Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina

BLACKBURN’S CHAPEL: A Rural Community of Creation By: Brooklynn Reardon, Duke Divinity School

 

As someone born and raised in Los Angeles County, my experiences with ‘small’ and ‘rural’ are far and few.  Furthermore, when I read books on sustainability and agriculture, I typically pick up books written in universities by professors who spend their lives writing, researching, and teaching indoors in a classroom. While there is certainly great content in books like these, perhaps a better place to learn about sustainability and agriculture is in a community that practices it. Although Los Angeles can teach us many things about culture and diversity, the mountains of western North Carolina is one place we can learn about the intersection of eco-justice and faith. Blackburn’s Chapel is a very small community of people in a town called Todd. Todd is a stretch of land that sits on the line between Ashe and Watauga county. This area is so small, there are about 4 buildings that form the center of town. One of these buildings is the local church, Blackburn’s Chapel. On most Sundays, the church has about 20-30 members who join together in worship. Although Blackburn’s is small in number, when it comes to caring for God’s creation, they are mighty. Read More

Help Solar in Buncombe July 21

A Historic Vote On Solar July 21

Share your faith and passion for a clean energy future.  Learn more here.  On July 21, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on whether or not to move forward with a plan to install solar panels at 40 sites of county government, city and public school and community college properties. The project is the equivalent of powering 677 homes entirely with solar. The solar energy systems will save county taxpayers $27 million by reducing electricity payments to Duke Energy over the next 30 years. This vote is a huge opportunity to move our county forward to a renewable energy future. In addition, the prices offered to install these solar projects are millions of dollars cheaper than expected, and the energy savings from the solar panels would actually save the county and schools money. 

To make this happen, we need at least 4 out of 7 County Commissioners to vote YES to this proposal on July 21. We are asking people who value renewable energy to write personalized letters to the County Commissioners to encourage them to vote yes. 

Could you write a personalized message to Commissioners asking them to vote yes to this proposal here?  

Sharing how your faith or spiritual life informs your beliefs about clean energy and creation care is a unique and helpful way to communicate values that we all hold dear regardless of political affiliation.  You can also spread the word to your friends and family about the need to make your voice heard before this vote.

Submit a public comment to be read at Tuesday’s Commission meeting before the vote by emailing comment@buncombecounty.org.

 

 

Eco-Justice Online Conference

Green Chalice, the Creation Care Alliance of WNC, and Christmount invite you to join us virtually (with limited on-site options) in the rich Southern Appalachian Mountain ecosystem to explore profound connection between our spirituality and our care for all of creation! Through interactive Zoom meetings and workshops with dynamic speakers, participants will explore complex sustainability challenges and meet churches, organizations, and individuals engaged in justice in their own communities.   Sign up here. 
 
This journey is about listening to stories and reflecting on empowerment in tangible ways while unpacking systems thinking. We will engage across topics of poverty, food & faith, climate change, pollution, health, anti-racism, equity, and reconciliation.
Speakers include
Deke Arndt- Climate Scientist, St. Eugene Catholic Church
Rev. Phyllis Byrd-Global Ministries, Organization of Africa Instituted Churches
Emma Childs-Christmount Conference Center
Wendy Davidson-Disciples Peace Fellowship Intern
Rev. Wilson Dickinson-Lexington Theological Seminary
Dargan Gilmore-Toward Zero Waste
Tyrone Greenlee-Christians for a United Community
Rev. Sandhya Jha-Oakland Peace Center
Rev. Erica Williams-Poor People’s Campaign

Geared for high-school students, young adults, and adults, we invite you to seek shalom with us, joining other groups/families in stimulating discussion, prayer, and brainstorming about how they are turning challenges into opportunities, how to re-frame our daily lived practices, and how to foster a fuller imagination for our world!  We want this experience to meet you where you are, so if attending all the sessions is not a possibility, let’s be in touch about creative alternatives! Sliding scale registration can be found at: https://christmount.brushfire.com/events/471401Eco-Justice2020Schedule-page-001

Climate Ambassador Training with CCA, Blessed Tomorrow and Green Chalice

As we witness and experience impacts on our health, livelihoods, and communities, we are increasingly looking for guidance on solutions from leaders in our daily lives — health, faith, and community.
 
Blessed Tomorrow’s work aims to support major faith institutions and faith leaders with training on the links between climate and faith, the spectrum of solutions, how to speak effectively on the topic of climate change, and opportunities to act and advocate.
The Climate Ambassador training equips people of faith with the knowledge, hands-on experience, and resources to speak and act confidently on climate change and solutions. Faith leaders will be empowered to inspire their colleagues, associations, laity, the public, and policymakers to be empowered in making a change on climate solutions that help care for creation, protect our neighbors and communities, and ensure a prosperous, just, and secure future for all.

The Format

The full training will include a 4-hour time slot facilitated by Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri and Rev. Carol Devine.
  • Section 1: Introduction, Faith and Climate Change Overview, Climate Impacts on Ministry
  • Section 2: Climate Solutions and Benefits (National, State, Local, Congregational, and Personal)
  • Section 3: Advocacy and Engagement: Communicating on Climate in Faith (language guidance, creating a personalized climate message)
Upon completion of the full training, leaders within BT partner denominations will be given Blessed Tomorrow Ambassador designation. These leaders will be invited to be listed on their affiliated faith institution or organization website, and the Blessed Tomorrow website, as trained leaders who can be scheduled to present on climate.  Register for the Training Here. 

Climate Interactive – May 12th

Join us to experience what it’s like to negotiate a climate deal to address one of the greatest human and environmental challenges of this century. The Climate Action Simulation is a highly interactive, role-playing game. It uses the En-ROADS simulation model to engage a wide range of participants in exploring key technology and policy solutions for addressing climate change. The game is conducted as a simulated emergency summit organized by the United Nations that convenes global stakeholders. In the game, it’s our job to establish a concrete plan that limits global warming to Paris Agreement goals.

This two-hour workshop hosted by Climate Interactive allows you to do a deep dive into the decisions that have to made to create a world that meets Paris Climate Agreement goals. You’ll have the opportunity to negotiate over factors such as decreasing deforestation worldwide, improving building efficient, or increasing oil taxes and watch as the models respond to your decisions.

You may join as an individual or invite your congregation’s creation care team. If you’ve joined us previously for the Climate Interactive experience, we are using a new version that was released recently, so the experience will be different than previous ones.

Please RSVP here to let us know that you’re attending.

Earth Day Vigil April 26- 50th Anniversary

Earth Day Vigil Register Here.  
Although we are unable to gather in person this year, we are excited to host a virtual Earth Day Vigil in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. The vigil will be focused around the idea of “Seeing with New Eyes” and will include readings, prayers, songs, and information about creation care from speakers from throughout Western North Carolina. Following the vigil, we will host a “reception” where we invite you to grab your dinner or favorite beverage and join us for a discussion and reflection. The vigil will run from 6-7:30pm and the reception will begin directly after it ends. We welcome you to join us for as long as you are able.The vigil will be hosted over Zoom, and you will receive a link to join the Zoom meeting after signing up. When you join for the vigil, you will be muted and your video will be turned off. For the reception, there will be more opportunities for interaction. You may join from your computer or your phone.Speakers:
Rev. Kevin Bates, United Methodist Church in Black Mountain, NC
Rev. Tamara Franks, High Country United Church of Christ in Vilas, NC
Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, Director of the Creation Care Alliance
Jenna Lindbo, Land of the Sky United Church of Christ
Rev. Naomi Tutu, Cathedral of All Souls
Rev. Wil Posey, First United Methodist Church in Murphy, NC
Rabbi Phil Bentley, Hendersonville
Rev. Laura Collins, Asheville, NC

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Scavenger Hunt: Neighborhood Natives and Meditation.

What do Oaks, Violets, Native Bees and Robins have in common?  They are native species in Western North Carolina and they are part of the CCA Neighborhood Natives Scavenger Hunt. While we are caring for our human neighbors by maintaining social distance, this can be a wonderful time to get to know some of our other neighbors- our local botanical and animal friends!  The next time you’re out for a stroll, consider taking this guide with you and seeing if you can identify some of these common urban and suburban dwellers.  Then if you like, try one of the mindfulness activities.  We are so impressed and excited to try and find these ten neighbors and deepen our spiritual lives in the process.  Many thanks to Rhys Burns, Kevin Bates and Emma Childs for this inspirational work.  

Find it here: CCA Neighborhood Natives Scavenger Hunt

Congregations with Online Worship/Prayer

Several faith communities are offering worship and prayer services online- click the links below to learn more.  Let us know if you would like us to add your congregation to the list by filling out this form.   Photo Credit to Land of the Sky UCC.

AVL Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church- Daily Devotional, Worship at 10:45

Grace Episcopal Church in the Mountains, Waynesville

AVL- Land of the Sky UCC, Worship at 9:30am

AVL- First Baptist Church of Asheville, Worship at 11 or anytime

AVL-New Hope Presbyterian Church, Worship at 11am

AVL First Presbyterian, Asheville PC(USA), Worship at 11am

AVL- Jubliee Community, Asheville, Non-denominational Worship at 9:45am

AVL- St. George’s Episcopal Church, Worship at 11am

AVL- St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Worship at 10am

AVL- Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church 

Black Mountain Presbyterian, Worship at 11am

Black Mountain First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Worship at 9:45 am

The Congregational Church, Tryon, NC (United Church of Christ), Worship at 10:30

Unity of the Blue Ridge, Mills River, NC, Worship at 11am

High Country UCC, VILAS, NC, UCC

Hayesville First United Methodist Church, Worship at 8:30 and 10:55am

HVL- First Congregational Church UCC Hendersonville, Worship at 10am

HVL-Trinity Presbyterian Church, Hendersonville, Worship at 11am

Weaverville-First Baptist Church Weaverville

Waynesville- First United Methodist Church, Worship  8:30 Trad, 8:40 Contemporary

Looking for words of hope in these challenging times? Chalice Press is offering this FREE ebook, an inspiring compilation of excerpts from our books, offering hope, comfort, inspiration, and creative ideas for weathering the storms! Get it here: https://bit.ly/2QsIBB2

				
	
	

“”Democracy begins with the Habits of the Heart”- Dr. David Orr

With passion, wisdom and wit, Dr. Orr offered insights into some of the symptoms of our sickened Democracy. The interplay of his conversation included climate change, spirituality, racism and the role of government and the commons. He reflected the concern for a lack of curiosity, compassion, and connection with others as he spoke. You can see the entire talk with the questions and answers on the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church YouTube Channel.

Here is a response to a question about faith in these times.  

PANDEMICS AND PREJUDICE: HOW CAN DEMOCRACY SURVIVE IN A HOTTER TIME?- Dr. David Orr

This Friday at 7pm, CCA and Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church will host Dr. David Orr for a discussion regarding the pandemics of COVID-19, racism, climate change and how Democracy may be impacted.  “Pandemics and Prejudice: How Can Democracy Survive in a Hotter Time?” will be presented by Dr. David Orr, EMERITUS Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College via Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church’s Youtube Channel (“GCPC Video”) on Friday 7/10/2020 at 7pm.  It will be a lecture about the Moral Imperative to Restore our Democracy as well as the urgency of Environmental Stewardship, regardless of any particular religious persuasion.

Dr. Orr writes: “The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing crisis of race in America are both an indictment and a preview of what’s coming in a hotter, more divided world with vast economic inequities. Both are symptoms of the tragic failure of democratic institutions. Dr. Orr’s democracy initiative (stateofamericandemocracy.org) is working toward the repair and strengthening of democratic institutions beginning with restoring a moral vision of democracy.” Dr. Orr will not present in person, but we will do this via livestream on Youtube. This event is sponsored by the EARTH Team at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and Creation Care Alliance. Dr. Orr will be introduced by Rev. Marcia Mount Shoop who will facilitate the question and answer period after his presentation.

What are your next steps for Creation Care?

Discerning Next Steps in Creation Care
June 16, 12-1:30pm
Sign up Here.

Grab your lunch and join us for an interactive way to explore next steps for your congregation, green team, family, or self.  While we recognize that there may be a needed changing of priorities during this time of COVID-19 and work of anti-racism, we want to offer a time to connect and talk through including creation care as you plan next steps. Creation Care Team Leaders, clergy, and all those passionate about creation care, ecological justice, and loving our neighbors are welcome to join us for this virtual workshop on the Guide for Cultivating Creation Care. We will share moments of inspiration, support one another, and learn ways to transform our communities to be more compassionate and resilient.

This will be an opportunity to discern possible next steps in your life and congregation through the CCA Guide To Cultivating Creation Care (CCA Toolkit).  You can find the CCA Guide here. 

All are welcome. You will receive the link to join via email once you sign up.

Some resources to help you along the way.

  1. CCA Guide Discernment Workshop (1)
  2. Listening to Your Community Exercise
  3. PDF PATHWAY Half Sheet for CCA GUIDE
  4. Guide for Creation Care- Blue Sheet

 

CCA Book Study-Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common

Join Steering Team Member, Janet Mitchell and Wake Forest Intern Jessica Rowe for a conversational experience of The Pope’s landmark expression of faith, social justice and ecology that was released five years ago. In Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home Pope Francis implores all people to “dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet” (14). He continues his call saying, “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (14). This six-week introductory study will engage participants on the importance of caring for the Earth and how this endeavor is connected to justice for the poor and interior peace. Each week we will gather on Zoom to check in, pray, and discuss a chapter of Laudato Si.  This study convenes on June 3rd, and will meet weekly on Wednesdays for six consecutive weeks.   Please sign up here.