please be in touch with Dan at terpstra@cs.utk.edu. I think it’s a great opportunity.

These steps are obviously the tip of the iceberg, but they are at least a few, concrete places to begin.

May we be a blessing for all of God’s creation.