Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Second Week of Lent Devotional

Second Week of Lent – Ann Owen

Feasting on God’s Gifts; Fasting in Sorrow

A Lenten Devotional by Presbyterians for Earth Care 2012

Genesis 9:12-13.

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

Morning Prayer:

Creator God, you make all things
and weave them together in an intricate tapestry of life.
Teach us to respect the fragile balance of life and to care for all the gifts of your creation.
Guide by your wisdom those who have power and authority,
that, by the decisions they make, life may be cherished
and a good and fruitful Earth may continue to show your glory and sing your praises.

Almighty God,
you have called us to tend and keep the garden of your creation.
Give us wisdom and reverence for all your plants and animals who share this planet with us and whose lives make possible our own.
Help us to remember that they too love the sweetness of life and join with us in giving you praise.
(From the National Council of Churches Earth Day Sunday resource packet.)

Ellen F. Davis of Duke Divinity School has asserted that "eating is practical theology, or it should be: daily it gives us the opportunity to honor God with our bodies." I had the pleasure of hearing Davis at the 2009 Presbyterians for Earth Care conference at Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina when she presented a talk entitled, Being a Creature Means You Eat: Reading Genesis One in the 21st Century. She said that Genesis 1 is not only a theological statement about food; it is also an ecological one. Eating is practical ecology as well as practical theology -- indeed, the "most important ecological act we perform."

Davis was also an advisory board member and a contributor to The Green Bible, the green-letter edition of the New Revised Standard Version. An author of eight books, including An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, Davis says that every day, "taking our sustenance from the earth and from the bodies of other animals, we enter deeply into the mystery of creation. Our never-failing hunger is a steady reminder to acknowledge God as the Giver of every good gift."

Her message that getting food from field to table is the most important religious act we perform was one that really resonated with me. My husband Rick and I have been making a concerted effort to reduce the carbon footprint of this most religious act: we are eating much lower on the food chain; we choose not to use bottled water; we purchase from local growers; and we compost our table scraps.

The six-week Northwest Earth Institute discussion course Menu for the Future that we took in 2009 had a major impact on us, as it did a number of our classmates -- so much so that the Hungry Scholars group that we subsequently formed has continued to meet monthly for almost three years around the topic of ethical and sustainable eating.

Evening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Creator and Sustainer of Life, please help us to remember that with each meal, we enter deeply into the mystery of creation. Remind us too what it means to be a creature charged with exercising dominion -- that as you keep and sustain us, we must keep and sustain your creation. May we be joyfully aware each day, that as we consume the energy that keeps us alive for a time, we are eating until we ourselves become part of the fertile soil that yields more food for your creatures.

Ann Owen serves as the Southwest Regional Representative for Presbyterians for Earth Care. She is active at Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock, one of the first churches to obtain the PC (USA) Earth Care Congregation certification. She founded the Environmental Stewardship group at Second and chaired it for three years. Ann is also active in environmental issues in her community, serving for three years on the Little Rock Sustainability Commission.

Monday, February 27, 2012

PEC Update Spring 2012

Dear Friends in Earth Care,

The latest PEC Update is here. Click here to access it in PDF Format.

During a recent conference call of the Steering Committee, members were asked to share their hopes for PEC and for Earthkeeping. Hopes included growth for PEC as well as deepening our relationship with our partner groups. Yet one person found these times of climate change too challenging to find hope. At that time we were reminded of the words of Dr. Bill Brown, who led our worship at our 2011 PEC Conference and said that “Hope finds us.”

So in that sense, embracing humility and faith, we come, with gratitude.

We come, in early 2012, to seek and share…

Refreshment and Rebirth as we look toward Resurrection (especially noting Bill Brown’s Easter message in PEC’s Lenten devotion on the ‘ecology of resurrection’.)

We come, looking toward…

Renewal and Re-commitment …through Earth Day (April 22) and the springing forth of newness in creation in the season of spring itself.

We come, inviting you to

Reconnect with PEC through networking such as with our Regional Representatives who are sending emails to members in their regions

And we invite you

Towards Reunion with us at General Assembly.

I have just returned from a partnership trip of Heartland Presbytery representatives to Maya Quiche Presbytery in Guatemala. I was able to connect in both social and environmental justice arenas. I toured and interviewed the owners of a sustainable coffee plantation (Finca Santa Elena) and hiked through a lush jungle area in northern Guatemala. (Each were both earth-embracing and educational events.) They represented a welcome stretch of my physical borders to embrace both these gifts of creation. I invite you likewise, this season and beyond, to stretch your virtual borders (and/or com-fort zones) and to renew your personal creation care commitments.

For example…

I am grateful to all who have been a part of this issue, including Update coordinators Abby Mohaupt (Editor) and Holly Hallman. Thanks to Karen Turney who has represented the Advocacy Committee in submitting a timeline of environmental advocacy in the past several issues. Thanks as well to our GA partners represented, including Bill Somplatsky-Jarman and Rebecca Barnes-Davies.

I am grateful for each of you as you work for Earth-keeping …through Recommitment and Reconnection

In Renewal and Hope,

Diane Waddell
Presbyterians for Earth Care

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Week of Lent Devotional

Feasting on God’s Gifts; Fasting in Sorrow

A Lenten Devotional by Presbyterians for Earth Care 2012

Scripture – Psalm 84:1-4

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.

The most famous landmark in Rio De Janiero is Christ the Redeemer statue that stands atop Corcovado Hill. The Hill itself is over 2310 feet high. This statue of Christ, recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the World, embraces the city with his outstretched arms rising 30 meters into the sky from the top of the hill. To the world the statue may have many meanings: The victory of Christianity over the pagan native inhabitants; the supremacy of Christ over all the lesser gods people worship in the valley below; the presence of the suffering Christ who watches over the suffering of the millions of poor Favella dwellers in this city of contrasts.

What I discovered on a recent visit to this “marvelous city” is that the immediate surroundings of this statue of our Lord is Tijuca Park, the largest urban forest in the world. Home to 30 waterfalls, hundreds of plants and trees and at least 100 different animal species, the park actually reduces the medium temperature of the city by approximately nine degrees.

This 8000 acre rainforest was once stripped bare of its native vegetation by coffee and sugar cane plantations. Replanted over ten painstaking years by engineer M.G. Archer, Tijuca National Park was the result of the project which began in 1861. Concerned that the erosion and deforestation caused by the sugar and coffee plantations combined with a dramatic decrease in rainfall in the area would severely reduce drinking water available to his subjects, the Portuguese King Don Pedro II began the reforestation of the area. A tribute to his ecological mind, Tijuca National Park is one of the last few remnants of the Atlantic Rainforest that at one time dominated the Southern coast of Brazil.

Prayer - Holy One, as we contemplate the outstretched arms of the Christ the Redeemer statue, we know that it represents the actual redemption of a very real piece of God’s creation from the destruction wrought by the hands of humanity. We know that the living Christ is at work through our hearts and hands. Continue, as we fast in sorrow for what human hands have done and are doing to Your creation, to give us the feast of hope for, not only, the rain forests of Brazil but for the entire world.

Rev. Fred Milligan is an At-Large member of the PEC Steering Committee, where he chairs the Membership and Fundraising Committee. He also serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Presbyterian Eco-Stewards program and its liaison with PEC. Fred currently serves as Interim Pastor, Head of Staff of The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City, Michigan.

Click here to access the devotional in PDF Format.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ash Wednesday Devotional

Feasting on God’s Gifts; Fasting in Sorrow
2012 Presbyterians for Earth Care Lenten Devotional

Psalms 51:1-17
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Morning Prayer:
Creator of all, we stand at this in-between place, recalling the advent wonder yet standing on the road that leads to the passion and cross. The Book of Common Prayer tells us that we are ash, dust, earth. Let us pause and find afresh the meaning of those words—a meaning that links us, earth, ash and dust, to that all-that-was-and-is-and-ever-will-be. …Words that place us neither over nor under all of your good works, simply pieces of your great whole.

Ah, the feasting is over. Mardi Gras has come and gone, the fat from Fat Tuesday has moved from lips to hips where it joins the Christmas cookies, New Year’s salty treats and Twelfth Night’s lovely crepes. It is Ash Wednesday with its solemn assembly and dusky cross on our foreheads. Our Lenten journey, this year will lead us to thoughts on how to feast from the table God sets before us in creation and how to fast from the things in our lives that tear at that lovely repast. But, for a moment let us consider the liminal space that comes between any two things. In Latin, liminal is the word for threshold. Ash Wednesday is that Day. It is the time/space between the feast and the fast but is neither. An image that explains liminality is that of a trapeze artist. Picture the person “flying” through the air and then letting go of the bar but still far from the bar that is coming from the other direction. That moment when one thing is gone and the next has not arrived. In the air. Not here and not there. Ash Wednesday is that day. There is the power and beauty of creation and there is our use/misuse of that. Between the two is liminal space and an invitation to pause and know, to hear the whisper of the still small voice, to let go of human “doing,” to wait.

Evening Prayer:
Do we really have to do this? Can’t we just buy daffodils and wait for the Easter Bunny? Advent is so nice. Now you are asking us to wear the soot of last year’s palms on our faces, marking us as different—as fellow travelers with The Twelve. Keep us from spinning off into the activities that buffer us from feeling the pain of the journey. Hold us, each day in the liminal space that reminds us of timeless earth, dust and ash.

Rev. Holly Hallman is the Northwest Regional Representative for PEC. She is a native of Colorado and lives in Seattle. She is often found (and heard) where there are opportunities for salmon advocacy.

Click here to access the devotional in PDF Format.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eco-Stewards Program

Dear friends in Earth Care,

Are you, or do you know a young adult (20-30), who wants to grow in their faith, has a passion for earth care, and could benefit from a wonderful weeklong event focused on these two passions? Are you (or they) interested in a paid summer internship? Please consider participating in the Eco-Stewards Program. Read more about this PEC co-sponsored program below.


Diane Waddell, PEC Moderator - Find us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter

ECO-STEWARDS PROGRAM - Apply by March 1.

Applications are now available for the June 2-9, 2012 Eco-Stewards Program in Vermont and Boston. Spread the word!

This program for young adults (age 20-30) will focus on Climate Change & Christian Activism in light of the recent surge in protest movements from Occupy Wall Street to Tar Sands Action to

Join the Eco-Stewards as they meet with Occupy Boston’s spiritual leaders, visit Walden Pond to discuss Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, help with Hurricane Irene relief projects in Vermont, talk with’s grassroots organizers and discuss our individual eco-faith journeys while hiking in the Green Mountains or paddling the Connecticut River. Among others, the program’s leadership will include: Rev. Rob Mark of Harvard University’s Memorial Church and First Presbyterian Church of Waltham, Massachusetts and Becky W. Evans, a freelance environmental journalist and communication professor at Boston University and Lasell College.

In addition to this weeklong event, paid and unpaid summer-long internships are also available.

You can download the application here. Rolling admissions close March 1. Questions? Send an email to

Monday, February 6, 2012

PEC Lenten Devotional 2012

Click here to access our 2012 Lenten Devotional or, if you're not already a member, join PEC to get regular email devotional deliveries.

Friends in Earth Care,

We enter into Lent in gratitude for God’s graciousness. We are i
n awe of the beauty of this sacred space with which God has gifted us.

At the same time, we come in grief; with deep sorrow for the losses which Creation has borne…loss of topsoil,
clean water, habitats of species; loss of clean air and pristine wilderness, of opportunity for fuller health and healing; and much more.

With this Lenten Devotional, Presbyterians for Earth Care invites you to enter into Lent with us … seeking… reflecting …pondering… “Feasting and Fasting” . Each devotional will contain Scripture, Prayer, and a Reflection. There is a reading for each holy day and one for each week of Lent.

The reflections are based on “Feasting and Fasting.” A 2006 set of devotionals from (then) Presbyterians for Restoring Creation followed a similar theme. Members explained,“We are called both to attend to the sacredness of Creation and to respond to it by active participation in the protection of Creation”.

You will receive this devotional electronically only. It will be shared a few days before the holy day or holy week it represents. It will also be available on the PEC website. Please share it with others.

Many thanks to those who helped develop these devotionals. Thanks also to Shantha Ready Alonso who prepared the layout and especially to the Rev. Holly Hallman, member of PEC’s Steering Committee, who worked as co-lead in developing this offering.

Deep peace and strength to us all as we enter into this sacred holy season. May we together seek and find the connections and blessings of feasting and fasting as we encounter Christ in and through Creation.

Click here to access our 2012 Lenten Devotional or join PEC to get regular email devotional deliveries.

Diane Waddell is a nurse practitioner, practicing integrative and holistic medicine. She is a moderator of Earthkeepers of Heartland Presbytery, which has been active in preparing eco-justice overtures for General Assembly.