Monday, October 17, 2016

October EARTH-Keeper

Village Presbyterian Church
Environmental Action Committee (EAC)
by Diane Waddell, Moderator of PEC

I'm delighted to write about three EARTHkeepers! Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, has long been known for community mission engagement and social justice work.  The congregation is well respected both locally and nationally for their leadership.  PEC would particularly like to recognize the work of their Environmental Action Committee, which has served as a model for education, action, and community partnership in eco-justice advocacy.  They list their work as being a "bold witness by advocating environmental Justice for all creation."  They are a 6th year Earth Care Congregation and spearhead year-round programming in their advocacy. 

Their work has included organizing electronics recycling, and leading congregational education and action on climate change, water as sacred resource, and fossil fuel divestment. 

Al Pugsley, Chuck Gillam, Jerry Rees
The committee maintains a prominent permanent bulletin board highlighting environmental issues. Since 2009 they have granted Earth Stewards Awards, sharing 21 awards to couples, individuals, and one family who model Creation care in the congregation.  They have also gifted Green Bibles to all staff, sharing 30 to date.

Jerry Rees is currently chair of the Environmental Action Committee. He is a very active member of Earthkeepers of Heartland Presbytery and the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition of Kansas City, an ecumenical, faith based eco-Justice organization which meets at Village.  Jerry is also a member of the Advocacy committee of PEC and was previously a Regional Rep for the Midwest Region. Jerry has worked tirelessly in encouraging people to be aware of environmental needs in the nation and region and helped organize and send environmental overtures through the Presbytery to GA.  Jerry does an excellent job of sending emails about eco-happenings and has been politically active in the Kansas capital in the area of environment. 
Al Pugsley has initiated a funding of many church solar installations in the Kansas City area and around the US.  He has very generously purchased multiple solar panels for Heartland Presbyterian Center in Parkville, MO; Mosier, Oregon; Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, among other sites.  He has also tirelessly promoted electric transportation (connected to solar energy) and regularly organizes and hosts an Electric Car Expo at Village. Al enjoys weatherizing his home and encourages others to do the same. Al is also a member of the EAC, Heartland Earthkeepers and Sustainable Sanctuary.
Chuck Gillam is an active member of Village EAC, Earthkeepers and Sustainable Sanctuary.  Chuck, along with Jerry and Al, has also taught Sunday School classes and arranged for classes, Through "Village U", evening continuing Ed classes, in eco-Justice.  He has connected us with his daughter, Carey Gillam, a brilliant journalist who has been a true leader in sharing enlightening articles on environmental concerns such as GMOs.

I am very grateful for Jerry, Al, and Chuck, as members of Village and for being faithful supporters of Earthkeepers of Heartland Presbytery, our presbytery eco-justice team.  They have helped arrange for monthly meetings of Earthkeepers and, as founding members, have faithfully supported and attended meetings ever since. They are truly EARTHkeepers!

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