Thursday, October 16, 2014

Join Your Voice with Our Voices

The People’s Climate March is over. It was a glorious day on the streets of New York City, where Presbyterians joined over 400,000 people from all walks of life. Our voices were heard – but the March is only the beginning of our work to call on global leaders to support a strong global climate agreement.

As Christians, we know that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor. But the first commandment is to care for all of God’s creation. In Genesis 1, we are called to be stewards of all that God created, “God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth’” (Gen. 1: 26, The Message). Genesis 2 reads, “God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order” (Gen. 2:15). Caring for God’s creation is a huge responsibility and we cannot do it alone. We need to lift our voices with millions of other people of faith around the globe and let our leaders know that we need a strong global climate agreement.

That’s why people of faith are joining the Our Voices campaign. Pledge to lift your voice in prayer that all leaders will support a global climate agreement by clicking here. The time is truly NOW that we who love all that God has given us must rise, reach out, collaborate and create a sense of urgency for caring for God’s creation.  

Please share this email with your networks, so that more voices are raised.

For Creation,

Sue Smith
PEC Treasurer, GreenFaith Fellow, and M. Div. student at New Brunswick Theological Seminary

Creator God, You have called us to be keepers of your Earth; through greed, we have created an economy that destroys the web of life. We have changed our climate and drown in despair. Let oceans of justice flow, may we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother Earth. We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth. May they negotiate with wisdom and fairness, may they act with compassion and courage, and lead us in the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children. ~ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Protect God's Creation: Stop Carbon Emissions from Power Plants

Fossil fuel–fired power plants are the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions in the US. They account for a third of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Up until now, there have been no rules to control the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere; carbon dioxide has not been a regulated air pollutant.

Now, the EPA is proposing a Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels, by 2030. The proposal will also cut pollution that leads to soot and smog by over 25 percent. The Clean Power Plan will give flexibility to states to choose how to meet their individual goals.

The PEC Advocacy Committee has prepared official comments (hot link to comments) on the Plan and is asking the EPA to strengthen the rules by
   Increasing reductions of carbon emissions from power plants by at least 50%.
   Requiring at least 80% of our energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2050.
   Maintaining states’ schedules to submit plans by 2020, with no extensions.

You can submit your own comments online or sign an online letter. The comment period on the Clean Power Plan is open until December 1.

This action to restrict the amount of carbon that can be released is a big step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. As Christians who take God’s command to be good stewards of the earth seriously, supporting this first time ruling is a simple way to protect God’s Creation and stop the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases that humans are releasing into the atmosphere. 

Holy Creator, creation is too wonderful, too ancient, too beautiful, and too good to be desecrated, and yet, our use of fossil fuels tells a different story.  Help us align our words and our actions.  Open our hearts to change and our mouths that they may speak to our government leaders.  Open the ears of Administrator McCarthy that she might hear the roar of millions of voices calling for fast, decisive action on carbon emissions.  Let our love for you be evident in this time for comment. Amen

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Presbyterians are Going to the People's Climate March!

On September 21, hundreds of thousands of people are going to New York City to participate in the People's Climate March. Presbyterians will march along with many other faith communities.  The march route is available here.

Be sure to check Logistics for the Interfaith Contingent as information becomes available up to the time of the March. A Facebook event has also been set up for Presbyterians to share information.

   The Interfaith Contingent assembly area will be on W. 58th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues prior to the March. This block holds 10,000 people, and we want to fill it up! The map for the general location of each faith group is posted here. Look for the Presbyterian sign!
   Be sure to enter W. 58th Street from the 9th Avenue end. The 8th Avenue end is in the Columbus Circle area, and will be blocked.
   The Interfaith Contingent will be the last to step off into the March. This gives people worshipping in their own churches that morning more time to get to the March. The organizers are anticipating step off may happen between 12:30pm and 1:30pm, but it may be earlier, and may very well be later, there is no way to know.
   There will be a multi-faith prayer service starting at 11am on 58th Street. World-class musicians will be featured and prayers will be offered by leaders of many faith traditions. One of the musicians is Michael Fitzpatrick, a cellist who has worked with the Dalai Lama on Tuning the Planet. An excellent sound system has been rented so that everyone should be able to hear the service.
   Presbyterians have also been invited to worship with Rutgers Presbyterian Church (W. 73rd Street between Broadway and West End Avenue) at 11am and join the congregation in the March.
   Social Media: Follow what Presbyterians are doing on the March: #presbyPCM and follow the March in general: #climatemarch.
   At 6pm, join people from across a range of faiths and traditions in a ritual of covenant and commission for the future of our Earth at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Amsterdam Avenue at W. 112th Street).  This event is open to the public and passes may be requested here.

Can’t go to the March? You can support it from wherever you are! Participate from your local congregation at 1pm in the Global Climate Chorus, making a prayerful noise outdoors, ringing bells, chimes, offering a call to prayer, or other outdoor spiritual observance. Note that the whole March plans to take part in the Chorus as well.

After the March: Sign the petition which lifts up the voices of the world’s diverse faith communities, and those from many spiritual backgrounds, to ensure that world leaders clearly hear the moral imperative for a treaty by the December 2015 climate meetings in Paris. Sign the petition here.

Hope to see you in NYC on September 21 so we can pray together with our feet!

Sue Smith
PEC Treasurer
GreenFaith Fellow

Holy one, bless every shoe lace, every tired foot, every weary marcher. Bless their throats as they give voice to a strong new cry that says we need to change the way we live and work and have our being. And, an extra measure of blessing, please, on the heads those who have put so much into this amazing effort to show the world that WE DO CARE about your glorious creation. Amen

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Act to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska by Sep 19

Dear Friend of Creation Care,

On August 12, 2014 Bishop David Mahaffey and Bishop Shelley Wickstrom, and I, Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Yukon in Alaska, testified before the EPA concerning the Pebble Mine and Bristol Bay. 

In 2012 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) went on record as fully supporting the EPA in its work of protecting and restoring the environment. We are grateful for the EPA's work now and consider its involvement important.

Presbyterian denominational policy states: "Indeed, Presbyterians understand God’s creation to be sacred, and therefore it is something that can be desecrated."

In this case, the Bristol Bay watershed, the world’s largest salmon spawning habitat, has flourished for millennia with local residents participating in the bounty and care for that habitat.  Now the reports are in and the science is clear: this mine puts the watershed at risk. Pebble Mine might provide jobs and products for a generation or two, but it would put an ancient and sacred habitat at risk, as well as the unique way of life of the Alaskans who have cared for it so effectively.  This mine risks the ‘desecration’ of that watershed to satisfy one or two generations’ desires.  We need to assure that Alaskans can always live in harmony with this watershed habitat, that they can always enjoy the fishery jobs this watershed provides, and that this ancient Alaskan way of life can continue. 

Join the two bishops and me in an interfaith request to invoke and implement the 404-C protections provided through the Clean Water Act. Ask the EPA to protect this incredible piece of God’s creation today. The comment period ends September 19 so don’t delay!

Working together for God's Creation,
Rev. Curtis Karns
Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Yukon
PEC Northwest Regional Representative

Lively, leaping salmon, clear splashing water, sacred rivers, lakes and streams—no where is your handiwork more evident, Holy One!  Give us, we pray, the will to keep your beautiful Bristol Bay watershed the way you created it. Amen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Read the PEC Fall Update

From the PEC Fall Update

The world is becoming more and more complicated. Both coping and responding are becoming more difficult. Yet, commitment to a healthy, socially, and sustainably just society and Earth are vital to our existence as individuals and as a world community. We must renew and refresh and remain on task in caring for each other, caring for Earth.

During our recent General Assembly, the convention center filled with a sense of energy, spiritual centeredness, and hope. There was throughout, a feeling of gratitude for the strength of this denomination, yet at the same time, a knowledge that our strength is through our faith and our connection with our Creator. We are a body of Christ, seeking guidance in working toward being a model for society.

This denomination was well represented. The stalwart organizational strength of the PC(USA) was evident. The brilliant enthusiasm of youth was empowering. Hard-working members brought overtures and resolutions to committees, many of which moved to the floor of GA.
And there was the fire, glow, and energy of a new light among us, Fossil Free PCUSA, dressed in appropriately tinged orange shirts and kerchiefs. They were noticed.

We as a body of Christ are all indeed called: we are called to respond and commit in working toward a healthy, beautiful planet. True, it is difficult, challenging, and complicated. Yet God has gifted us individually and collectively with what is needed to heal the planet. I am grateful for your gifts, your commitment, and your work.

I am also sustained by the words of the New Social Creed, which can help strengthen and guide us. The following words from the Creed, particularly, relate to this important work:

In hope sustained by the Holy Spirit, we pledge to be peacemakers in the world and stewards of God’s good creation, by working for:

Adoption of simpler lifestyles for those who have enough; grace over greed in economic life.

Access for all to clean air and water and healthy food, through wise care of land and technology.

Sustainable use of earth’s resources, promoting alternative energy sources and public transportation with binding covenants to reduce global warming and protect populations most affected.

Equitable global trade and aid that protects local economies, cultures and livelihoods.
Strength to you all as we work toward climate justice, social justice, and a more loving and sustainable world community. 

Diane Waddell
PEC Moderator 

Awake! Awake!  Holy One, we are the choir.  We are awakened to the terrible things we have done to your gift of the garden.  Now our plea is for the music, notes and words, that we need to sing to those around us who are in a deep sleep of unawareness. Our hearts are full to overflowing with the pain of what we see around us.  Give us, we pray, the melody for awakening our human family. Amen

Note: This prayer was written by Holly Hallman, PEC Vice Moderator, as she took part in the PEC-Yukon Climate Conference in Alaska, along with 39 others.