I was walking through the seminary halls the other day when an internship flyer caught my eye. I had missed the deadline, but promptly decided a Google search was in order to make some summer plans. Among other things, I typed in “paid summer internship social justice” and eventually, the “Eco-Stewards Program” caught my eye.
My eyes have looked for the ever-popular “eco” prefix ever since I started graduate school four years ago. My first English class was on literary theory, which was a pivotal class in my life. Literary theory tuned my ears to listen for the silenced voices of the oppressed and to fight against their oppression with my voice. While beginning to appreciate social justice intellectually at divinity school, my faith began to flourish in a way it never had. After what had been much too long, I finally learned how much the Bible cares for social justice.
And in my mind, social justice is eco-justice, so the Eco-Stewards Program filled all the requirements of my Google search. As I read more about the program, I fell in love: community gardening, traveling, writing, taking pictures, the outdoors, people, ecological stewardship and faith. I really look forward to gardening, sharing and selling the fruits of the soil; visiting different churches in the Presbytery and learning how they are “greening” their faith; and finally, bringing this knowledge not only to those who will read my reports, but also to my current and future faith communities, be it back in Maine where I grew up, in South Florida where I attended college, in North Carolina where I am doing Master’s work, or wherever I might travel with the Spirit in the future.
Trevar Simmons is pursuing a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts/English at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. This summer he will serve as an Eco-Stewards intern for Fayetteville Presbyterian Church in West Virginia, ministering and doing outreach to the outdoors community through eco-stewardship and community-building projects, including a community garden and a farmer’s market. Simmons will also serve as the “roving reporter” for the Presbytery of West Virginia’s Stewardship of Creation Ministry team, visiting and reporting on faith-based organizations throughout West Virginia that are engaged in projects to preserve, protect and restore the Earth’s resources.