Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina

Earth Day Sunday Resources

April 22nd will be the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

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.”

Earth Day Sunday Experiences on April 19th or 26th.

MULTI-FAITH EARTH DAY SERVICE
Sunday, April 19, 2020 | 2:00pm
Washington National Cathedral

Creation Care Alliance Earth Day Vigil
Sunday, April 26, 2020 | 6:00pm
Virtual experience with a variety of voices. Register Here. 

Faith Climate Action Week with Interfaith Power and Light

Find local congregations offering worship online here. 

Earth Week Days of Prayer for our Climate with Interfaith Power and Light April 20-24

Earth Day Sunday Worship Resources

Creation Justice Ministries Liturgies

Season of Creation-Designed for the fall “Season of Creation” but offers many good resources.

Earth Ministries 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.

2017-A-Liturgy-for-Earth-DayByron Forester

Hymns and Songs for Creation Care

Creation-Centered-Hymns IPL
Creation Care Hymns and Songs:from Earth Ministries and Presbyterian Church

Resources regarding Environmental Justice

United Church of Christ-One-stop EcoJustice Research site

NAACP Climate Justice Resources

Eco-Challenge Team 2020- Join us

This month we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!  We recognize that we are in the midst of collective trauma and chaos. However, if you are able and interested in joining us as we focus on individual ecological and social actions that add up please consider joining the Creation Care Alliance Eco-Challenge team. We still have about 24 days left of the challenge and would love for you to join us.  Join us here. 

I have 73 points so far but I am starting to get the hang of it.  Also, we are excited to share that Asheville High School is the TOP RANKED TEAM out of over 600 teams globally.

If you want to learn more about the Eco-Challenge you can watch this short video.

 

Peace,
Scott Hardin-Nieri

Couch Church- Seeking the Sacred

A week ago today, my disheveled family gathered on the couch with coffee and breakfast tacos in hand.  I did not have high expectations at all for online worship or prayer. We negotiated on what time and which congregation we would tune into since our regular community was not online until later in the evening. It was surreal to see colleagues spread 6-feet apart, to hear music with few voices, and the children’s moment with no children (except mine on the couch). I was distracted at best as I glanced regularly at the screen. Then somewhere between the sacred readings and the sermon, I found myself in the moment. The readings were familiar, the wisdom spoken by the pastor powerful. I was challenged and comforted by prayers and songs. When the courageous congregational leaders spoke the Christian Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” I quietly spoke along with them, then I noticed other couch sitters speaking as well. For a moment, there was a sacred connection within our family, with this scattered faith community, the human family and with God. I may not see it all the time (I probably won’t) but I want to look for those sacred moments more often. Whether on walks, hearing birds (like this post-rain morning), worshipping with a scattered community or seeking to bring wholeness, hope, and compassion in a world that is hurting. May you find ways to seek the sacred.

Find Worship services online-

Get to know your Tree Neighbors

Get to Know Your (Other) Neighbors with the Asheville Tree Map, written by Rhys Burns

Even in this time of social distancing, we are being encouraged to spend time outside as long as we are away from other people.  Learning about the trees or plants in your yard or neighborhood may be a helpful way to learn and grow.  While this map is meant for Asheville you can learn about trees anywhere!

Western North Carolina is well known for our beautiful forests, but the city of Asheville has slowly been losing tree cover over the years.  As development continues, there is great public concern that Asheville lacks a strong tree ordinance to maintain the health of our urban forest.  Thankfully, there are lots of projects underway to try to protect our precious urban trees! One such endeavor is the Asheville Tree Map, an app that allows folks to map the trees in their neighborhood and city, and monitor changes in urban tree density.

The Asheville Tree Map is an initiative of the City’s Tree Commission. Bob Gale, MountainTrue’s Public Lands Ecologist, served on the Asheville Tree Commission for nine years. He was part of the push for the app, and remembers, “Asheville’s Arborist, Mark Foster, asked our Commission if there was a way we could start inspecting and inventorying the city trees. He had neither the capacity nor budget to go beyond simply maintaining, pruning and replacing street trees. Serendipitously, we learned of this tree app that Philadelphia was using and after some researching and tweaking, we made it happen in Asheville. Getting the public engaged through the app makes the task seem less overwhelming and also empowers residents to help protect our urban forest.”  

The treemap is designed to be easy to use.  Users can list a tree with no associated data, or they can add any information they may have, from species to size.  Others can then add in missing data to flesh out this picture of our urban forest.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 1.07.43 PM

A screen shot from the app shows the ability to select a tree (the little green dots) and easily view its species.  Clicking on the banner at the bottom will then show any further recorded information, such as size or date planted.

So far the app has hundreds if not thousands of trees mapped, and provided hundreds of Ashevillians with a chance to get to know a different kind of neighbor.  And even more than identification, the app can estimate ecosystem benefits provided by the tree.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 1.07.53 PM

This large hickory is estimated to save $224 per year- now think about all the trees in town!

While the app has some really cool functionality, it only works if people contribute information.  There are many thousands of trees in Asheville that aren’t yet mapped- meaning they can’t be monitored for changes in our overall canopy.  You can help this effort by marking the trees around you, and it’s a great chance to get to know your botanical neighbors during this time of social distancing.  On your next neighborhood stroll, give it a shot!

Find the app on Google Play or the iTunes App Store.  Registration in the app requires an email address.

Love and humanity during a crisis (COVID-19)

It is clear that “business as usual” has been disrupted by COVID-19 and our reactions to this uncertainty are varied. Many of us have encountered great challenges and yet beauty and compassion remain visible and within reach. I have been reminded by others about the human capacity to practice compassion. Even while being encouraged to practice “social distancing” people at our best can seek to act out of love. While we face this very real threat that is unfolding if we also have a renewed opportunity?  The cost of this disruption is and will be great and will challenge us on every level. This virus presents us with questions of life and death and reveals the inequity of and interconnectedness of our systems. And yet this moment unlike any other moment and just like every other moment offers invitations.

How will I be more human in this moment?   

How will I be more loving in this moment?

Christian Author Richard Rohr puts it this way.  “We must—yes, must—make a daily and even hourly choice to focus on the good, the true, and the beautiful.” 

I am grateful to have already experienced glimpses of this. People from a local congregation delivered flowers of gratitude to people in professions like health care workers, grocers, and social workers. People are distributing food and supplies to neighbors and children, artists like David LaMotte, are offering creative ways to fill our hearts and connect with one another by offering online concerts. Congregations and individuals are checking in on their more vulnerable neighbors and making plans to support them while at a safe distance. You may have a story to share about how love is creatively emerging. 

The Creation Care Alliance and MountainTrue are exploring ways to support you and your congregation in the weeks ahead (ideas are welcome). One way is to share your online worship and wisdom resources with our greater community.

Let us know if you are offering online worship or classes here. 

Find some of the local congregations that are connected to CCA that are offering spiritual connection and care via the web here.   

Congregations can find help with loans through the CARES act.  Learn more HERE. 

We will be postponing many of our gatherings to support community health and the efforts of county, local and national officials.

May wisdom, compassion, light, and peace accompany us as we walk this unmarked trail. 

Grace and Peace,

Scott

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

				
	
	

The Red Wolf, On the Brink- Guest Blog by Christopher Lile

The Red Wolf, On the Brink

By Christopher Lile  Photo by Monty Sloan

Christopher Lile is the Program Coordinator at Wolf Park, the founder of Concerts for Conservation, and a red wolf advocate for Defenders of Wildlife.

A hundred and fifty years ago, the iconic howls of the red wolf echoed across the southeast. These reddish-brown canids lived and traveled in family groups. They kept prey animals in check, which in turn kept forests and rivers healthy. And through these ripple effects, known as trophic cascades, they positively affected the rest of the ecosystem – birds, pollinators, small mammals, and even humans.

Unfortunately, after being subjected to over a century of government-funded extermination campaigns, the red wolf (along with the gray wolf) was nearly driven to extinction. In fact, only 17 red wolves remained by 1980. Fortunately, forward-thinking biologists pulled these individuals into captivity to save the species from extinction. Within 7 years, thanks to the captive breeding program, red wolves were released back into the wild, in eastern North Carolina.

For nearly 30 years, the red wolf recovery program was touted as a conservation success. The population grew to over 150 wolves and set the stage for gray wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone.

“When we first started working with this wolf, he was 99 miles down a 100-mile-long road to extinction.” -Curtis Carley, first FWS red wolf recovery project field coordinator, at a public presentation in 1977

The last six years for the red wolf, however, has been extremely difficult. Due to federal mismanagement and pressure from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the species has once more been pushed to the edge. 

Today, fewer than 15 red wolves remain in the wild

The absence of the red wolf’s iconic howl throughout most of the southeast represents just a small portion of the destruction that humans have caused to our ecosystems. Due to our actions, our earth is beginning to experience a sixth mass extinction event. But instead of an asteroid, humans are instigating this unnatural event. 500 species have faded into extinction in the past 100 years. Over 60 percent of global wildlife populations have disappeared in the last 50 years. And more than 16,000 plant and animal species currently reside on the endangered species list.

The responsibility for this catastrophe transcends national borders, political spectrums, and religious ideologies. We all must step up and take action. Because whether you are an ecologist or a pastor, all life in our world is connected. We cannot destroy wildlife and ecosystems without destroying ourselves.

Confronting this crisis is daunting but we can all be a voice for the voiceless. And for the red wolf, they need a voice now more than ever.

If you would like to learn more about the red wolf and support conservation efforts, please attend the second annualConcert for Conservation. March 29th at 4:00pm at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville.

Good News from the Creation Care Retreat

The Creation Care Regional Retreat Feb. 7-8, 2020 offered powerful connections and resources.

The group that gathered on Friday received care, conversation, good food, and intellectual nourishment.  With the clergy, we explored ways of collectively offering hope and dancing with despair in the midst of ecological and social challenges.  Theologian, Emily Askew, Climate Scientist, Deke Arndt, and Food Jedi, Emma Childs wove a powerful afternoon for the clergy and faith leaders present.

The weaving of grace, wisdom, and care continued on Saturday and when the first of about 130 people entered the Anderson Auditorium for the delicious breakfast we were astounded at the distance traveled by these passionate leaders; Nashville, Boone, Tryon, Waynesville, Charlotte, Durham, Orlando, Greensboro, Hendersonville, and parts of Kentucky.  Over 30 congregations from about 10 denominations were represented for the day of teaching, learning, and connecting.  Deke, Emily, and Emma returned and were among 15 practitioners and wise ones sharing stories and guidance.

Dr. Emily Askew, Associate Professor of Theology at Lexington Theological Seminary
Deke Arndt, Climate Scientist
Rev. Carol Devine, Pastor and Green Chalice Innovator
Rev. Kevin Bates, Pastor and Forest Church Planter
Connie Mitchell, St. Eugene Catholic Church
Vicki Ransom, St. Eugene Catholic Church
Rhys Burns, MountainTrueForest Keeper
Karim Olaechea, Communication Director
Marian Arledge, E.D. WNC Health Network
Catie Morris, Social Media advisor and registrar
Judith Phoenix, St. Lukes Episcopal Church, Boone
Dave Walker Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture
Amanda Hege Second Harvest Food Bank & St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Blowing Rock
Rev Anna Shine, Holy Cross Episcopal Church Valle Crusis
Mary Anne Inglis,A’Rocha- Children and Youth Ministry Educator
Sarah Ogletree,  NCIPL Program Coordinator and climate advocate
Eliza Stokes, Climate and Energy Policy Advocate
Scott Hardin-Nieri, Director of Creation Care Alliance and Green Chalice Assoc. Minister

Our workshop topics included

    • Hope in times of challenge
    • Creating and Sustaining a Creation Care team
    • Discerning next steps for Creation Care
    • Food and Faith
    • Faithfully Exploring Solar
    • Loving your neighbor: Environmental Justice and Climate
    • Children, nature, and ministry
    • Communication for change (Social Media and print media storytelling and advocacy)

We are so grateful for our supporters, Wake Forest School of Divinity Food, Health and Ecological Wellbeing Program, NC Council of Churches, Green Chalice, Montreat, and MountainTrue.