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.