Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PEC at GA!!

PC(USA) General Assembly this year will be June 30 through July 7 in Pittsburgh, PA.

PEC will be there!!!! We will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall and hope to see many of you there. (If anyone would like to help staff the booth, please let me - Diane Waddell - know!)

We will also have a presence in supporting the environmental justice related overtures. Currently there is an overture on supporting the EPA and one on supporting sustainable agriculture (both from Heartland Presbytery). If you know of others, please let me know. Also, if you are a commissioner, please let me know as well.

Our luncheon will be an event you will definitely want to add to your schedule. The speaker is The Rev. Randy Bush, pastor at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh. He submitted the winning sermon in the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance’s Food for Life Sermon Competition. The luncheon will be at the First Presbyterian Church on Thursday, July 5. At that time, we will hold our annual meeting and present out annual awards.

Individuals receive the William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. Rev. William Gibson – after whom the individual award was named – was a founding member of PEC, author and eco-justice advocate. Editor of the book ,“Eco-Justice-The Unfinished Journey,” William was a leading member of the Presbyterian Eco-Justice Task Force, Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, and the Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches.

Congregations, governing bodies, ecumenical agencies, and Presbyterian-related entities receive Restoring Creation Awards. Both of these awards are given to individuals and groups whose work for the environment is particularly praise-worthy and creative. The congregational (etc.) is generally awarded to a group who is in the general area of the meeting.

Active PEC members are encouraged to nominate an individual or group! You may access the award nomination form here and on the PEC website. Not an active member yet? Don't let that stop you from making a nomination. Click here to join PEC today.

See you at GA!!!


P.S. Email to reach our Coordinator and she'll send me your messages.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

King would not be silent on Earth’s plight

King would not be silent on Earth’s plight
(Re-posted with permission of the author.)

By DR. MYRON F. MCCOY (president of St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City)
Kansas City Star Special Insert, January 14, 2008, page 8

Like some who try to address contemporary issues through the lens of historical figures and time frames, I wish never to be guilty of attributing to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stances he would have never considered or subscribed to.

Saying that, I have every reason to believe that if Dr. King were around today, he would have much to say about global warming, environmental sustainability and our need to act immediately.

These concerns would be rooted in his strong belief that persons are to strive to live in harmony with both the physical and moral laws of God and acknowledge the consequences of our living in disharmony with such laws.

Therefore, global warming and our inability to work on issues of sustainability as a human race should make recognizable the lethal consequences of our failure to address this rampant disharmony.

Dr. King would readily perceive the danger we face with global warming, evidenced by victims still recovering in the Gulf region, the diminishing habitat of polar bears in the far north, and growing drought-like conditions in his native South and in the West.

And I do believe he would have a problem with our speaking of democracy and human rights with a “fork-like tongue” with some nations and not with others when our steady diet of energy consumption is at risk.

I’m convinced that if Dr. King were living today, we in the U.S. would be taken to task for our voracious consumerist appetite that has led to the depletion, destruction and destabilization of much of God’s creation.

We would be reminded that at least a quarter of the world’s population does not have access to electricity or safe drinking water, and that we are the world’s leading polluter and emitter of greenhouse gases in our disproportionate use of nonrenewable energy sources.

We would be challenged to look beyond our own comfort to consider the welfare and survival of our world and take the lead in turning the above picture around.

Also, being a man of faith and reason, Dr. King would have been persuaded by the evidence of scientists, fellow Nobel Prize laureates on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former Vice President Al Gore.

I can imagine Dr. King challenging us with their forewarnings of the rising sea levels and the Earth’s surface being blighted by drought.

He would remind us, too, that these changes represent justice issues both here and abroad, as the poor will disproportionately suffer from our collective inability to recognize that “The Earth is the Lord’s.”

Dr. King would want us to communicate the message of dangerous disharmony to our elected officials. He would want us to tell the U.S. auto industry to engineer for even more miles per gallon than already agreed to by the president and Congress.

Dr. King is so right: “No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone. … We must all live together. … Or we will perish together as fools. We are tied together in a single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. … Whatever affects one directly affects all.”

We would be posited with this question from Dr. King: “What will happen to humanity if I don’t help?” Conservation would be emphasized, as it could relieve us of the pressure of jumping into quick fixes without considering all the risks and exploring other alternatives.

Conservation could help us from mounting faulty foreign policy objectives and adding to our position as a debtor nation. Everyone would be invited to do their part in conserving these “God-owned” and “God-given” precious resources.

Indeed, Dr. King would want people of faith to lead the way in contributing to environmental sustainability, as energy conservation could lead to more physical exercise, less pollution and numerous other direct benefits to human health.

He would want us to recognize that we’re quickly running out of time, and the time to begin doing the right thing is always now.

Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday Offered by PC(USA)

This year, Palm Sunday is April 1. Make less of an environmental impact this Lenten season by ordering Eco Palms from PC(USA)’s Enough for Everyone Ministry Office.

Here are some reasons (from their website) to encourage your congregation to order Eco Palms this year as you plan to commemorate Holy Week.

  • Approximately 300 million palm fronds are consumed in the United States annually.
  • A congregation of 1,250 members orders approximately 700 fronds for Palm Sunday services.
  • Eco-palms are purchased directly from harvesters at 5 to 6 times the normal payment per frond. Your purchase of eco-palms helps improve standards of living and protect forests.

Palm-producing areas tend to be the home of poorer segments of the rural population where people rely heavily on the palm harvest for income. Although purchases of palms in the U.S. may reach as high as $4.5 million each year, the palm harvesters themselves earn very little.

Harvesting palm products is an important source of supplemental income for many indigenous families and communities in Guatemala and Mexico. However, over-harvesting palm can threaten the livelihood of these communities as well as the forests where the palm plants thrive and provide the shade required by the palms.

For more information, visit or contact Melanie Hardison at (800) 728-7228, x5626 or

Order soon as supplies are limited.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Message from the moderator: What Lies Ahead?

What lies ahead?

What lies ahead for Earth…this mystical creation… gift to all who live here on this abundant sphere?

What lies ahead for us in 2012 and after?

It is time to ponder… to discern possibilities… to re-engage our passion. Time is critical. We must make the decision to live much more simply…or it is likely we simply will not live. I have been trying to listen to several current prophets who have researched our heavy-‘footedness’ on the planet. Richard Heinberg, author of The Party’s Over and Peak Everything notes it is time to realize that the environment is NOT a subset of the economy….but the economy is a subset of the environment. It is time for us to give up our overuse of the gifts of God and share our gifts much more equitably. If we do not reassess and readjust our overuse, the planet, the web of creation, will be forced readjust for us.

PEC and other persons of faith hold the precious gift of theological, biblical reflection and subsequent opportunities for ministry. We can incorporate ‘gratitude’ into our being, and ‘reach out and touch, and hold’ in the name of God. We can teach, and pray, and work. We can hold, both within and without, a mystique which can move us along…and carry us forth in this world of overuse and overindulgence.

We are blessed with excellent collaborators on our eco- and social justice journey -- Environmental Ministries, Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Eco-Stewards, Presbyterian Camps and Conference Centers… just to begin to name the Presbyterian groups who work toward sustainability. We wish a very enthusiastic welcome to Rebecca Barnes-Davies, DMin, who is beginning as Associate for Environmental Ministries. Rebecca has an article in the next “Update”. (Also, please check out PCUSA’s new “Unbound. An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice").

We have a large number of persons who are in our network, and we also have so much potential for growth. We also have a significant impact in the denomination, and yet we know we can do more. We must never underestimate our passion and our gifts in ministry.

We invite and highly encourage all members…and friends…to become more involved within PEC. There are many ways we can do this. Soon, PEC’s Regional Representatives will be contacting you by email to introduce themselves and suggest ways of connecting. WE NEED YOU to let us know ways we can incorporate your gifts and enthusiasm for creation care. Also, please consider an additional financial support gift to PEC if you have not already responded to our letter of request late in 2011.

I am very grateful for each of you. Thanks to God for strength and grace of God in this journey.

With gratitude,

Diane Waddell

Moderator, Presbyterians for Earth Care

The photograph at the top is a picture of morning worship at the PEC 2011 Faith and Environment Conference at Highlands Camp and Conference Center. The theme of the conference was "God's Earth: Too Big to Fail? An Eco-Justice Conversation Among Faith, Environment, and Spirituality."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Now... is the time. A New Year Message from Diane Waddell, Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care

Now…is the time.
Now…as we begin this gift of 2012.
Now…as we breathe, and think, and ‘are’.
Now…in this very moment of moments.
The time is now…to reawaken and rejuvenate ourselves, our work/ministry, our relationship to others, and our commitment as caretakers of Creation.

I invite you to personally enhance your way of connecting with Earth. This is could be through prayer, meditation, creative writing or other art forms. Something I have done for a several years is a morning spiritual routine. It includes prayers of gratitude and blessing, Meditation, Tai chi, qi gong (using forms which connect with creation), yoga and other balancing exercises (and ideally meditative readings or walking meditation.) These are helpful to me in enhancing my connection with God, others, and Creation.

With your personal spiritual base as center, continue to reach out to others in your family, congregation, and community. Begin or enhance a special worship space specifically for justice issues…both social justice and eco-justice (since they are intrinsically related). Rejuvenate (or start) your creation care team. Try to keep current in the areas of water, soil, air, food, health, and wildlife (etc.) concerns. (The PEC Advocacy Committee is looking at the causes of climate change, specifically in the areas of hydro-fracking, mountaintop removal, and the tar sands issues.)

It is very easy to get overwhelmed with this; so try to keep centered; connect with God and Creation through breathing and your set routine.

And remember our saints and sages from the past. We are not new at this.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179) wrote

Without the WORD of God
No creature has being.

God’s WORD is in all creation;

visible and invisible.

is living being,
all verdant greening,
all creativity.

All creation is awakened,


by the resounding melody,

God’s invocation of the WORD.

This word manifests in every creature.

Now this is how the spirit is in the flesh – the WORD is indivisible from GOD.

(Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen, ed. Uhlein, Bear & Co)

Blessings and both peace and passion to you all in this new year. Diane Waddell
Moderator, Presbyterians for Earth Care