Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Easter Reflection on the Power of Presbyterian Advocacy

Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Reflections 2014
Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice

Isaiah 58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 

 

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

Isaiah 58:1-12 - What a beautiful and inspiring passage - one that seems eerily written for us in our time and place. I was asked to reflect specifically on verse 11, and the six lines contain beautiful imagery of guidance, fulfillment, strength, life, energy, and eternity.  All that we yearn for.  Sign me up! 

    But wait, this is the promise at the end of the If/Then clauses of previous verses…  To reach the vision, I, as an individual, and we, as a community, must intentionally remove the yoke from among us, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil and we are to offer food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted.  

    When I read these words, I think of Yolanda who lives in La Oroyo, Peru and came down to Lima to meet with us about her children.  She told us there was a U.S. smelter in the town that was poisoning the air, the water, the people and the animals.  Indeed the town is one of the ugliest towns I have ever visited.   It could be the set for a sci-fi movie as the mountains look dead, the river leaves odd colors on its banks, and ash drifted down from the sky.  God’s creation was being destroyed.  The facts compelled Presbyterians from St. Louis, Columbus, and Washington, D.C. to connect the community to those in the U.S. who could do impartial health and environmental studies, journalists, and even testify before Peruvian Congress about the documented behavior of this company in Missouri.  Presbyterians hosted inter-faith prayer vigils and brought Peruvians to our own government officials.  It became an outpouring of support that has spanned over twelve years.  


Photo of Andes Mountains near La Oroyo, Peru

    And, yes, the company was closed down until it agreed to add scrubbers and other infrastructure it had promised to do years earlier.   And, yes, now the company is suing the Peruvian state for lost profits under a free trade agreement that values a company’s right to risk-free investment more than its responsibilities to a nation’s children and the land they live on, the waters they drink, and the air they breathe.

    I think of Yolanda because it wasn't until months later when I asked about her children that I realized that she was single and had no children.  Her children were all 11,000 kids who lived in La Oroya.  

Creator God,
May we love and care for all of earth as we do our own backyards and may we love and care for all children as we do our own.  Then, you, oh God, will guide us continually, satisfy our needs in parched places, make our bones strong and we shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never fail.  In the name of our Creator’s son, Amen.



Ruth Farrell has the joy and privilege of coordinating the Presbyterian Hunger Program.  Prior to that she and her husband Hunter served as mission co-workers in economic and community development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Peru. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Reflection for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday from Southeastern Louisiana

Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Reflections 2014
Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice

Isaiah 58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 

 

"if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday." Isaiah 58: 10

We in South Louisiana will come to the table this Maundy Thursday and to Good Friday’s deadliness. We will come as people on the edge of Exile. We will come as people who dwell in the dark shadows of a quickening disastrous future. We will come as residents of a sacrificial zone. We will come as a people who see God’s good life giving earth disappearing under our feet. We will come as people who see a cornucopia of good things to share and eat endangered. We will come as people who know every day the consequences of sin. We will come with a growing sense of urgency and foreboding. We will come as the fishers for a nation. We will come afraid to eat the bounty of our place. We will come as a people desperate for hope. We will come as poets and prophets, as fishers, dwellers-in-place, and providers of food. We will come because in the last analysis we have no other place to go. We will come to the table. We will come to face Good Friday. We will come full of fear and seeking hope. We come in darkness and gloom. We will come praying for light and noonday. WE WILL COME TO THE TABLE WHERE THE BREAD OF LIFE IS SHARED.



I See the
Hammer
Strike the crucifying Nails
And I see the Ghost tree
remains of the once mighty
Cypress.  
I see water
where Communities once thrived.
And the Ringing of the Nails
fills the Earth.

I See the
Hammer
Strike the crucifying Nails
and I see the City
a Flood.
Death floating.
And the Ringing of the Nails
fills the Earth.

I See the
Hammer
Strike the crucifying Nails
and I See the Brown Sludge
Cover the Earth
Stopping the Reflection
Of God’s Smile.
And the Ringing of the Nails
Covers the Sea.

I See the
Hammer
Strike the crucifying Nails
I See
the Black Death
Covering the Birthplace,
the Nursery place,
the Resting place,
Of God’s Creatures
And the Places of God’s People.
And the Ringing of the Nails
fills the Earth.

The Hammer Stops.
The Nails are Driven.
The Ringing Ends in
Silence.
Dead Silence.
And the Silence is Louder
Than All the Other Sounds.
It is the Sound of the Death of God.

ONLY THE SILENCE OF RESURRECTION IS LOUDER.


From “Nails” by Richard Krajeski
Richard Krajeski has been a Presbyterian pastor for almost 50 years and an environmental advocate even longer. He has been involved with the Presbyterian environmental program from its beginning.  He is a Fellow in the Society for Applied Anthropology. He is a founding board member of the international Gender and Disaster Network and the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association. Dick is a founder and President of the board of directors of the Lowlander Center, Dick now spends his time working to develop the Wetlands Theological Education Project of the South Louisiana Presbytery and serving the people of south Louisiana with his wife the Rev. Dr. Kristina Peterson and the people of the First Presbyterian Church of Bayou Blue.  
 
Rev. Dr. Kristina Peterson currently facilitates The Lowlander Center, a nonprofit organization that helps create solutions through education, research, and advocacy, beginning at the community level, for Lowland people and places in the bayous of Louisiana.  She received the PEC William Gibson Environmental Award in 2010.

Friday, April 11, 2014

PEC Invitations of the Season

PEC Friends,

We are journeying toward Holy Week and true manifestation of the beauty of spring!  Easter, Earth Day…and GA are approaching.  PEC has invitational reminders:
  • We are happy to be gearing up for our presence at GA. We are supporting a number of important eco-justice overtures which will be sent to committee for review.  Please pray and work pro-actively with your presbytery commissioners to advocate for these important overtures.  They include the divestment from fossil fuels overture, as well as food sovereignty, sustainable development, factory farming, coal export/transport, and others. Please follow PC-BIZ for updates and general information!
  • If you are attending GA, plan to visit our booth and sign up for our luncheon where we will hear from the Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith as well as view a recorded video made by Bill McKibben of 350.org especially for the PC(USA) and PEC.  Both will address divestment from fossil fuels.  (Food will be local and it will be a plant-based, whole foods menu.)
  • Advocacy is SO important in our work and every year,  PEC members have the opportunity to honor those who seek eco-justice.  During our luncheon we will honor the winners of our annual awards – the William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for an individual and the Restoring Creation Award for a group, whose work for Creation has been praiseworthy and creative.  We encourage you to nominate award winners.  Follow this link and plan to complete your nomination, by May 1.
I also want to remind you about the importance of supporting the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Offering. Financial donations to OGHS fund almost the entire budget of the Presbyterian Hunger Program including Environmental Ministries that partners with us and has supported us in the past.  Currently, however, funding for OGHS is declining.   Please encourage your congregations to share generously...not only these next two Sundays, but to go on-line and donate at any time of the year.
  
May the blessings of the seasons of Lent, Easter, and Springtime be with you,

Diane Waddell
Moderator, Presbyterians for Earth Care

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Reflections 2014
Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice

Isaiah 58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 

 


“If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness …” Isaiah 58:10

I suspect most of us have come face to face with hunger.  Perhaps you’ve volunteered at a soup kitchen or seen someone standing at an intersection asking for a handout.  Maybe you have been in the checkout line at the grocery while someone purchased their next meal with food stamps.  Yes, we’ve seen hunger and addressed it.  We’ve supported food drives conducted by the church and sent checks to charities whose mission is hunger relief.

But Isaiah asks more of us when he tells us that in addition to offering food to the hungry we are to “satisfy the needs of the afflicted.”  That’s a huge undertaking.

Seldom does a day pass when I don’t receive a letter asking me to help the afflicted; the hungry, the sick, those suffering because of some natural disaster, the orphaned.  The list of those in need, like the letters written on their behalf, is endless and overwhelming.  It encourages paralysis or indifference.  How do I choose a worthy cause?  What difference could my offering possibly make?

Many of the reflections you have been reading have focused our attention on saints.  That’s a bit of a stretch when we think about ourselves, isn’t it?  Me, a saint!  Who are you kidding?

Yet scripture is filled with references to saints who are rather ordinary men and women who do what they can to bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.  I think about the boy with the five loaves and two fish.  He was just an ordinary kid who gave his lunch away and who, in doing so, became an instrument of God’s goodness.  God says all of us are quite capable of doing something equally significant.  Take the next step and see where it leads you.  Several dozen members of the church I serve will be participating in the SNAP Challenge, living for a week on the same amount of grocery expenditures ($4.47 per day) as do our sisters and brothers who are dependent on government assistance.  Are these folks saints?  I would suggest their commitment to experiencing the challenges of poverty so as to better understand those in need is a step in the direction of sainthood.  Theirs is an “atonement” … a “being with” moment that is like unto Christ.

Gracious God, you made me in your image.  Help me live up to that reality.  Give me opportunities to feed the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted so that your light – not mine – shall rise in the darkness.

Jay McKell is a husband, father, and grandfather.  He gardens in the spring, prays for rain in August, celebrates October and plays in winter’s snow.  His current ministry focuses on pastoral care with some attention paid to social justice issues.

A Palm Sunday Reflection on Creation

Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Reflections 2014
Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice

Isaiah 58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 

 

Isaiah 58:8: Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

I have always loved the dawn. Growing up within a few minutes of the ocean in New Jersey was like having a constant and open invitation from God to experience the glory of the first bright light streaming across the horizon. I went often to enjoy the sunrise, regardless of time of year. I loved sitting in the quiet morning, watching the darkness transition to light, watching the myriad colors move across the sky, and finally, suddenly, watching the bright orange sun peek over the edge of the ocean.

This scripture makes me think of Matthew 5:14: "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid." God created light, and created it beautiful. God also created humans, to be a light and shine as brightly and beautifully as the first streams of dawn at the beach. I know humans are a part of creation, formed reflecting God’s image, but I really enjoy when we are compared to other glorious aspects of creation. It really drives the point home for me that we are connected to earth and should be caring for it. It’s a good reminder to let my light, which is a reflection of God’s own light, shine forth, with God behind me in all I do.

Will you pray with me?
Loving God, help us to remember to shine Your light in this world, as new and beautiful as the first light of every morning. Amen.


Colleen Earp is currently serving as a Young Adult Volunteer in South Louisiana, focusing on wetlands conservation and advocacy. Her bias towards sunrises over sunsets comes from growing up on the east coast in New Jersey. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Become a PEC member today!

Dear Friend of Earth Care,

Earth Day is fast approaching and it’s a good time to consider joining Presbyterians for Earth Care if you are not already a member. With your support, PEC can continue to send informative email messages and coordinate educational and inspirational conferences and advocacy events that shape the practice of environmental stewardship among Presbyterians. First time memberships are just $25.

If you are a PEC member, now is the time to renew your membership.  As a member, you know that the added benefits of membership include:
  • Connection to a Regional Representative to help your earth care ministry and connect you with other members in your presbytery or synod.
  • Resources for a variety of ways to bring earth care into your life as well as your church.
  • Access to a network of Presbyterians who share an eco-justice ethic.
  • A vote and voice within PEC.

With the help of your new or renewed membership, you can also be certain that you will be represented from a Presbyterian perspective on the pressing environmental issues of today including fracking, mountain top removal coal mining, coal-fired power plants and the Keystone XL pipeline.

We are grateful for your support and remind you that PEC memberships are due on Earth Day, April 22. You may join or renew online. Please also consider honoring a friend or relative with a gift membership for just $25.

Yours in Christ,

The PEC Membership Committee:
Dana Eglinton
Jane Laping
Fred Milligan (Chair)
Katie Preston

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Reflections 2014
Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice

Isaiah 58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 



Isaiah 58:6  Is not this the fast that I choose:  to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke?

On November 8, 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines with 200 mile per hour winds and a storm surge that reached 19 feet.  The destruction was immense and over 6,000 people lost their lives, 1.9 million people were rendered homeless and 6 million people were displaced.  This was a major tragedy, with it’s greatest impact on the poor.

As I surveyed the destruction in Tacloban during the weeks after the typhoon, I reflected on the inequity of being materially poor.  The vast majority of those remaining in Tacloban were the poor.  Besides the physical and emotional injuries from the typhoon, the diseases of poverty were readily apparent in the survivors due to poor access to health care, poor nutrition and toxin exposure. These are conditions which we have imposed on our brothers and sisters, either through commission or neglect.  I could understand (but not condone) that.   What seemed exceedingly unfair to me was that the poor were treated badly, even by nature.  We can break the bonds of injustice of man through prayer, advocacy and example, but how do we change the inequity of nature?

I could see that even here, the fault does lie with humankind. We cannot change the force of the wind or reduce the storm surge of a storm of a 200 mph typhoon.  However we can build up the resilience of the people to better withstand the forces of nature.  We can improve the health of the poor to allow them to better survive and recover from disaster.  We can improve the living standards so the people can have more substantial homes.  We can reduce income inequality so the poor don’t have to live in the most vulnerable margins of the land.  We can reduce the CO2 production to reduce the odds of developing even bigger and more devastating storms.

More storms will come, more earthquakes will occur and more droughts will afflict the land.  It is never a question of whether another disaster will occur, but when and where it will occur. The poor will always be with us.  However, we are called to care for them as our neighbors and family and to alleviate their suffering and to care for the land which sustains them.  We should make this care a priority in our lives.  We should do what we can to build them up and to petition our leaders to care for those who Jesus called ‘the least of these’.

Lord, help me to push past the constraints of my fears to confront those forces that oppress God’s people; to lift up those who have little, to comfort those who suffer and help heal all of God’s creation. 

Rick Randolph is a family physician in Lenexa Kansas who has worked extensively in the developing world.  He has provided primary care, public health and disaster response in the US, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and the Philippines.  Rick is a member of Grace Covenant Presbyterian in Heartland Presbytery.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

See what's happening in the Southeast!

PEC Southeast Regional Representative’s Report
Nancy Fayer-PEC SE Rep
March 9, 2014

ADVOCACY 
 In support of pollution reduction in the Chesapeake Bay and in local streams and rivers.

(1) Testimony presented before the House Environmental Matters committee (ENV) of Maryland House of Delegates on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
 I testified, as a member of First Presbyterian Church of Howard County and on behalf of the Earth Forum of Howard County, to request an unfavorable report from the House Environmental Matters Committee on House Bill 50-97-895, which would repeal the Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program enacted in 2012.  My position was that that many people in faith communities support the Stormwater management legislation and that the 2012 law should be kept in place without modification.  Approximately 25 Delegates and 150 people attended this hearing.

Background: Stormwater is a substantial source of nutrient and sediment pollution, and other toxic pollutants including pesticides, fouling local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. In Maryland, stormwater accounts for roughly 19% of the nitrogen pollution reaching the Bay each year. As part of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Maryland has targeted stormwater nitrogen load reductions of roughly 18%, requiring local retrofits as the primary means of achieving such reductions. Unfortunately, stormwater retrofits – installing control measures where previously none existed, or upgrading inadequate control measures – are some of the most costly pollution reductions to be accomplished in Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). 

Under current law, the 10 largest local jurisdictions – those with federally-mandated stormwater management programs – were required to develop stormwater utilities and assess fees within their jurisdictions in order to finance stormwater management retrofits, stream restorations, and related stormwater projects. The guiding principle behind such programs is that all properties that contribute stormwater to local waterways should share the burden of correcting the problems caused by the runoff. 

(2) Visit to members of Congress on Capitol Hill – Wednesday, March 5
On March 5, I participated in an ADVOCACY day on Capitol Hill, organized the Choose Clean Water Coalition of 200+ clean water related groups. During this day, I was able to visit the offices and speak with staff members in the offices of Congress Members John Sarbanes (D-MD), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Steny Hoyer (D-MD). and Sen. Barbara Mikulski

The purpose of these visits to Capitol Hill were to:
1) Ask the members of Congress to support full funding for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program AND for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
The President’s 2015 budget, recently released, requested $73.1 million for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program.
This program provides critical support to the states to implement clean water programs and last year Congress directed EPA to provide at least $10 million for the Chesapeake Stewardship Grants with $54 million for the Small Watersheds Grants, currently administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
In FY 2014 Congress provided $1.5 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low interest loans to local governments for clean water infrastructure project.  This is critical for the 1,779 local governments in the Bay watershed.

2) Ask members of Congress to cosponsor and support the FRAC Act, the FRESHER Act, and the CLEANER Act to protect our local water resources from the impacts of natural gas development. These bills remove loopholes that allow the oil and gas industry to be the only one in the United States not covered by these provisions meant to protect public health.

FRAC Act (H.R, 1921, S 1135): The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemical Act protects drinking water sources by closing a 200S Safe Drinking Water Act loophole exempting drilling technology involving underground injection.
- EPA would set standards that would allow for states to integrate the methodology into their own permitting processes.
- Would also require drilling companies to disclose chemicals used to break and keep open the rocks to extract gas.  Proprietary formulas would not be disclosed unless in a public health emergency.

FRESHER Act (H.R. 1175): The Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation Act would close a loophole in the Clean Water Act that exempts oil and gas construction and drilling facilities form obtaining stormwater runoff permits. This Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to submit a report on the impacts of stormwater runoff on surface and groundwater resources from oil and gas operations.

The CLEANER Act (H.R. 2825): The Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations Act would eliminate a loophole exempting oil and gas waste from hazardous waste disposal safety standards in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This would reduce impacts to surface and groundwater as well as drinking water based on the handling and disposal of waste.

3) Ask members of Congress to consider cosponsoring and supporting the innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act of 20`13 (H.R. 3449/S 1677). This bill would:
- Establish up to five regional Centers of Excellence (at land grant universities) to conduct research, provide training and offer technical assistance on innovative approaches to managing polluted runoff.
- Provide funding for community-based projects to manage polluted runoff
- Encourage innovative stormwater infrastructure through policies at EPA


OUTREACH

Distributing Brochures:
On February 8, 2014, I took PEC brochures to pass out at the meeting of 35 people from various parts of the Baltimore Presbytery, who were attending the Presbyterians in Annapolis Legislative Day.
Contacting Presbyteries:
I have begun conversations with a contact in the National Capitol Region Presbytery and with a contact in Philadelphia about doing some PEC work together in those areas. 


EVENTS ORGANIZED

Earth Forum of Howard County, Sunday, March 16, 2014, 2 PM, presents: “Why Garden: Successful and Sustainable Gardening in a Changing Climate" with Dr. Sara Via, Dept. of Biology and Dept. of Entomology, University of Maryland, and “Insights on Environmental Legislation” with Maryland Senator Brian Frosh. The Earth Forum is held at the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, Columbia, Md.

Participants may welcome the arrival of spring at the Earth Forum, while perfecting plan for their gardens and supporting eco-systems. They will learn practical techniques for successful gardening in our new and challenging environment as Dr. Via shows how gardeners can be an important part of the climate change solution while creating peaceful and restorative landscapes and growing healthy food.  Also featured on the program is Sen. Frosh, who will giber an up-to-the minute analysis of Earth supporting-legislation being considered during the current legislation session.
Completing the program is a Spring Faire of fifteen gardening learning stations illustrating gardens and gardening techniques to expand your gardening experience and answer your Tasty refreshments will complement the program.  Contact us at earthforum@firstpreshc.org or call 410-730-3545.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent

Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Reflections 2014
Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice

Isaiah 58:1 Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 

 

Turning Around the Pointing Finger

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil ( Isaiah 58:9)


We need to be calling out to the Lord to help us defend Creation from the multiple assaults that are occurring daily. You have undoubtedly heard of GMO foods, but do you know about genetically engineered (GE) trees? Like GMO foods, GE trees have been genetically modified to possess certain desirable traits, such as making them more economical to grow. For example, ArborGen is seeking fast track approval from the USDA to sell their cold-tolerant GE eucalyptus seedlings for vast plantations in the Southeast to be used as fuel. Eucalyptus has many drawbacks including that it is flammable and could result in devastating wildfires, it is water depleting and diminishes supplies for communities, forests and other ecosystems, and it is highly invasive.

Unlike GMO foods, GE trees are not annuals like corn and soybeans. They continue to grow for decades, spreading their seeds and pollen vast distances and increasing the chance of contamination from plantation to forest.  GE eucalyptus is only the beginning and if it is approved, GE poplar and GE pine won’t be far behind. What if native trees become contaminated with GE pine pollen to produce hybrid trees, for example, and our forests now contain copyrighted genes that ArborGen claims are theirs? Will ArborGen own trees in our national forests, like Monsanto has claimed that their GMO corn is in fields where it was never planted?

When we call out, the Lord will answer and say here I am, assuring us in this time of trouble. In a situation like this, Isaiah tells us to examine our own conscience and not point our finger directly at ArborGen or speak evil of GE trees. How does our desire for abundant and affordable energy drive this frantic search for quick sources of fuel? Are we guilty of holding back our voices about various abuses to God’s creation?  



 
Creator God, we call out to you and ask for your help in protecting the wondrous world you have given us to call home. You answer us and say, “Here I am.” May your presence give us the strength and courage to lift up our voices like a trumpet and speak out about the injustices to your creation that we witness each day. 


 
Jane Laping is the Vice Moderator of Presbyterians forEarth Care, is on the steering committee of Western North Carolina Green Congregations, and heads up the Creation Care Team at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville. She has been an advocate for the environment since the 1970’s.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Read PEC's Spring Update Now!


PEC's Spring Update is Here!

Moderator's Message

 
“BE BOLD” is a theme that is prominent in Earth Care Advocacy as 2014 unfolds. It is a theme we might listen for as we awaken from the long winter and refresh and reengage ourselves in our ministry as spring (finally) approaches.

 We hear BOLD in the theme of the 2014 PEC Lenten reflections, “Advocating for Environmental and Social Justice”, as we hear the words of Isaiah, Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! (Isaiah 58:1). I am grateful for all those who have shared in this set of reflections, from Ash Wednesday through Earth DaySunday on April 27 (the Sunday after Easter.) The offerings submitted are food for thought and action particularly pertinent to our faith-based ministry.

We hear BOLD in the voices of those who have written and concurred with overtures for the 2014 General Assembly. Those overtures currently include “On Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies”, “Importance of Sustainable Development and the Precautionary Principle”, “On Food Sovereignty for All”, and the overture on coal transport and export. A great deal of work and ‘boldness’ has gone into these overtures, and it will be very exciting to watch as the process of enlightenment and engagement enfolds up to, through, and after GA 2014.

There is excitement and BOLDness as the 2014 PEC Advocacy Team looks toward new ways of resourcing and supporting work in creation care particularly in areas of climate change, sustainable development, in caring for water, soil, air. We continue to partner with Fossil Free PCUSA as divestment from fossil fuels sparks fiery and important conversations!

BE BOLD, holding fast to the words from Isaiah 58:8,Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 

Let us pray for vision, creativity, and strength as we re-engage in 2014 toward deeper and meaningful eco-justice!

Holding Fast Together,

Diane Waddell, Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care