Eco-Journey is the blog of the Environmental Ministries Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It includes a wide array of environmental topics: upcoming environmental events, links to interesting articles and studies, information on environmental advocacy, eco-theology topics, and success stories from churches that are going “green.”
Author Rebecca Barnes is the Associate for Environmental Ministries at the PC(USA). She is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary with an MDiv and Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) dual degree.
How do gender and race relate to an environmental ethic? The connection between women and the earth is often seen as both empowering and paradoxical. Because of the hierarchical dualisms that function normatively in Christian and Western thought (i.e. spirit vs. body, male vs. female, heaven vs. earth), there are many ways in which the feminine has been devalued within the tradition. At the same time, the connection that women have with the earth has often been celebrated. For example, a parallel is often drawn between an image of a woman as creator, (creative producer of ideas, thoughts, ethical systems, agency, communities, children, adopted children, space, food) and the earth as a “mother” who also creates.
Trisha Tull has recently published a workbook and leader's guide that work with her fabulous book "Inhabiting Eden," published in 2013. For over a year now, I have highly recommended the book for individual, small group, and congregational study. That activity will be made even easier with this new workbook and leader's guide. The spiral-bound workbook allows readers to write their own ecological story as they learn. The Leader's Guide offers help for discussing the book in Bible study groups, adult Vacation Bible School, retreat, and book clubs.
For sample chapters, to learn more, and to order ...
September 15-18, 2015 at Montreat Conference Center, Presbyterians for Earth Care is offering a conference "Down-to-Earth Advocacy and Action." PHP’s Environmental Ministries is considering this conference the 2015 Summit for Earth Care Congregations, hoping earth care teams can send representation to the PEC conference in order to learn, connect, and become inspired to take the work back home into local congregations and communities.
Earth Care Congregations will benefit greatly from a wide variety of educational, skill-building, and inspirational workshops, plenary sessions, and networking opportunities throughout the PEC Conference. In addition to being active participants in the offerings of the ...
I was grateful for the opportunity to learn from Buddhist and Jewish colleagues about their faith stories and traditions that undergird their care of the earth at the early March Louisville-area "Ground for Hope" event co-sponsored by GreenFaith.
I was appreciative of the Buddhist silent meditation we did and the encouragement to be mindful. It is so easy to be overcome by unimportant things, to have our senses bombarded with stimuli, that we forget our interrelatedness. In any setting, we can be aware of the connection to one another and to all the world. I enjoyed the idea that the ...
At the March 9th "Ground for Hope" interfaith environmental gathering in Louisville, KY, leaders of local faith communities created and led a beautiful shared prayer time. With each person speaking from his/her authentic place of faith, we heard and shared the ways we believe, look to holy scripture, hear the Divine voice, and embrace our connection to the world around us as part of our faith. I was very moved, heartened, and grounded by this prayerful sharing that started off our day. We were grounded in hope as we then moved into workshops and discussions of exploring the hard ...
On May 12, Environmental Ministries will have a webinar about "Earth Care in Christian Education." Many Presbyterian congregations are doing wonderful programs, classes, and activities that address our role in God's creation. Mark your calendar for this Monday May 12th noon webinar with the Presbyterian Hunger Program/Environmental Ministries and stay tuned for more information!
Meanwhile, consider these two resources from PCUSA's Congregational Ministries Publishing:
Being Reformed: Stewardship of Creation, by Henry G. Brinton, is a six-session study for adults that explores the biblical bases for our care of creation along with sessions on being environmentally friendly at ...
Environmental Ministries is part of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. Environmental degradation increases hunger and poverty and diminishes natural resources that can alleviate both hunger and poverty. Meanwhile those who are poor face the worst affects of environmental disasters such as mudslides, earthquakes, and heavy storms (much of which is related to climate instability). Also, those who live with limited resources often cannot care for their environment in the way they would ideally like to.
Nov 17th, Environmental Ministries and Presbyterian Hunger Program invite you to join the Food Stamp Challenge, to understand what is at stake as national policies decide ...
Presbyterians encouraged to study fracking
Environmental Ministries is compiling a list of resources on fracking that will be added to our website in the near future.
In the meantime we would like to call attention to an excellent new web posting on legal issues of fracking; especially see the first two articles. These articles were produced by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress so they should be unbiased.
They concern legislation at the federal level and are timely as they were just published this month (July, 2013).
2nd Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, TN went to Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest, near Tellico Plains.
GreenFaith has reached a milestone!
GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth has facilitated solar arrays on over 25 faith-based sites, and over 40 residences, totaling more than half a megawatt of solar capacity!
To understand the difference this is making in our world: it is like taking cars off the road for more than 16 million miles. GreenFaith is also saving the faith-based sites and homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you are faith-based site in one of the following areas, you can gain access to financial support for the solar projects:
Jacksonville Presbyterian Church is gleaning!
David and Lisa Specca are members of the Earth Care Ministry Group at Jacksonville Presbyterian Church. They own a vegetable farm, and along with providing great vegetables to the community, they practice gleaning! The gleaned vegetables go to support New Jersey hunger ministries.
If you would like to read more about Specca Farms and their initiatives to end hunger, here is the link to the Presbytery story, which also contains a link to the newspaper story: http://monmouthpresbytery.com/2013/5537
Thanks for the amazing work you do, Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, and a special thank ...
On July 17, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will launch a free upgrade using an online Portfolio Manger tool. The new Portfolio Manger has a module designed especially for worship facilities.
Here is what is new: Portfolio Manager
Portfolio Manager is the nation’s leading energy performance, used by over 70,000 accounts and 300,000 commercial facilities. The blue and white logo is recognized by 87% of Americans.
Free webinars, starting July 15, are available to provide training on the new Portfolio Manager interface, and you can register at: https://esbuildings.webex.com/. These live training sessions ...
If you would like a pdf copy of the brochure by email, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Presbyterian Church: Memorial Trees
First Presbyterian Church’s Saturday Morning Men's Bible Study group has sponsored a program of planting trees as memorials, or to honor an individual, on their church property. They plant the trees in late fall or early winter to improve the survival rates. First Presbyterian Church is using Tennessee native species to improve our survival rates and longevity.
First Presbyterian Church can make available substantial reference materials to help people select species compatible with their soils, sun and moisture conditions. Two members of their group are master gardeners. They have also engaged the services ...
First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto, CA
On Earth Day, First Presbyterian Church celebrated in worship by making prayer flags for one of the low-water gardens on their church campus. The worship service was focused on their role in caring for creation and they used the following Psalm to guide them as they made the flags:
Praise God from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds ...
Trinity Presbyterian Church celebrates being an Earth Care Congregation!
As an Earth Care Congregation, Trinity Presbyterian Church of McKinney, TX, proudly celebrates the many great facets of this ministry! Some unique ways Trinity honors God's creation are: offering reusable shopping bags with Trinity Earth Care logos; selling Fair Trade chocolate; providing ceramic mugs and eco-friendly compostable, biodegradable cups for coffee; sending electronic newsletters; increasing paperless Sunday services; using fair trade Eco-Palms on Palm Sunday; taking field trips to places with earth-friendly practices; giving minutes for mission and bulletin inserts with a creation care focus; diverting approx. 7 cubic yards ...
Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church: Kensington, MD
On February 27, 2013, Warner Memorial held the first of three Wednesday evening Green Film Fest showings.
When no one has signed up to dedicate chancel flowers, Warner Memorial displays green plants instead, and includes "The plants in the chancel today are offered to the glory of God in celebration of our home, Earth."
First Presbyterian Church of Edwardsville, IL: Going Green!
The church has been a supporter of the environment, and has a long program of recycling. All the paper used in their office has a large recycled component. Even though the cost is a little higher, it is important to them to continue with this initiative Recycled content is important. They also have a bin to recycle paper in their parking lot. Over time, they have recycled batteries, eye glasses, CDs, paper and aluminum cans.
There are wonderful things happening in Baltimore Presbytery!
At Maryland Presbyterian Church, the host for our meeting with these great compostable options, they have a native plants garden, worm composting, a demonstration garden for children, and are advocating in their state legislature for wind energy.
At Towson Presbyterian Church, there is ongoing tree planting on hundreds of acres and the church decided to keep its property always sustainable by making a conservation easement. They clean streams, do vegetable gardening, and have reached the top energy efficiency steps possible.
At Woods Presbyterian Church, they have worked on property concerns (which also ...
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (Shepherdstown, WV)
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church had their annual EarthFest at the church in early April. This event was an hour-long mixture of earthy-songs presented in the sanctuary by dynamite local musicians (some from the congregation), punctuated by really moving recitations about earth care. A lot of the focus was on coal-mining and mountaintop removal.
Friends, we have a great new resource to share far and wide: a wonderful older children's curriculum on children's health and the environment. This engaging, thoughtful, and fun resource will not only engage children in our U.S. congregations to explore these important issues but it also invites them to connect to children doing the same things in La Oroya, Peru (through our PCUSA mission coworker).
I am very excited that this resource is finally online and available and I hope you are able to find good avenues to ...
An invitation to folks around TN and southern U.S. from Province IV Environmental Ministry of the Episcopal Church:
Registration is Open! Environmental Ministry Retreat with University of the South May 4-6, at St. Mary's Retreat Center, Sewanee, TN.
EM4 Retreat at the University of the South - Transfiguration of Christ and Creation: A Ministry of Wholeness
EM4 and the Center for Religion and the Environment at Sewanee would like to invite you to retreat on the “Domain” – the land holding of the University of the South on May 4-6, 2012. "Transfiguration of Christ and Creation: A Ministry of Wholeness" is a retreat designed for those engaged in environmental ministry in Province IV. The retreat will begin with dinner, Friday May 4 and end with lunch on Sunday May 4-6, 2012.