Presbyterians for Earth Care to honor two leaders

Award recipients have worked in solar energy, sustainability

October 17, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center, Solar Under the Sun (SUTS) and the Rev. David Gill have a close connection. If you know one, you probably know the others.

Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC) will honor Gill and SUTS Oct. 18 at Ferncliff.

Gill, executive director of Ferncliff, is an original organizer and board member of SUTS. A ministry of the Synod of the Sun, SUTS trains volunteers to design and install solar power systems in partnership with communities that lack reliable electrical power.

PEC will present the William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award to Gill and the Restoring Creation Award to SUTS. The lifetime achievement award is named for Bill Gibson, who shaped the Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice policy adopted by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1990.

Since 1997, Gill has led Ferncliff to be one of the most sustainable camp and conference centers in the country. Under his leadership and direction, Ferncliff built a new youth camp with geo-thermal heating/cooling. The recently completed Eco Center will serve as a center for creation care and the home for the SUTS Solar School. Ferncliff transports guests around the 1,200-acre camp in a 14-passenger solar electric vehicle and uses a truck that runs on cooking oil.

SUTS is a Presbyterian organization whose mission is to illumine our fellow human beings with hope and life through solar energy. SUTS is now establishing solar at a rate of almost two installations per month. In the past four years, SUTS completed nine training sessions, trained 191 missioners and conducted 50 solar mission outreaches in three countries: Haiti, Ukraine and Kenya. Chris McRae, SUTS executive director, will accept the award.

Since 1997, PEC has annually given awards to recognize individuals and organizations for their forward thinking and leadership in caring for God’s creation. Individuals receive the lifetime achievement award, and congregations, governing bodies, ecumenical agencies and Presbyterian-related entities receive Restoring Creation Awards for environmental work that is particularly praise-worthy and innovative.

Presbyterians for Earth Care (formerly Presbyterians for Restoring Creation) was founded in 1995 as a national, grassroots organization to support people of faith working toward environmental wholeness with social justice. PEC helps the church to fulfill its current environmental policies, create new policies and practices and energize and educate church members about eco-justice.

Diane Waddell is moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care.

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