Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meet the new PEC Steering Committee

PEC Welcomes New Leadership
to Steering Committee

At our national conference, Down-to-Earth Advocacy and Action, at Montreat Conference Center last week, Presbyterians for Earth Care introduced our new Steering Committee for 2015-2016, welcoming two new members. Sue Regier was voted in as the new Treasurer, replacing Sue Smith who served the organization for more than six years and David Sholin was voted to take Rick Owen’s place as Southwest Regional Representative.

Sue Regier has been a member of PEC since 2004 and has many years of experience managing finances.  She has been on the finance committee at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill NC since 2010.  She is experienced in tracking funds, writing grants and managing grants through her professional work managing land acquisition planning and implementation for the NC State Parks System.  Her passion for faith-based justice is rooted in her family where her parents worked for social justice causes from a faith perspective.  Sue lives in Durham NC.

David Sholin returns to the PEC Steering Committee having previously served beginning in 2003. While on the Steering Committee he was active on the Membership and Fundraising Committees. Prior to being on the Steering Committee, he served on the PEC Nominating Committee. David lives in Phoenix, AZ.

A few other changes have occurred on the Steering Committee, as well. Diane Waddell remains as our committed and hard-working Moderator, but Abby Mohaupt, previously our At-Large Representative, is the new Vice Moderator. Holly Hallman, former Vice Moderator, returned to her former position as Northwest Regional Representative. Kathleen Dove, Dana Eglinton, Nancy Fayer, and Paul Henschen remain in their positions as Regional Representatives. 

Our gratitude and thanksgiving go to Curt Karns, Rick Owen, and Sue Smith who have served PEC so well during the past few years.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

See who won PEC's Awards for 2015

PEC’s 2015 Award Winners Announced

This year, Presbyterians for Earth Care will present its two awards for exceptional environmental achievements to an individual and an organization at its 2015 Conference, Down-to-Earth, Advocacy and Action.

The William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual whose faith-based work for the environment deserves recognition. This year’s award goes to the Reverend Rebecca Barnes who has spent the majority of her life serving God’s creation as a faith-based eco-justice educator, activist, author, and organizer.

The Rev. Rebecca Barnes
Rebecca served as the first Coordinator of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation (PRC), as it was known at the time, from 2001 to 2007. While a part-time Coordinator, she also worked with Bill Somplatsky-Jarman of the PC(USA) Environmental Justice Office as a program assistant from 2001 to 2003. After attending Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, she began working in her local area to create dynamic, ecumenical, and inclusive worship spaces for engaging in eco-justice concerns, worked in local churches and ecumenical networks and continues to do so. She returned to the Environmental Justice office to coordinate the Earth Care Congregations Program, administer the Environmental Ministry Action Network and educate the denomination through webinars and a presence at national meetings and conferences. Rebecca is also the author of “50 Ways to Help Save the Earth.”

The Restoring Creation Award, given to an organization for outstanding environmental work, goes to Forest Lake Presbyterian Church (FLPC) in Columbia, South Carolina.

Since establishing its Environmental Stewardship Committee in 2005, FLPC has
Children at FLPC harvest potatoes
demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship through actively engaging all members of its congregation (children and adults alike) in “greening” the church property, their homes, and their neighborhood. These greening activities include education, recycling, environmentally sound gardening, and the conservation of energy, water, and other resources.

FLPC has long been an environmental leader in both the city of Columbia and the PC(USA). It was named the first PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation in South Carolina in 2010 and promotes creation care with its active leadership in networking with and supporting community environmental groups and other congregations. FLPC is continually striving to discern new ways of fulfilling this part of their vocation. 

Join us as we honor these award winners during dinner on Thursday, September 17, in Montreat’s Assembly Inn Dining Hall in North Carolina, as part of PEC's 2015 Conference

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Proposed Overtures for 2016 GA

PEC Supports Overtures for 2016 General Assembly

Presbyterians for Earth Care is consistently grateful for your work in environmental and social justice efforts.  One way to be proactive is in preparing overtures to be brought to our General Assembly (GA).

The next GA will be June 18-26, 2016 in Portland, Oregon, and PEC will be supporting many overtures. Among them are overtures to
  • sell investments in fossil fuels (divest) and reinvest in clean energy,
  • raise a voice against the fracking industry that destroys land, water and the way that people live in North Dakota,
  • stop the use of America’s railroads for transporting oil through vulnerable communities and putting them in the “blast zone,” and
  • add ecological language to the Book of Order.

Additionally there will be an opportunity to hear the follow-up study and recommendations regarding the Precautionary Principle overture passed in 2014. It was sent to a committee to help keep the church informed about the importance of being proactive for environmental and social safety in the manufacture of goods.

One new overture coming from the Presbytery of New Castle recommends adding the phrase “caring for God’s creation” to The Ministry of Members section of the Book of Order to encourage all Presbyterians to care for God’s creation. According to the rationale for the recommendation (together both make up an overture), “the Bible, our Reformed tradition expressed in the confessions and the Book of Order, and the latest scientific research all support the need for this addition.”

The full text of the overture with six pages of background information can be found online and includes summaries of 
  • the biblical basis by Dr. William P. Brown, Professor of Old Testament Columbia Theological Seminary
  • six Reformed Confessions,
  • Book of Order references,
  • past GA actions, and
  • latest scientific news.

Please consider asking your Session or Presbytery Mission Committee to bring this overture to your Presbytery for concurrence. For information about how to submit an overture click here or email Bruce Gillette with questions.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Final Issue of Paper-based PEC Update

Moderator’s Message by Diane Waddell

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Earth-tending,

The more I feel and sense the wonder of God's gifting of this Earth, our home, the more I am humbled and amazed. At the same time, there are also innumerable causes for concern with the realization of the challenges the fragile planet faces as a result of the overuse and abuse of our home.

Overall, there seems to be a rise in the desire for economic emphasis. I have noted this from local comments in my Session to congressional comments recently as I participated in a fly-in to DC to help promote the Clean Power Plan. I am writing this as I participate in a brief Presbytery mission trip in Kenya. Economic disparity is very evident here, as we have stayed and worked in an area not simply "off the grid" but without a choice whether to be off or in. The home where we stayed, just recently had running water added.

How can we balance a system of social, economic and environmental justice? We truly need a new ethic of Earth-caring, of a global (current and future) community.

PEC is working toward our September 15-18 Montreat Conference with anticipation of an excellent experience in Eco-justice-seeking. We look forward to greeting members and friends during an in-gathering of wisdom and strengthening. We also encourage you as a congregation or presbytery committee to write or concur with an eco-justice overture for General Assembly 2016 in Portland. More information will be at the conference.

PEC also looks forward to an enhanced means of communicating. For several years, the Steering Committee has researched the possibility of changing our newsletter. This Update, therefore, will be our final printed version. We will begin with the Fall 2015 issue as a new model of a creative e-newsletter. This will be sent monthly in a form similar to an e-blast but with a variety of articles/offerings regarding faith-based eco-justice. You will be able to download and print it, however, if you have questions or concerns, please contact our Coordinator, Jane Laping, at presbyearthcare@gmail.com. Please also continue to actively check and share our Facebook page.

Thank you for your work in Creation care. We appreciate your PEC connections and look forward to continuing and enhancing connections, and our fall gathering that will include our 20th anniversary celebration.

Hold fast. Honor your Place in Creation. Let us continue our sacred work together in gratitude.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do you know a PEC award winner?

Nominate a Deserving Individual or Church/Group for a PEC Award

PEC is excited about our national conference, Down-to-Earth Advocacy and Action, September 15 –18 at Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina and are looking forward to seeing you there.  We will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary at the conference and will also be presenting our annual awards. Even if you cannot attend, you can participate in a couple ways:

   Share your recollections of the first 20 years of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation/Presbyterians for Earth Care by writing about your experiences at www.pecmemories.com
   Nominate a deserving person or organization to receive one of two Presbyterians for Earth Care Awards.

If you are a member of PEC, you are encouraged to nominate awardees. The William
The Rev. William Gibson
Gibson Lifetime 
Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose faith-based work for the environment deserves recognition. Rev. William Gibson was a founding member of PEC, author and eco-justice advocate, and editor of the book, “Eco-Justice – The Unfinished Journey.” Previous awardees include the Rev. William Gibson and our other founders, the Revs. Bill Knox and John Jackson.

The Restoring Creation Award is given to a faith-based organization including congregations, governing bodies, ecumenical agencies, and Presbyterian-related entities for environmental work that is particularly praise-worthy. Montreat Conference Center and Warren Wilson College have received this award in the past.

Rev. Bill Somplatsky-Jarman
receives award from Moderator
Jenny Holmes in 2011.
We generally look for award nominees within the Presbytery or general region of the conference: North Carolina or Southeastern US. However, nominations from other areas or regions are welcome. Click HERE for more information about the awards, the Rev. William Gibson, and previous award winners.

If you are not a member or your membership is not current you can join or renew today. Then go to the nomination form and fill it out with your favorite awardee.

For God’s Earth,

Jane Laping

PEC Coordinator

Thursday, July 9, 2015

An Ecologically Sustainable Future

 Recognizing an Ecologically Sustainable Future
by Rev. Dr. Patricia Tull
Keynote Speaker at PEC National Conference September 15-18, 2015

Writing Inhabiting Eden: Christians, the Bible, and the Ecological Crisis revolutionized my thinking about the earth and its inhabitants as seen by Scripture’s writers. Subsequent work with congregations has led me to further questions: What strengths, or virtues, are being called forth among those who care for creation? How are these gained? What does an ecologically sustainable future look like, and how can we know it when we see it? In my keynote lectures at the Presbyterians for Earth Care Conference at Montreat, I plan to explore these themes: the human role as Scripture’s writers imagine it; the shape of social movements and their leadership; and compelling visions for a healthy, just, and satisfying future.  

First, in “Rethinking Scripture, Humans, and Creation,” I will explore assumptions Scripture’s writers held that may surprise and help us now. The metaphor of “dominion” that has so captivated modern thinking is neither Scripture’s only nor its most realistic model. The Bible offers other visions of humanity that are both healthier and truer to our experience, inviting both critique of human powers and humility before nature. Not only creation stories but the Pentateuch’s teachings, Psalms, prophets, and wisdom give food for imagination and guidance for action.

Yet every new thing that humans seek to do confronts us with the problem of imagining a future that is largely unknown, unfolding before us without a roadmap. While each paradigm shift that has preceded us is by definition unique, some common elements can be found in stories from our past that will help us choose our actions now. My second lecture will discuss “Creating Social Movements for Change,” as it pertains to faith communities guided by the moral demand to promote ecological sustainability.

In my third lecture, “Shifting to a Flourishing Future,” I hope to envision what we Earth Care Presbyterians are aiming toward. Apocalyptic scenarios of an overheated planet are all too clear to environmentalists passionate about averting climate change. What is more difficult is to imagine—and appropriate—visions of the world that we wish to see emerge. No one can predict the future, but the more clearly we imagine the society we are aiming for, the more readily we will recognize solutions that lead toward it.  


The Rev. Dr. Patricia (Trisha) Tull is a Presbyterian teaching elder and A. B. Rhodes Professor Emerita of Hebrew Bible at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and author of several books, including Inhabiting Eden: Christians, the Bible, and the Ecological Crisis. She is a Climate Reality presenter, a GreenFaith fellow, and in addition to writing and teaching widely on Scripture and environmental issues, she works as affiliate developer for Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light.