The images and the words spilling out around us are declaring troubling times. Friends from congregations in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado have been sharing news of the catastrophic fires raging out West. These tragedies are heaped on top of continued racial injustice, a public health crisis, hurricane relief efforts and a country divided on many fronts. While we pray for those fighting the fires, experiencing trauma from evacuations and smoke filled skylines we recognize that what is happening out west today has happened in our forests closer to home and that our changing climate influences these fire seasons whether in the West or the East. This article from NOAA states it well. “climate change has driven and likely will continue to drive a wildfire increase. This increase not only can negatively impact human infrastructure but can also damage animal habitat and spread invasive plant species. Plus, the scars left behind by the wildfires can impact water quality and rainfall runoff for many years after the fire.” https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/colorado-summer-drought-wildfires-and-smoke-2020
As people of faith and communities of conscience we recognize that the most vulnerable in our communities are impacted first and worst by fires, floods, racially motivated violence, and economic downturns. Many congregations connected to the Creation Care Alliance and beyond are seeking the health and wellness of their communities and are aligning with moral integrity and God’s grace. CCA seeks to support these efforts and will continue to hold fast to hope and love as guiding principals. See below some ways to connect to one another and these efforts. Cameron Peak Fires, CO Photo by Erin Tyler
Two counselors, two pastors, and a chaplain developed a seven-week experience to support community members and allow a space to honestly discuss grief and suffering amidst the ecological and social challenges of our time. This started as a response to climate anxiety but has expanded to support people as they experience a variety of reactions to Covid-19, injustice and economic instability. To learn more about the pilot program offered this summer, read this blog post by CCA’s Director Scott Hardin Nieri here. https://creationcarealliance.org/2020/08/10/blessed-are-those-who-mourn-congregational-support-for-eco-grief/
The Fall classes are almost at capacity. Sign up here soon. https://secure.everyaction.com/04Z-umcpskKjVuK4sPjzNQ2?emci=338b6e26-fce3-ea11-8b03-00155d0394bb&emdi=4434892b-3ee6-ea11-8b03-00155d0394bb&ceid=561638
with guest Chris Joyell- CCA will be offering a gathering time to connect with one another and talk about congregational efforts in creation care. We will meet on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6pm via ZOOM. This will include congregations and people from all regions of the Mountain Counties and will include time together as well as regional break out rooms so you can get to know your creation care neighbors a bit better. Our featured guest Chris Joyell of the Asheville Design Center will explore economics, urban development and racism.
You can register for the gathering HERE. If you are a CCA Covenant partner, please send a representative to this meeting. We will be meeting monthly on the 3rd Thursdays so watch the CCA website for upcoming meetings. https://secure.everyaction.com/sMHYrxuBkkGsfJ7M2BM4Jw2
Join us on September 23 for a conversation between Reverend Tami Forte Logan, Missioner of Faith4Justice Asheville, and Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, Director of the Creation Care Alliance. They will be exploring issues of faith, ecology and race while talking about how their individual programs and efforts to promote justice in our community complement each other’s efforts. These two individuals have been partnering in various ways for the last few years and the discussion promises to be both rich and timely! Register Here. https://mountaintrue.org/event/mountaintrue-university-faith-ecology-race/
Land of the Sky United Church of Christ and the Creation Care Alliance are collaborating to host a four-week movie discussion group. We will connect with one another for 4-weeks, watch portions of the film, and explore connections across economics, climate change, racism and our spiritual lives.
“We are squarely in the middle of the greatest transition in history. There are reasons to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.” DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming offers 100 solutions to understand the “substantive ways we can REVERSE global warming.”
Drawing on the Drawdown text, as well as Scripture and our own spiritual experiences with creation, we will examine several concrete solutions to the climate crisis. During our six weeks together, we hope to foster interactive discussions with one another while also inviting community leaders and activists to share their wisdom and practical advice. Come to learn, to recharge your commitment to our good earth, and to fellowship with fellow earth lovers in our community. Find the Link to the Class Here. https://creationcarealliance.org/event/drawdown-engaging-our-faith-to-reverse-the-climate-crisis/2020-09-20/
Some congregations within the Christian tradition have intentionally explored the connections within faith, care for the earth and love of our neighbor. We are entering a time in the church calendar that some call the Season of Creation which falls before or after the feast of St. Francis in early October. You can find resources, prayers and scriptures on the CCA website here. https://creationcarealliance.org/2019/09/01/world-day-of-prayer-for-creation/ Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri or other CCA volunteers are also available to guest preach via ZOOM or other method if that would be helpful. This collaboration/preaching may be to accompany a creation care Sunday or it may be to support a needed week off for preachers. You can email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore best dates or options.
Co-operate WNC is organizing a bulk-purchase of outdoor space heaters to support outdoor fall & winter gatherings, and would like your feedback in this short survey to help them get heaters that best support your community’s/church’s needs. Heaters are in high demand, and we hope to place the order soon. Fill out the 3 question survey here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf-A1Udp5FP415uqm2mhA1QaUYD44W4iu45GZZQDVKQqosLRA/viewform?usp=sf_link
While some congregations do not plan to meet in person in the near future, some churches and faith communities are considering ways to feel connected during the winter months with outdoor worship and gatherings being an option. One strategy is to use outdoor space heaters, similar to the ones restaurants use, to hold services safely through the winter months. A bulk order in this way will help ensure that heaters are more available despite limited supply and there is a discount.
CCA has been exploring ways to connect with the work of Co-Operate WNC for some time now. Co-operate WNC is an emerging mutual aid network connecting communities using cooperative economic tools and ecologically regenerative practices to transform institutional systems of oppression and violence, create deep climate resilience, and take back our collective power for shaping our destiny. For more information on their approach and programs, visit http://www.co-operatewnc.org
Peace and Grace,