Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina

Winter Eco-Grief Circle Dates Announced

Join us for an Eco Grief Circle this Winter. This Seven-week Online experience will be offered in sessions that last about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Together we will explore grief and sorrow, anxiety and fear, guilt and shame, anger, and despair. This is designed to offer mutual support, healing, insight, and love but this is not a grief therapy experience. Past participants expressed profound gratitude for being among people who could talk honestly about grief, suffering, and the ecological and social challenges of our time. The leadership team includes counselors, pastors, and environmental advocates. Two Eco-Grief circles will be offered in the Winter beginning in Mid-January with one being offered on Thursdays at noon and the other being offered Fridays at noon. All times are Eastern time. There is limited space for this online experience. Please sign up here for Friday’s at 12 pm to save your spot. Sign up below to let us know you are interested in joining us.

Facing our common suffering with courage and compassion will grow resilience and our capacity for loving action. The Guardian News Organization ran a recent article about the rising number of children experiencing eco anxiety.    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/nov/20/half-of-child-psychiatrists-surveyed-say-patients-have-environment-anxiety

REGISTER FOR THE FREE ONLINE 7-WEEK EXPERIENCE BELOW  

Register for Winter Eco Grief Circle on Thursdays at noon. (Starts 1/14/21)

Register for Winter Eco Grief Circle on Fridays at noon. (Starts 1/15/21)

Read more about our work with Eco-Grief in Western North Carolina HERE. 

 We will have limited space available in these initial classes, but let us know if you are interested in participating in the future by emailing scott@creationcarealliance.org

Articles for further reading. 

Children and Eco Anxiety,  The Guardian, Nov., 2020

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: American Psychological Assoc. and Eco America, March 2017
Majority of US Adults Believe Climate Change Is Most Important Issue: American Psychological Association, Feb. 2020

Ecological grief as a mental health response to climate change-related loss: Nature Magazine-April 2018 

How scientists are coping with ‘ecological grief’-The Guardian, Jan. 2020

Hope and mourning in the Anthropocene: Understanding ecological grief – The Conversation, April 2018 

Ecological Mourning Is a Unique Form of Grief- Psychology Today, March 2019 

Embracing Pain- 3 minute video by Joanna Macy, 2012

 

Preaching Advent and Creation Care

On Oct. 29 people from 14 states representing 7 denominations came together to explore the Christian Season of Advent as it intersects with creation care and social justice.  See full video below.

The meeting included  15-minute teachings & exegesis on each of the Advent 2020 Year B texts for sermon & worship preparation. You can find the links for the Advent B Lectionary Readings here.

Our Lectionary presenters were:

Advent 1-Rev. Derrick Weston, HopeSprings and Food and Faith Podcast

Advent 2-Rev. Anna Woofenden, Protestant Chaplain at Amherst College Find Informational Slides Here.  Advent 2 Creation Presentation

Advent 3- Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship Lexington Theological Seminary Find Informational Slides Here.   Advent 3, Year B, preaching through a green lens

Advent 4– Rev. Dr. Wilson Dickinson, Director of D.Min Program at Lexington Theological Seminary, Find Informational Slides Here. Advent 4 and Environmental Justice

This was a free offering for ordained or commissioned Clergy from Green Chalice of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the Creation Care Alliance.  

Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade is Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 2000, Leah has written three books focusing on environment and faith.  She has served as an anti-fracking and climate activist, community organizer, and advocate for environmental justice issues, and is the “EcoPreacher” blogger for Patheos.com: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ecopreacher/.

Rev. Dr. Wilson Dickinson is the Director of the Green Good News and teaches theology and is Director of the Doctor of Ministry and Continuing Education Programs at Lexington Theological Seminary.

Rev. Anna Woofenden is the author of “This is God’s Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls.” She is the Protestant Chaplain at Amherst College and the interim pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, MA.

Derrick Weston is the director of programs and partnerships for HopeSprings, a faith-based organization serving those living with HIV in the city of Baltimore. He also manages the Rockrose community farm on the city’s east end. Derrick received his Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary and is the co-host of the Food and Faith Podcast.   Derrick and his wife, Rev. Shannon Meacham, have four children.

Advent Hearts and Minds: Preaching and Self Care with Creation Care in Mind. 

A conversation for and with clergy people. Oct. 29, 4-5:30 PM Eastern Time   Register Here. 

We wait. We are in the midst of deep challenges globally and locally as our congregations face the division associated with an upcoming election as well as systemic racism, COVID-19, and the climate crisis. You are leader in this particular time and place.  The burden is heavy.  Our hope is that you might find some seeds of inspiration to help with Advent worship planning and sermon preparation.  More than that we hope you will find a few minutes of connection, care, prayer and support in our breakout rooms.

The meeting will include:  15-minute teachings & exegesis on each of the Advent 2020 Year B texts for sermon & worship preparation and Clergy self-care through contemplative practice, prayer, and connection 

Our Lectionary presenters will be:

Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship Lexington Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Wilson Dickinson, Director of D.Min Program at Lexington Theological Seminary
Rev. Derrick Weston, Faith and Leadership
Rev. Anna Woofenden, Pastor of the Garden Church, San Pedro, CA

This is a free offering for ordained or commissioned Clergy from Green Chalice of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the Creation Care Alliance.  

You can find the links for the Advent B Lectionary Readings here.

Space is limited so please register soon.   SIGN UP HERE

Voting your Faith Values

Voting your Faith Values in 2020

The election of 2020 is the most important election in our lifetime and will determine the future of life on this earth. Make sure that your vote gets counted. The Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina offers this voting information to help you make the best voting choice during this pandemic.  As you consider your vote you might imagine that you are offering a vote for those who are often voiceless. As you cast your one vote you might consider the needs of: 1)the most vulnerable among us; the poor, sick, and oppressed, 2) the young and future generations who will face the brunt of our current and past environmental and social sins, and 3) creation itself; the animals, trees, oceans, birds and rivers that will never get a vote but will feel the impact of our policies and practices.  

You may vote in-person early (October 15 – 31) or on Election Day (November 3). Also, all voters in North Carolina are eligible to vote absentee this year.

Check your Registration OR Register to Vote

Confirm that you are registered to vote. If you are not registered or need to change your address you can do it online. The deadline to register is October 9. You can also register in-person at early voting sites.  

To Request and Return an Absentee Ballot

  1. Request your absentee ballot.There are two ways to request your ballot:

OR

  1. Submit your request.If you are not using the online portal, submit your  North Carolina Absentee Ballot Request Formby email, fax, mail or in person to your county board of elections. The deadline to submit a request for the November 3, 2020 general election is 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 27.
  2. Complete and sign your absentee ballot. Complete your absentee ballot in the presence of one witness and insert the ballot into the return envelope. Sign the outside of the ballot return envelope. Have your witness complete and sign the witness certification.
  3. Return your absentee ballot to your county board of elections.

 

“Mustard Seeds and Good Yeast” Eco-Justice in the time of COVID-19

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?  It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Luke 13:18-21, From the Christian New Testament

Our week long Eco-Justice Conference was helped shaped by several poems, scriptures and prayers.  The parables of Jesus offered above are found in the Christian New Testament and seem to point toward our common work of caring for earth and one another.  

The mustard seed idea of an eco-justice camp has continued to offer branches for rest and wisdom at Christmount with Green Chalice of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina.

The 40 of us began with a sense of resilience as we were forced to gather for the Eco Justice Conference online instead of going with our original plans to gather in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at Christmount Conference Center.  While the virtual space confined us in some ways with less creeks, trees, and mountain air, God was still present and the new format allowed for participants to join from all across the country.  Preachers and teachers spoke to us with passionate hearts and wise minds to challenge us to seek wholeness in our social systems and health for ecological systems.  The church and our people were invited to participate with God to bring about a more just world.

Each of our four days included an online creek laden video devotional, Scriptures, poems, small group sharing and powerful preaching and teaching.

Many of us found an enlivened curiosity seeking out the interconnections across issues of poverty, racism, climate change, pollution, food, and spirituality.  We discovered new connections with one another and with God.  We learned new ways to creatively do this work.  Pizza making was a tangible skill I picked up as I learned more about yeast and dough and the mighty impact of even the small things when kneaded well.  As we faithfully face climate change, racism, and disease we have an opportunity to sprinkle the yeast of God’s love into the greater church and into our communities and to plant seeds of compassionate action even while not knowing if or how our actions will grow.  May we plant and knead together. 

Eco-Justice Conference speakers and leaders included:
Deke Arndt- Climate Scientist, St. Eugene Catholic Church
Rev. Phyllis Byrd-Global Ministries, Organization of Africa Instituted Churches
Emma Childs-Christmount Conference Center
Rev. Dr. David Daniels III -McCormick Theological Seminary
Rev. Carol Devine-Green Chalice
Wendy Davidson-Disciples Peace Fellowship Intern
Rev. Wilson Dickinson-Lexington Theological Seminary
Dargan Gilmore-Toward Zero Waste
Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri-Creation Care Alliance, Green Chalice
Rev. Sandhya Jha-Oakland Peace Center
Rev. Rob Morris-Christmount Conference Center
Rev. Erica Williams-Poor People’s Campaign

 

Blessed are those who Mourn: Congregational support for Eco-Grief

Faith communities have a complicated history when it comes to mental health and wholeness. In some ways faith communities have failed by ignoring mental health challenges that are present within our communities and among clergy people.  Oftentimes the stigma that has been placed upon the shoulders of those who are experiencing a variety of temporary and chronic mental health challenges has been ignored and even increased by communities and people of faith.   REGISTER FOR SEPTEMBER ECO GRIEF CIRCLES

At our best, faith communities have encouraged people to face suffering and loss with heart, mind, and body by using rituals, encouraging conversation, and honoring sacred stories from ancestors and community members. I am encouraged to see more and more clergy seeking professional mental health care, and more congregations offering opportunities to not only express and explore experiences of grief but to engage in caring for those with mental health challenges.

The climate crisis offers yet another opportunity to be our best, and to lovingly accompany one another in the midst of suffering and grief. In my work at the Creation Care Alliance I have seen a recent increase in the ways that climate change and ecological degradation has impacted emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

Over the past six years I have had the opportunity to listen to people of faith as they grapple with the realities of our changing climate.  I have heard the fear of the threats made to God’s good creation, felt the anger of those standing against a fossil fueled future, seen the tears of grandparents on behalf of their grandchildren.  

This is not new – the reality is that ecological destruction in Western North Carolina has been impacting our community for many years. For many, these stories are intertwined with stories of blatant racism, economic oppression, and food insecurity. Ecological grief is not a new experience, however climate anxiety and eco-grief are being more widely recognized as another component of climate change.  

Back in the 1950s, environmentalist Aldo Leopold described environmental grief when he said “one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” More recently, Dr. Glenn Albrecht coined the term “solastalgia” to describe mental distress caused by environmental change, a kind of “homesickness” without leaving home that we feel as our common home becomes more unrecognizable.

We see grief showing up in a variety of ways. One way is for people to be experiencing grief and suffering due to past or current eco-challenges. These mental health concerns are the results of climate phenomena like increased heat indexes, displacement due to flooding or storms, increased stress due to illness and food insecurity. This kind of grief would be a natural response to well water being rendered toxic, beloved forests being burned, or generational farmland drying to dust.  

Another way that grief shows up is in anxiety about a future that is inhospitable to people and creatures. As people learn more and more about the climate crisis and see the decade- long predictions from scientists beginning to come to fruition, we become increasingly aware of the fragility of our common future. With this awareness comes anxiety and even despair.   

After hearing story after story of these (and other) kinds of grief, people within the Creation Care Alliance network – two counselors, two pastors, and a chaplain – began to plan ways for people to care about one another in their grief. The result was a pilot project called the Eco-Grief Circle. 

This six-week experience offered hour-long sessions that explored grief and sorrow, anxiety and fear, guilt and shame, anger and despair. The pilot project included 16 people who were connected with environmental and justice work. This was not a grief therapy experience, yet healing, insight, and love were present. Participants expressed the profound gratitude of being among people who could talk honestly about grief, suffering and the ecological and social challenges of our time. In the particular six weeks that we gathered, we not only faced the climate change challenge but also grappled with the pandemic and the deep brokenness of racism in our society. It was a powerful six weeks to be sure.  

The leadership team will launch two more eco-grief circles in mid-September, and is currently finalizing the curriculum and receiving inquiries from a variety of people and faith communities that are interested.  We will have limited space available in these initial classes, but let us know if you are interested in participating in the future by emailing scott@creationcarealliance.org

Articles for further reading. 

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: American Psychological Assoc. and Eco America, March 2017
Majority of US Adults Believe Climate Change Is Most Important Issue: American Psychological Association, Feb. 2020

Ecological grief as a mental health response to climate change-related loss: Nature Magazine-April 2018 

How scientists are coping with ‘ecological grief’-The Guardian, Jan. 2020

Hope and mourning in the Anthropocene: Understanding ecological grief – The Conversation, April 2018 

Ecological Mourning Is a Unique Form of Grief- Psychology Today, March 2019 

Embracing Pain- 3 minute video by Joanna Macy, 2012

 

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

Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 10.30.14 AM

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

		
	
	

Fires and hope

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

Eco-Grief Circles begin next week 

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

Creation Care Gathering and Peer Support Meeting Sept. 17

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

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

MountainTrue University: Faith, Ecology & Race-Sept. 23

Tami-Forte-Logan

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/

“This Changes Everything” Prayerful Eco Film Study- Begins Oct. 4

TIFF-Announcement-This-Changes-Everything

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.

Drawdown: Engaging our Faith to Reverse the Climate Crisis 

Hosted By Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
Sundays, 9:15-10:15am, Sept. 20-Oct. 25
Facilitators: Susan Presson and John Curry
drawdown Windmills

“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/

Season of Creation

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 scott@creationcarealliance.org to explore best dates or options.

Outdoor Space Heaters for a Discount

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,

Scott