Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A New Way of Being PEC is Unfolding

New Ways of Participating in PEC
By Holly Hallman

For years I have been using the phrase “things are heating up” when talking about family and business issues that need attention.  The phrase takes on new meaning when applied to the constellation of issues that involve God’s good earth.  Things ARE heating up!  Literally and metaphorically.  Naming some of them could fill the page.  But, I’d like to talk about solutions instead.  

This year PEC is involved in bringing four overtures to General Assembly.  But, because things are heating up we need to start the process of asking what else needs the blessing of the Church United.  More voices, more ears to hear the concerns, more overtures?  How do we make change happen?  In 2016 the conversation will have moved from trying to convince people that “heat” is happening to “mitigation” for those in hunger, those displaced by rising seas, those who share life with us but live beneath the sea, under, and in, the soil, in our forests…  

How do we, Presbyterians for Creation, gather the issues together to be held up to the next assembly?  In looking at different models, we have found, already in our care, a local group doing just what feels like the-very-thing!  Yukon Presbyterians for Earth Care meets by phone with a computer file of photos (so everyone can put a face together with a name).  People with concerns talk about their communities and problems.  It has worked well enough for them to birth a Regional Conference this September—and we are all invited!  This conference is focused on climate change and is still looking for participants!

The Steering Committee has endorsed the model and is giving it a field test in the Northwest Region.  Meetings will be every other month, for an hour.  A call-in number is used and anyone who wants to join in can.  Meeting minutes are sent to all who have an interest.  Like our national Advocacy meeting, we open and close with prayer, invite someone to address an issue that needs our hearing, and follow with a discussion.  We end with ideas for further reflection and/or action.  

If we start now how many of our hearts concerns can we lay before the next General Assembly?  When the Coal Export Overture came before Seattle Presbytery a young woman stood before the gathered meeting. She spoke of attending hours and hours of meetings on environmental assessment.  She often testifies and when she does she wants to be standing up knowing that the whole PC (USA) is standing behind her.  YES!  When you raise your voice wouldn't you like to know that you have that VOICE standing with you?  That is the dream we hope to turn into reality for the general assemblies to come.

The idea of regional advocacy is coming your way!  The timeline for that will vary with each of my fellow regional reps.  I’m hoping, when they contact you, that you will jump in with ears to hear and ideas to promote!

Blessings to all who HOPE in a world where things are “heating up”.

Holy One,
We pray for the new ventures of PEC.  We pray for a voice that can be heard all over your globe.  We pray that we can give voice for the creatures we live with that have no human sound.  Bless our time in this General Assembly and in the ones to come.  And, give us discernment on how to turn the heat down!

Rev. Holly Hallman, 
NW Regional Rep

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