Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina

Letter from Scott regarding moving into a new role and building on the foundations of compassionate climate action

The CCA Director is moving into a new role.

And the Creation Care Alliance is building on the foundations of compassionate climate action.

Dear friends and supporters,

After 6 years of wonderful work collaborating with individuals and congregations in Western North Carolina, it is with a mix of excitement but also sadness that I share the news that I will be leaving my role as Director of the Creation Care Alliance to accept a call into a position with The Bethany Fellowship to accompany congregations as they discern and act faithfully in these times.  I will serve as director until April 30, 2021, allowing me some time to finish up current projects and help with the transition. Our family will remain in Asheville. MountainTrue and the Creation Care Alliance are also my family, and I plan to volunteer and be involved with y’all in the future.

Over the past six years, the Creation Care Alliance has grown to become a vital program within the MountainTrue community. CCA and MountainTrue, working together,  are unique in their ability to combine science, faith, policy, economics, spirituality, justice, technology, and theology. We took risks partnering a faith-based program with an environmental advocacy organization, and those risks are paying off.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together. We currently work with over seventy congregations representing twelve denominations in about twenty different locations across Western North Carolina. Through the passion and dedication of the CCA Steering Team, MountainTrue Staff and our network of congregations and collaborators we have been able to offer transformative experiences like our Earth Day Vigils, Path to Paris Pilgrimages, and Creation Care Retreats; tangible results reflected in the hundreds of solar panels, LED lights and gardens installed at congregations throughout our region; and vital tools and resources through our Creation Care Guide, Eco-Grief Circles and Eco Justice Camps. Together we have accompanied congregations as they have addressed climate change and ecological destruction but equally important we have deepened the capacity for compassion, right relationship, and love in the midst of crises. This unique blend of mitigation, adaptation, and compassion is a hallmark of our work together and will continue to flourish in the months and years to come.

I’m excited at what CCA has planned for the future as well. Even as I prepare for my new job, I’ve been working with MountainTrue and the Creation Care Alliance Steering Team on a strategic plan for the next 10 years. We’re planning now to bring the good work of Creation Care to more congregations and communities throughout our mountain region, to shepherd more faith groups through the process of accomplishing zero-carbon footprints, and to train more leaders to take our movement of love and compassion to the broader public. I look forward to passing the baton to the next CCA director. We’ve posted a job description on the MountainTrue and Creation Care Alliance of WNC websites, and we are accepting applications now. The deadline to apply is May 5.

As supporters and partners with the Creation Care Alliance, you serve as vital parts of this ongoing work toward a more sustainable and just future. The needs in our communities are great and whoever steps into this work will be lucky to be walking with such a powerful collective of staff and volunteers.

It’s been an honor to work with you all for justice, our communities, and a better planet. I leave this position with a note of deep gratitude and a determination to continue this work together in the future. See you soon!

With Gratitude and Hope,

Now Hiring: Director, Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina

MountainTrue is a non-profit organization that works with communities across 26 mountain counties in Western North Carolina and North Georgia on issues that matter most to sustaining our natural heritage. We focus on a core set of issues – sensible land use, restoring public forests, protecting water quality, and clean energy – that have a high impact on the environmental health and long-term prosperity of our region. For more information: mountaintrue.org.

Creation Care Alliance of WNC
The Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina (CCA), a program of MountainTrue, is a network of people of faith and congregations who have united around a moral and spiritual call to preserve the integrity, beauty and health of God’s creation. We work to bring practical and hopeful solutions to our congregations and broader secular communities by engaging hearts and minds through inspiration, education, service and advocacy. Our work has included climate advocacy, renewable energy education, energy efficiency, solar energy, food justice, eco-grief work, and is an expression of our love of God and God’s love for the earth and all life. For more information: creationcarealliace.org.

The Position
Reporting to the MountainTrue Co-Director the Creation Care Alliance Director is responsible for providing overall direction and faith-based leadership toward attaining the program’s mission, annual goals, and funding. They work closely with the CCA Steering Team and coordinate with MountainTrue staff to accomplish program goals. This position serves as an important bridge across faith, science, nonprofit, and secular organizations by connecting environmental and justice work. A major focus of this role in the coming years is expanding the program’s footprint across MountainTrue’s service area (26 counties) as well as deepening engagement in historically marginalized communities.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Leadership and Management

  • Leads and collaborates with the Steering Team and MountainTrue staff to establish strategic goals, develop programs/events, and manage ongoing operations.
  • Identifies new leaders, maintains relationships and builds trust within the Steering Team representing a variety of denominations, watersheds and communities across Western North Carolina.
  • Serves as an educator and thought-leader in the community, speaking at CCA functions and communities of faith, and coordinating eco-justice efforts among various communities.
  • Communicates the stories, mission, programs, events and accomplishments of the program to all relevant stakeholders. In coordination with the MountainTrue Engagement and Communications staff maintains the website, writes newsletters and coordinates social media.
  • In coordination with MountainTrue Development Director and CCA Steering Team, plans and implements fundraising goals including work with major donors, congregations, and foundations.
  • Recommends yearly budget for Steering Team approval and responsibly manages the program’s resources.

Program

  • Ensures programmatic excellence and program evaluation.
  • Begins new and nurtures ongoing relationships with congregations, individual members and prospective supporters, with a particular focus on historically marginalized communities.
  • Provides the services and resources needed to strengthen and expand the CCA network.
  • Promotes active and broad participation by volunteers.
  • Leads advocacy efforts, aware of and involved in regional, national and global environmental eco-justice issues that are of interest to communities of faith. Represents CCA, along with CCA volunteers, at public hearings, with elected officials, and in other advocacy opportunities as appropriate.
  • Cultivates partnerships that advance the goals of CCA.
  • Helps to select, coordinate and supervise student interns from divinity schools and other appropriate educational institutions.


Preferred Qualifications

Faith-based leadership and environmental knowledge

  • ordination with good standing and/or experience in faith-based leadership
  • knowledge of and sensitivity/openness to different faith communities
  • current and continuously updated knowledge of environmental issues and Earth stewardship
  • a passion for Creation and caring for it and a commitment to ecological justice
  • demonstrated commitment to anti-racism work and fighting other manifestations of oppression
  • an understanding of the unique land use issues, complex Appalachian history and diversity of thought and practice across mountain counties and urban centers.

Non-profit management experience

  • a minimum of 5 years non-profit or faith community management experience
  • fundraising and membership development experience
  • experience in volunteer recruitment and management
  • prior experience organizing advocacy campaigns
  • leadership position on a board or steering Team.

Interpersonal, communication and project management skills

  • strong communication skills, both speaking and writing
  • effective and compassionate listener with experience eliciting dialogue
  • proficiency in computer skills including social media
  • ability to work both independently and as part of a multigenerational team
  • proven ability to work on several projects at once, set measurable objectives, maintain attention to details, meet deadlines, and report results in a timely fashion.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Salary for this position is $50,000 – $55,000, depending on experience
  • 20 vacation days per year, Sick leave, Sabbatical after 5 years
  • Health insurance
  • 403(b) retirement contribution up to 3% of salary, upon employee contribution of 3% or more
  • Professional development and networking opportunities

MountainTrue values and respects all types of diversity and strongly encourages applicants from traditionally marginalized groups to apply. We prohibit discrimination and harassment and provide equal employment opportunity without regard to, and not limited to, ethnicity, religion, race, national origin, abilities, gender identity, age or genetic information. We are committed to recruiting, hiring and promoting those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

How to Apply:
You may submit an application by email to Bob Wagner at wagner@mountaintrue.org. Your application should include: 1) a response to the questions below; 2) your resume; and 3) three references. Please include “Creation Care Alliance, Director position” in the subject line. Do not include any other documents.

In the email please answer the following questions using no more than 400 words per response:

  1. What does creation care mean to you?
  2. Why are you interested in the position, and in this region, and why would you be a good fit?
  3. What strategies might you use to expand the program across the region especially in underserved communities?

Application deadline: May 5, 2021

Earth Day Vigil- Save the Date—

Join us via ZOOM on Sunday, April 25, 6pm.  

Although we are unable to gather in person again this year, we are excited to host a virtual Earth Day Vigil in celebration of Earth Day. The vigil will be focused around the idea of loving people and place and will include readings, prayers, songs, and information about creation care from speakers from throughout Western North Carolina. The vigil will run from 6-7:15pm and regional breakout rooms 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. 

BOOK STUDY- All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

CCA is excited to host an “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis”  Circle series for those seeking to discover, explore and participate in meaningful conversation about climate change and climate action.   The All We Can Save anthology offers a range of perspectives on understanding and responding to the climate crisis from the unique vantage point of a diverse collection  of women authors.  Over a six week period, we will meet via ZOOM and discuss selected works from this exceptional anthology.  We hope that you will join us for this opportunity for conversation, connection, and collaboration. 

We will meet on 6 Thursdays April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6 and 13th from 7-8pm Eastern Time. 

Book Study is Full-  Try joining our Earth Day Vigil or an Eco Grief Circle if that is of interest.  Let us know if you would like to be on a waiting list. 

Creation Care Symposium Set for January 28-29

Sacred Lands, Sacred Bodies; Faithfully Caring for People and Place. 
 
Thursday, January 28 – Friday, January 29
Morning and afternoon ZOOM sessions will be offered each day with times and details to be announced soon
 
Our time together will include some connection with like minded neighbors, lay leaders and clergy, prayer and ritual, stories of creation care and resilience from congregations practicing right relationship and practical steps for caring for our neighbors and the earth. We will include time for regionally based brainstorming and discussion.  Whether you’re new to creation care or a long-time advocate, you’ll gain new language and tools to inspire your congregation to care for the environment and each other, interwoven with space for relationship, and prayer.
Workshops will include: 
Solar 101 for Congregations
Sarah Ogletree, NC Interfaith Power and Light and Eliza Stokes, MountainTrue
Sacred Lands (food, trees, land and faith)
Emma Childs, Christmount Conference Center, Rev. Anna Shine, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Justin Goldstein, Yesod Farm+Kitchen,  Rev. Laura Beach Byrch, Boone United Methodist Church, Bob Gale, MountainTrue Public Lands Director, Lianna Costantino, Cherokee Story teller, Medic and Teacher
Next Steps in Creation Care
Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, Creation Care Alliance
Eco-Justice/Eco Racism
Jacqui Patterson, Environmental and Climate Justice Director, NAACP
Climate Change 101
Deke Arndt and Rev. Kevin Bates
Eco/Climate Grief Circles
Connie Burns, Sacred Paths Counseling and Sarah Ogletree, NC Interfaith Power and Light
Our part of the Covenant: Congregations, Disasters and the Climate Crisis
Rev. Carol Divine, Green Chalice, Rev. Caroline Hamilton-Arnold, Week of Compassion and Rev. John Frey Hewlett Packard Enterprises
Seeds for Congregational Action- Conversation with Green Teams and congregations doing creation care in Western North Carolina.  
 
Cost:  $20 Per person OR $15 per person if registering with a group of 4 or more from the same congregation or organization. Your registration fee will give you access to multiple workshops, plenary sessions, accompanying resources and the wisdom of your colleagues.
If you would prefer to pay with a check, please contact Susan Bean at susan@mountaintrue.org or call 828-252-8671.
Scholarship or reduced cost registrations are available, contact Scott@creationcarealliance.org to inquire.

Register here https://secure.everyaction.com/3EXokT2WB0iPPS2q_bLKGQ2

Mountain Sabbath Option: If you would like to take a night or two away to make more space for yourself and/or your team consider going somewhere outside of your home, office, school or care.  If you are able you may want to stay in the woods somewhere, ZOOM with us for a few hours a day and take the rest of the day to hike, rest or rejuvenate.

Christmount Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC has offered lodging at a discounted nightly rate for those interested. Lodging at Christmount in the Guest House Rooms

$60 / night–Each room has 2 queen beds, private bath, microwave, and a mini fridge.

To reserve a room or ask questions call 828-669-8977         check it out online at www.christmount.org
 
CCA Symposium Speakers 2021

Winter Eco-Grief Circle Dates Announced

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. 

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