EARTH-Keeper: Rob Mark
by Dana Eglinton, member of PEC Steering Committee
In June, eight young adults will gather in Seattle, where they will engage with faith communities that are taking action to combat climate change. The eight will also consider Pope France' encyclical, Laudato Si', and its directive to care for our common home. And they will reflect on the connection between their faith journeys and the call to steward God's earth. They will be participants in the 2016 Eco-Stewards Program.
From their website: "The Eco-Stewards Program is a grassroots community that shapes young adult leaders through place-based experiences that connect faith and the environment."
The community is led by the leadership team of Rev Liz Leavitt, Vickie Machado, Brian Frick, Colleen Earp, Becky Evans, and coordinator Rev Rob Mark.
Rob Mark has been the driving force behind Eco-Stewards from its inception in 2006. He tells about the beginnings like this, "At a Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center Association conference in 2006, I was deeply moved by then moderator of the PCUSA, Rick Ufford-Chase who served up an inspired challenge to the PCCCA and PEC (then PRC) to get together in a more intentional way to inspire young people in the ways of eco-stewardship. Rick then sat with me at lunch and after talking, said, 'Rob I think you may be uniquely suited to help lead and coordinate this emerging idea.' And that was all the inspiration I needed to work with others to help birth the Eco-Stewards Program under our first label the Presbyterian Conservation Corps. Our first week-long experiential program began in 2007 at Westminster Woods in CA, and I have not looked back since and continue to be deeply inspired by the growing community of Eco-Stewards that continues to build." Following that first program in California, Rob has coordinated Eco-Stewards Programs in New York/Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Montana, Massachusetts/Vermont, Oregon, and Florida.
Rob is also the pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Boston, a PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation. Under Rob's leadership the congregation has divested from fossil fuels, greatly increased the energy efficiency of their historic building, and continued to provide daily lunch and breakfast to some of Boston's most vulnerable women.
Rob and his wife Becky Evans (of the Eco-Stewards leadership team) are the parents of two-year-old Rowan. Rob says, "Our motivation to do all we possibly can to better steward this wild gift of nature has grown one hundred fold since becoming parents." Thanks to those like Rob and Becky there is hope for Rowan's future and the future of God's earth.