Thursday, May 31, 2012

We can do it: 600 messages to EPA by 6/25. Let's lower U.S. Carbon Emissions.

PEC has set an ambitious short-term goal: 600 by 6/20. Will you help us achieve it?

By June 20, we want 600 people from the PEC network to send a comment to the EPA, urging EPA to take a strong stand in restricting future power plant carbon dioxide emissions. All comments are due for counting by June 20.

The EPA has proposed a new carbon rule that would set carbon dioxide emission limits for new power plants. Setting a standard to reduce carbon emissions from new power plants will help slow climate change and ensure future reductions in US carbon emissions. PEC is joining the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs and many other partners in urging the EPA to ensure the final carbon rule be at least as strong as the proposed rule set forth in this docket. This is the first opportunity we have had in this country to regulate greenhouse gas

You can help PEC achieve 600 by 6/20 by doing the following before June 20:
1. Send in your comment.
Click here and send a comment on the EPA's Carbon Rule. (If every single person on the PEC email list sent in a comment upon receiving this message, we would reach our goal immediately.)

2. Share this blog post.
Encourage your friends and members of your faith community to sign on by sharing this blog post with others.

3. Go Viral.
Encourage your network of friends on Facebook and Twitter to sign on by posting it on social media.
Sample Tweet: I sent @EPAgov an email asking to keep the proposed carbon rule strong. Will you join me & @PresbyEarthCare and act?
Sample Facebook post: I'm joining with @Presbyterians for Earth Care in asking the EPA to take a strong stand on reducing carbon emissions. God's good Earth and future generations are counting on us to take decisive actions to reduce air pollution and slow climate change. Click on this link to join me:

4.Take it to church!
Email to get a template for print-able paper cards for pews or to distribute at the end of a church service. Be sure to mail them so they reach the PEC office no later than 6/20.
Want to go paper-free? Consider working with your green team to set up a table and bring in a few laptops or iPads to church. Ask people to submit a comment online, on the spot.

We know we have a short time to achieve 600 by 6/20. I urge you to take up the challenge as a response to God's call to speak out for a groaning Creation.

Vote for New PEC Steering Committee members by June 15.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE for new PEC Steering Committee members today!

The PEC Steering Committee is currently composed of a Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Treasurer, six Regional Representatives and one At-large Representative. Steering Committee members serve 2-year terms and half are elected each year. This year we have vacancies for Regional Representatives for the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific regions and the Vice Moderator is up for re-election.

The Nominating Committee searched for candidates to fill the open Regional Representative positions and agreed on a slate of nominations. As a PEC member, you may vote for the nominees in one of two ways:

                1. Mail in the ballot on the back of your PEC Update, when it arrives.

                2.  Vote electronically on the web

Both the Update and the web link have the nominees’ biographies to assist you in making a decision. The deadline for casting your vote is June 15.

Nominations will also be taken from the floor at the PEC Annual Meeting and Luncheon that will be held at General Assembly in Pittsburgh on July 5. (Click here to visit our blog for more information about how to purchase tickets.)

Thanks to members of the Nominating Committee, Dick Gibson, Bill Bowman, Pam McVety, Karen Turney, Chair, and Jane Laping, Steering Committee Liaison, for searching out, interviewing, and  informing nominees of their responsibilities and requesting their consent.

Remember to cast your vote by June 15.

Friday, May 18, 2012

PEC Luncheon Thursday, July 5 - Join us!

Do you live in or around Pittsburgh? 
We've got a good reason for you to make a visit on July 5!

Presbyterians for Earth Care will be hosting a luncheon Thursday, July 5 from 12:30-2:00pm in Pittsburgh, PA during the PC(USA) General Assembly.

The lunch will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

First Presbyterian Church
320 Sixth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

This lunch is the prime place to get plugged in and connected with Presbyterians and some ecumenical friends who believe loving, tilling, keeping, and healing God's Earth is a sacred responsibility, honor, and joy.

At the lunch, we will share about some of the excellent work going on in the faith and environment community and give out two awards. We will honor an individual with the William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award  and a faith community with the Restoring Creation Award. We have received many excellent nominations.

We will also hear from Rev. Randall Bush, winner of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance's Food for Life Sermon competition and pastor of East Liberty Presbyterian Church - aka "the Cathedral of Hope - in Pittsburgh.

Registration for the lunch costs $25. 

Does the online system confound you? No worries! Click here for a paper sign up sheet.

Lastly, click here to see the full PC(USA) General Assembly schedule, where you may find other events of interest, such as the Compassion, Peace and Justice Simple dinner on the night of Thursday, July 5.

Contact with questions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Theologian for Earth Stewardship Appointed at Montreat Presbyterian Church: Local Initiative May Serve as National Model

By: William Seaman

Establishment of an Earth Stewardship Theologian position at Montreat Presbyterian Church (USA), in Montreat, North Carolina, marks a new milestone in the congregation’s growing Earth Ministry program. In announcing this step the church’s pastor, Rev. Maggie Lauterer, expressed her belief that the effort is part of reclaiming who we are as servants of the Creator. Our mission is to care for God’s people and God’s creation. We are very fortunate that Rev. Dr. Cam Mur chison will help us initiate this effort, as he brings a wealth of knowledge, a distinguished background, and great energy to our work concerning the environment.

The Earth Stewardship Theologian is expected to help nurture a biblically sound basis for all of the congregation’s efforts dealing with environmental subjects, so that the glory of God is always a focus. In this capacity, Rev. Dr. Murchison will augment the effort of the lay members of the church’s Earth Ministry Team. The work will develop a long-range framework for activities that may include preaching sermons, leading Bible studies and organizing mission trips concerned with Christian steward-ship of the earth and its resources.

Duncan Cameron “Cam” Murchison, Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, where he began service on the faculty in 1996 and also was Dean of Faculty and Executive Vice President.

He was on the faculty at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia from 1977-1987. He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University. His scholarly efforts are complemented by service as pastor at Presbyterian churches in Blacksburg, Virginia, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia. He has authored numerous journal articles and served as editor of the Journal for Preachers.

“What really excites me about this project is the specific work of particular congregations as they shape concrete responses to the urgent need for caring for God’s creation,” said Murchison. “The reason that I want to be a part of the effort is to participate in the translation of biblical, theological convictions regarding care for creation into the routine realities of everyday: our food, our transportation, our housing, our communication, our investing, and our consuming. The challenge is for us to devise faithful and resilient ways of living that respect the integrity and the limits of the home we have been given—the earth itself.”

To launch the Earth Theologian Initiative in January 2012, Montreat Presbyterian Church offered a program, “Clues for a World on the Edge.” The theme of “Creation as the Theater of God’s Glory” was addressed in a three-week study. The classes examined selected Old and New Testament texts and theological perspectives dealing with God’s relationship to the whole creation. Implications for Earth care were explored. Meanwhile, two churches in the area have requested sermons and teaching from Dr. Murchison.

William Seaman is leader of the Earth Ministry Team at Montreat Presbyterian Church, an Earth Care Congregation. He is an elder, an environmental scientist, and professor emeritus, University of Florida. He and his wife live in Montreat, North Carolina.

2013 PEC Conference Will Be in the Natural State! Save the Dates: Oct. 16-19 2013

By Ann Owen

'Tis the summer season, and what better way to celebrate it than by making plans to be a part of the 2013 Presbyterians for Earth Care Conference October 16-19? And what better place to recharge your green batteries than at the beautiful 1200-acre Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center ( in Little Rock, Arkansas!

Just to give you an idea about some of the creation care activities and places you might experience while at this amazingly green retreat, the Conference Planning Team has compiled a list of 10 Compelling Reasons you should reserve a spot for this conference on your calendar now!
  1. Solar power -- Multiple solar initiatives onsite 
  2. Solar Under the Sun -- Synod-level mission Solar School 
  3. Camp Garden -- Raised beds, livestock, greenhouse, fruit, education 
  4. Composting, Recycling and Upcycling 
  5. Heifer International Headquarters and Heifer Ranch 
  6. Young Adult Volunteers (YAV) and AmeriCorps 
  7. Eco-Youth Center -- Straw bale, off-the-grid housing for low-carbon retreat 
  8. Clinton Presidential Center 
  9. Collaborative Greening -- Partnerships with churches and organizations 
  10. Disaster Assistance Center and PDA's National Call Center at Ferncliff
Stay tuned for additional information on these items -- and much more! Until then you can read more about Ferncliff's commitment to creation care in Rebecca Barnes-Davies’ blog Eco-Justice Journey*

If you've not been to a PEC conference before, check out the 2011 gathering: God's Earth: Too Big to Fail? An Eco-Justice Conversation Among Faith, Science and Culture at conferences.html.

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. Ann founded the Environmental Stewardship group at Second and chaired it for three years.

*( /).

PEC Update for Summer 2012 is Here!

Dear Colleagues in Creation Care,

As you settle in to enjoy this Update, I invite you to be mindful of God’s goodness as we all prepare to embrace the beauty of summer. The gifts of this season are particularly ‘earthy’ ones…with an opportunity to ‘engage’ with the soil…to feel the essence of the warm sun and to enjoy a baptism by (summer rain) shower. These gifts of God through creation touch us, body/mind/soul.

Yet as we enjoy these gifts we are reminded of the challenges before us as partners in creation care. We are in the midst of a massive carbon crisis…running head-on into more obvious concerns (bizarre weather patterns, glacial melting, etc.). I am grateful that there is a growing consciousness among many people toward Earth caring, with often a parallel consciousness as to how earth justice and social justice together weave a complementary pattern.

These caregivers include MANY gifted persons in PEC who dedicate themselves tirelessly in ministry in work in eco- and social justice, including members of PEC’s own Advocacy committee.

In the PC(USA), there’s a lot of ‘sustainable’ energy, through Environmental Ministries, the Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Hunger Program (including the Enough for Everyone Program), Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN, and “Unbound,” an exciting e-journal on Christian Social Justice from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy. Montreat is offering a wonderful witness to earth care, as noted in Bill Seaman’s article. Stony Point (the site of our Steering Committee annual meeting) honors sustainable agriculture, with Ghost Ranch, and Ferncliff (the site of our 2013 Conference in Little Rock), and other PCCCA sites sharing the same philosophy. Eco-Stewards is also in the midst of all this great work. (In addition, PEC works closely with NCC Eco-Justice Working Group, for whom Shantha Ready-Alonso, our coordinator, is also staff).

With the presence of these friends, and many others in ecumenical and secular networks we enhance our vision. Our regional reps are reaching out to touch base with members, Earth Care Congregations, camps and conference centers, and Presbyterian colleges and seminaries. Please take time to note your regional representative. (Please also take time to vote in the election, which includes three new reps, as noted in Karen Turney’s article.)

There will be issues regarding social and environmental justice at
General Assembly. We pray for guidance as these go through Overture and Commissioner Resolution process, and hope that you will ask your commissioners to please carefully review and support actions which support social and environmental justice.

Summer. It is an ‘earthy’ time, a time of contemplation and connecting. A time to recall these words from the UN Environmental Sabbath:

“…We celebrate all the family of creation, heaven and earth, as one seamless garment, of which we, too, are an integral part.
We celebrate the soils, which nurture the food for our bodies.
We celebrate the seas, the air, the forests and mountains, which nurture our souls.
As part of all creation, we too have a nurturing role to play.
We have been blessed with the ability to choose our role.
Now in community, we dedicate ourselves to choosing wisely.
Together with the Holy Spirit, we will choose life, that we and our children might live.
May the Holy Spirit guide us as we seek to heal and to nurture the earth and all of its creatures, to live in the midst of creation, and to love one another as brothers and sisters with all life.
And may we travel from this moment forward in awareness of our bonds to one another and to the Earth, and in commitment to our communities.
Wherever they may be.”

Blessed be.
Diane Waddell
Moderator, Presbyterians for Earth Care

Monday, May 7, 2012

Advocacy Committee Sets PEC Advocacy Priorities

by: Jenny Holmes and Bob Stivers

Empowered by God’s costly grace, we must work tirelessly with others as individuals, as a church, and as global citizens to live in harmony with the energy resources God has so abundantly provided. –The Power to Change: US Energy Policy and Global Warming, 2008 General Assembly.

The overarching environmental problem of our time is global climate change and is a priority for PEC. With a gridlocked Congress, progress is slow at the Federal level. However, closely related are the fossil fuel energy sources chosen to fuel economies. Here there are many opportunities for public witness at the regional and Federal levels. Important in both global warming and fossil fuel cycle (extraction, processing, transport and burning) are the accurate counting of the social costs of production, transportation, and location of terminals and pipelines for shipment. As North American fossil fuel industries position themselves to be exporters of fossil fuels, there is much to do.

The General Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has carefully considered the problem of global climate change in its 2008 GA document The Power to Change: US Energy Policy and Global Warming. It stands with an overwhelming majority of scientists who say that climate change is already happening and is caused by human beings. Actions to reduce greenhouse gases are needed now. The GA has also made renewable resources its choice among energy sources, also recommending reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Finally, the GA had adopted an ethic of eco-justice to guide its consideration of global climate change and its recommendations on energy. Four norms are identified in this Christian ethical model to guide the church: sustainability, participation, sufficiency, and solidarity.

To set PEC’s policy priorities for 2012, the policy committee recommends concentrating on four specific energy problems within the larger context of global climate change, energy alternatives, and the four ethical norms. Toxics and GMOs will also be addressed. Twelve ethical guidelines of the Power to Change inform our positions which are summarized next to each problem.

1. Hydraulic Fracking — Place a moratorium on new fracking until human health and environmental impacts can be adequately evaluated by certified independent science.
2. Mountain Top Removal — Stop this practice immedi-ately as the human and environmental impacts are well known and serious, in addition to global warming.
3. The Keystone XL Pipeline — Do not permit due to im-pacts on global warming, on Canadian First Nations, on Boreal habitat, and on communities through which it would pass.
4. Coal Export: The construction of coal terminals and use of transportation corridors for the shipment of coal to Asia. — Seek an EPA environmental impact assessment.

As the General Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA approaches, we seek Commissioners who sense a call to bring a Commissioners Resolution to the floor especially hydraulic fracturing, since there is no GA policy on this it yet and very few regulations around it to protect the environment and human health. If you are sensing such a call, please contact Jenny Holmes at as soon as possible. For a full copy of a backgrounder on PEC’s policy priorities, go to


By Diane Waddell

PEC is preparing for a presence at General Assembly 220, to be held in Pittsburgh, June 30-July 7. Our booth in the Exhibit Hall is #310 and those staffing the booth promise ‘sustainable hospitality’! We are anxious to meet you! (If you are coming, and have time to share with us, as we provide greetings at the booth, please let us know!)

Our Advocacy team will be working to support Overtures and resolutions related to eco-justice. We will also have a new brochure from the Advocacy Committee, which will represent PEC’s stance on 4 current issues related to climate change. (Click here to read the four advocacy stances.)

Of course, our luncheon on Thursday, July 5, will be a highlight. We are meeting at First Presbyterian Church, close to the convention center. Our speaker will be Rev. Randy Bush of East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh. Regarding his topic, “Re-Creative Partnerships,” he says, “Living into a faithful witness of eco-justice requires intentional acts of engagement and partnership at all levels of congregational life.” Randy will share how to work passionately toward eco-justice in our congregational and wider community life.

During our annual meeting at the luncheon, recipients of the Bill Gibson and the Restoring Creation awards will be recognized, and new members of the Steering Committee will be announced. We have been working with Chef Michael of First Presbyterian, who will prepare a creative meal for us based around sustainable foods choices. In fact, there is a local market only a few blocks from the convention center where Michael will be purchasing food for our luncheon.

GA’s theme is “Walking, Running, Soaring in Hope.” Perhaps, in this time of climate change crises, that theme is a fitting one for our eco-justice work as well. Certainly it will be an uplifting time as we gather in community, renewing and refreshing our spirits, to re-engage in our work of caring for creation.
Hope to see you at GA!