The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is an occasion that warrants reflection and deserves celebration. Above all, it honors and inspires community: both the community of people, past and present, that have cared for our earth and the community of living beings that our earth supports everyday.
For years, we have hosted an Earth Day Vigil in Asheville, bringing folks together to honor the natural beauty around us and the lessons it had taught us. This year we were unable to gather in person, which seemed like a challenge to vigil’s purpose. In many vigils, their power comes from the feeling of others worshiping alongside you, deeply connecting over a shared love and experience. To our surprise, we found that hosting the vigil virtually allowed us draw strength from this feeling of togetherness. We were able to expand our community by hearing from voices of faith leaders from throughout WNC and by allowing friends and family to join from near and far. The speakers were
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
If you were unable to join us for the event, we hope that you can take a moment to watch the recording and draw strength from the voices that gathered to celebrate our earth.
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
CARES ACT PROVISIONS PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM for CONGREGATIONS.
Photo by Sheila Mraz at Earth Day Vigil 2018
Your denomination will know more about this opportunity but we wanted to offer this potential resource in the midst of the ongoing financial challenge. There is a limited supply of funding for this program and Small Business Administration started processing applications on April 3rd. Consult your denomination and check it out.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses including faith-based non-profits and religious institutions to keep their workers on the payroll. It can provide forgivable loans for payroll and utilities.
The Small Business Administration will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020 but will be depleted first come first served.
More information from the Small Business Administration
The actual application can be found HERE.
This winter, the Creation Care Alliance held our first Solar Summit – a gathering of people of faith who have successfully implemented solar energy at their congregations.
Take a look at our Solar Summit video to hear some of the successes, challenges, and wisdom attendees learned from throughout the solar process. Our hope is for this video to be a resource for other congregations who may be interested in solar, but don’t know where to start.
Learn more about Congregational Solar! CCA and NC Interfaith Power and Light will be hosting a Solar 101 for congregations on May 28th, 2020 at 6pm.
CCA has gathered some resources to support your congregation in honoring, celebrating or teaching about creation care in this season. Several congregations will offer sermons, classes or teachings on the Sunday before or just after Earth Day. A 2020 theme “The Fierce Urgency of Now” was coordinated by Creation Justice Ministries, an ecumenical organization that carries out the creation care and environmental justice priorities of dozens of Christian denominations and communions. The theme comes from a quote by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
MULTI-FAITH EARTH DAY SERVICE
Sunday, April 19, 2020 | 2:00pm
Washington National Cathedral
Faith Climate Action Week with Interfaith Power and Light
Find local congregations offering worship online here.
Earth Day Sunday Worship Resources
Season of Creation-Designed for the fall “Season of Creation” but offers many good resources.
Green Faith- This offers a robust set of resources, prayers and scriptures from a variety of faith traditions
Presbyterians for Earth Care- Creation Care Resources with a Presbyterian perspective
Interfaith Power and Light- Has a variety of resources including sample sermons, prayers, and liturgies.
United Church of Christ-One-stop EcoJustice Research site