We’re getting so excited about our winter symposium! Learn more about our offerings via the workshop descriptions below and sign up to join us at the Montreat Conference Center on February 2nd and 3rd today!
Friday 2/2 Workshops Descriptions:
- Get to Know Your Neighbors: The Trees of Southern Appalachia: Join MountainTrue Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly on an educational walk through Montreat’s campus. As you walk, you will learn the names, personalities, and needs of the trees and forests around you and be invited to deeper stewardship of our forests.
- Transforming Food Systems as People of Faith: Join Resourceful Communities and RAFI for a conversation regarding how people of faith can help transform food systems for the good of all–the soil, the farm animal, the farmer, the hungry child, the food-insecure elderly neighbor. Topics will include increasing accessibility to nourishing, sustainably grown food, the role of policy in creating just food systems, and examples of unique congregational programs that are making a difference.
- Beekeeping as Creation Care: Certified Beekeeper Rev. Mitch Boughman of Cullowhee United Methodist Church will present the importance of bees/pollinators and how beekeeping connects him to his faith. Join Mitch to learn more about bees and how you can support beekeeping in your area.
- Housing & Faith Communities: The Creation Care Connection: You may not think of housing as a creation care issue, but the moral underpinnings of our country’s housing crisis have implications both for people of faith and also for our planet. Join Neighbors For More Neighbors WNC (N4MN) Director Susan Bean to learn how faith communities and people of faith can play a role in housing more of our neighbors while reducing our collective carbon footprint.
- Electrification & Solar: A Congregational Approach: Waste Reduction Partners and Sugar Hollow Solar will lead this discussion detailing tangible, achievable ways congregations can green their buildings (and lower their energy bills). Learn more by joining them!
- Community Organizing 101: Deputy Director of Strategy & Communications at MountainTrue Karim Olaechea and Creation Care Alliance Director Sarah Ogletree will team up to offer participants a hands-on, participatory workshop covering the basics of community organizing and how these principles can be applied in the congregational setting to further the cause of creation care/eco-justice.
- The Why & How of Seed-Saving: Join award-winning traditional musician and foodways educator William Ritter for a hands-on workshop where you will learn how to save seeds from some of your favorite veggies and fruits, how seed-saving connects you to people/place, and more about the ecological and spiritual significance of seed-saving as a practice.
- Creation Care in Worship: A Conversation for Clergy: Are you a clergy-person? Then this is for you. Join us for a discussion of how to weave creation care into worship and congregational life. This conversation is by clergy and for clergy.
Saturday 2/3 Workshop Descriptions:
- Keynote by Mary Crow: Join us to learn from our keynote speaker, EBCI member, and Organizer for a Just Transition at Indigenous Environmental Network, Mary Crow. As we explore the theme of “Sacred Symbiosis” and the relationships essential to the work of creation care, Mary will help us think about our relationship to all our relatives, with particular emphasis on how we can be in solidarity with Indigenous Just Transition communities working for climate and environmental justice. By engaging in our own healing, we can help heal the world.
- Success Stories from Congregations: Get Inspired! Join congregation members from across our network to learn about creation care projects that have significantly impacted their communities for good. Discussed projects will include: church gardens/habitats, riverbank stabilization, children’s activities, congregational solar and LED installation, and more! In addition to hearing from each presenter, you will get a chance to participate in a longer small-group discussion with the speaker of your choice.
- Understanding & Protecting Your Watershed: Join MountainTrue French Broad Watershed Science & Policy Manager (Anna Alsobrook), Green Riverkeeper (Erica Shanks), and Broad Riverkeeper (David Caldwell) for a presentation detailing how you and your congregation can be in right relationship with your watershed. This discussion will include an explanation of how watersheds function, why their health is essential to broader ecosystem health, and hands-on ways to make a difference!
- Forming Your Green Team 101: As one of the original founders of the Creation Care Alliance and First Presbyterian Church Asheville’s Green Team, Jane Laping has lots of practical experience helping congregation members come together for the sake of God’s creation. In this hands-on workshop, Jane will present the steps to forming a successful Green Team and help you discern what your role could be.
- Art for Creation Care: Exercise your creativity in this workshop led by Jeff Marley. As a studio artist and the Director of Personal Enrichment and Heritage Arts at Southwestern Community College, Jeff’s work focuses on facilitating community building and engagement through art, craft, and learning. Come make something! No prior experience is needed to participate. All skill levels are welcome and encouraged.
- Supporting Local Farmers: Join current Green Riverkeeper and former Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project staff member Erica Shanks for a facilitated panel conversation focusing on how you can support local farmers as an individual and congregation. Speakers will include local farmers from throughout the western North Carolina area!
- Working for Energy Justice: Appalachian Voices, Blue Horizons Project, and Green Built Alliance come together to present pathways to energy justice, including ways for congregations to support Energy Savers Network (ESN), the role of faith communities in meeting Buncombe County’s renewable energy goals, and how people of faith can help advocate for energy justice and democracy in North Carolina more broadly.
- Eco-Grief Ritual & Meditation: Join facilitators of our Eco-Grief Circles for reflection, ritual, and community as they hold space for the many emotions of our climate and ecological crisis. From anger to despair, your experience will be valued and processed alongside others who are also traversing the terrain of eco-grief. By grieving together, we hope you will experience a sense of catharsis and healing that allows you to re-enter the work of ecological justice from a place grounded in love and connection.
- Planning Earth Day in Your Congregation: A Conversation with Religious Educators: Join religious leaders for a hands-on conversation and planning process detailing ways that your congregation can celebrate Earth Day by calling attention to creation care needs. Both children’s activities and adult education will be discussed with the hope that by the time the session is over, you will feel prepared to go back to your faith community with ideas and a basic plan.
- Creative Writing for Creation Care: Join writer Lauren Graber (MDiv.) as you pen your creation care story–from the why, to the how, to the when, and the what’s next. Writing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery, spiritual enrichment, and personal/vocational rejuvenation. Similarly, being able to tell our stories is a vital and powerful tool for change. We hope you’ll join Lauren. Writers of all ages and experience levels are welcome! You can learn more about Lauren and her writing here.
- Guide to Creation Care 2.0 w/ Sarah Ogletree: CCA Director Sarah Ogletree will walk attendees through the new and improved Guide to Creation Care on the CCA website. Throughout all of 2023, we were busy adding new resources, opportunities, and curricula to the guide, and we can’t wait to show you!