Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Introduction to PEC's 2019 Lenten Devotional

“The Stones Will Cry Out!”
 Luke 19: 28-40

On the road to Jerusalem there are many voices crying out “Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23).   As we join Jesus on his journey to the Cross we should pay particular attention to those voices often over looked.  From Elizabeth and Mary, to Magi and the mad king Herod there are many voices who bear witness to the astonishing life and work of Jesus. Often over looked, however, are those less obvious voices that join the holy chorus proclaiming the day of the Lord. This Lent, as we follow Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, we pay special attention to these powerful testimonies. 

These testimonies are voices that cannot be silenced. These are the voices crying out in the wilderness; creation itself proclaiming the Good News that Jesus has come to proclaim the peace of heaven.  When those who are threatened by that peace demand the disciples cease their praise, Jesus declares that even if every faithful disciple should suddenly lose their ability (or freedom) to proclaim this good news, the very rocks hurled at them in hate will take up the cry of the hosannas of praise (Luke 19:40).  

This Lent, in the busy-ness of our lives in an always on the go culture naturally opposed to peace, let us open our ears and our hearts and listen. As we embark on this 40-Day journey let us turn our attention to the testimony of creation. By slowing down and walking in the wisdom of creation, we will open our hearts to hearing the good news of peace as we travel with Jesus to the city of Peace.  

As we listen to the stones, the rivers, the trees and all the other voices of creation that bear witness to the Good News, we will hear the ways in which injustice and systems of oppression and unsustainable consumption threaten to silence the cries of hope and peace.  This Lent we are called to join this choir of witnesses and work in opposition to ecological destruction, global warming, and policies of hurt and harm that threaten the voices of peace; the very rocks of the Earth that cry out in praise of the Holy One of creation.  

I give thanks to Jane Laping and Dennis Testerman for asking me to edit this devotional, and for their work throughout the process and assembling this for you all. My grateful thanks to each writer for their creative lens in which they took the prompt, and produced what is before you. To graphic designer, Sarah Pragg, thank you for your design and lay out of this work. Finally, to Jessica Jacks for the beautiful artwork. You inspire many.

Blessings and Peace, to you all this Lenten season.

Rev. Joanna Hipp

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Who is Your Earth Care Hero?

PEC Seeks Nominations for Annual Earth Care Awards

Every day, it seems like more news comes out about the dire situation of our planet. Yet Presbyterians and other people of faith are taking remarkable actions to care for God’s creation. Each year three awards are given by Presbyterians for Earth Care to honor two individuals and an organization for their actions that promote best earth stewardship and environmental practices. As a member of or donor to PEC, you are invited to make a nomination for PEC’s Annual Earth Care Awards by April 30.

The William Gibson Eco-Justice Award honors an individual who:
·       Has a long history of being a good steward of the earth.
·       Promotes sustainable practices for individuals or organizations.
·       Motivates and inspires others to care for God’s creation.
·       Demonstrates active care and concern for the sacred bond that exists
            between all things, living and nonliving.

The Restoring Creation Award honors an organization that:
·       Demonstrates sustainable practices and models them for other organizations.
·       Operates in a manner that is consistent with good stewardship of God’s creation.
·       Partners with other organizations to leverage resources for greater impact.
·       Encourages continuous environmental efforts within the organization.

The Emerging Earth Care Leader Award is given to individual, age 18 to 30, who expresses care and concern for the sacred bond between all living things, and
·      Demonstrate sustainable practices and motivates others to care for God’s creation
·      Expand earth stewardship and sustainable practices through organizing, developing, and/ or presenting one or more activities, projects, publications or events
·      Incorporate care and concern for the sacred bond between all living things.

An individual does not need to be a Presbyterian to be considered for an award. If you would like to make a nomination but aren’t already a member, you can join or make a donation now. Please see our previous award winners to get an idea of who would be a worthy nominee. This year’s Earth Care Awards will be presented at our 2019 Conference, Peace for the Earth: from the Bible to the Front Lines, August 6-9, at Stony Point Center in New York.

You may also mail your nomination to PEC, PO Box 9064, Asheville, NC 28815. Download the nomination form here. Nominations close on April 30, 2019.

PEC is grateful for your care of God’s creation and for honoring an individual or organization for their good stewardship of our common home by nominating them for a PEC Annual Earth Care Award.


Saturday, February 9, 2019


Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday

“Everybody thought it was really great the way that Eco-Palms benefited everyone all around.”
—Carla Schmidt, wife of Rev. Dr. Sergio Schmidt, former pastor, Cristo Salvador Latino Ministry, 
Presbytery of Charlotte

Pastor Schmidt (l) and 
Guatemalan Eco-Palms Representative Juan Trujillo

Against the backdrop of Palm Sunday 2019 is an ongoing national debate about immigration across the southern border of the United States, including an outcry against the detention of children who were separated from their parents upon their arrival in the United States from Central America. These immigrants include asylum seekers who are fleeing violence and fear death if they are forced to return to Guatemala and other Central American countries. 
This fear is real for too many indigenous people in a region that is the heart of the former Mayan Empire. During a 2018 visit to promote Eco-palms in North Carolina churches, Rainforest Alliance representative Juan Trujillo told how a colleague was assassinated as they sat next to each other in a meeting in their home country of Guatemala. Environmental activists are putting their lives on the line in Guatemala. 
Eco-Palms are harvested in the globally-significant Maya Biosphere Reserve, which includes official concession areas where forest products can be sustainably harvested, providing livelihoods that support indigenous communities. These forest “concessions” are the result of local struggles for land rights.
Twenty-five percent of the cost of each Eco-Palm goes back to harvesting communities in Guatemala, providing jobs, education, health care and improved nutrition. Women have assumed valuable leadership roles associated with Eco-Palm processing.  Join over 1,000 PCUSA congregations who ordered Eco-Palms in 2018 and order yours now until March 22 at or by calling 651-487-7189. With your support, this could be the year that over 1 million Eco-Palms are waved on Palm Sunday!

-- Presbyterians for Earth Care Moderator Dennis Testerman, hosted visits to North Carolina by an Eco-Palms delegation from Guatemala in 2018, 11 years after he, former PEC Steering Committee member Barbara Hipple and former Presbyterian Hunger Program staffer Melanie Hardison travelled to Guatemala to visit communities sustainably harvesting Eco-Palms. PEC has played a key role in the Presbyterian Church USA promotion and marketing of Eco-Palms.