Peace for the Earth: From the Bible to the Front Lines: A Report from the Presbyterians for Earth Care Conference

I attended the Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC) conference at Stony Point from August 6-9, along with other members of the HRP Green Partnership of our Presbytery.

What a wonderful conference it was! And I say that proudly, as I was our representative on the planning committee, working with Dennis Testerman and Bruce Gillete, the moderator and vice moderator of PEC.

Over 140 of us met over the three days to hear talks, participate in workshops, and, for the early risers, kayak on the Hudson or join the farmers at the Stony Point farm.

The plenary sessions each morning by William Brown of Columbia Seminary were nothing short of spectacular. Using the psalms and the book of Job, Bill took us from lamenting the species that have gone extinct to celebrating the diversity of life in the deep. I’ll never look at the book of Job the same way again.

Sarah Henkel, Erin Moore, Margery Rossi and I led a “Healing Our Sacred Sites” walk from Stony Point to the Hudson River, celebrating the transformation of the Stony Point Presbyterian Church into the Sweet Water Cultural Center, a place of worship for the Ramapough-Lenape on whose land it rests and at the same time remembering the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy to the Ba-Mar Mobile Home community.

I moderated a panel that included Kathy Dean, the chair of HRP Green. The panel was entitled “Cultivating Congregational and Presbytery Teams Committed to Earth Care Action” and included Rick Person, the Midwest Regional Representative for PEC and Jessica Maudlin, the PC(USA) support for Earth Care congregations. Rick discussed teams at the congregational level, Kathy discussed Presbytery-wide activities and Jessica outlined support available at the denominational level.

Margery Rossi and her son Luke Rossi-Torres attended three sessions that certified them as Blessed Tomorrow Ambassadors. Blessed Tomorrow is an interfaith coalition working on stewardship of the earth, and a partner with PEC.

I attended a discussion led by Jessica Maudlin, wearing her “hat” as the Presbyterian Hunger Program Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care, on “Embracing God’s Economy,” and a session led by Andrew Kang-Bartlett, the national associate for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, on “Movement Building and Consciousness as if We Were Part of Nature.”

You can see the entire program on the Presbyterians for Earth Care website, under events, here:

I came away encourage, energized, and reminded, in the words of the Jewish Book of Ethics, “yours is not to complete the task, neither are you free to desist from it.” I am heartened by the passion of those who are working to care for the earth.

Please consider joining our Green Team as we work to care for God’s creation.

~Connie Knapp, for the Green Team