We’re happy to share that we’ve received some wonderful applicants for our upcoming Seattle Eco-Stewards Program in June!
We can admit a few more candidates, so please keep spreading the word to young adult leaders in your midst!We’ve extended our application deadline to April 13.
Our focus this year will be on Creativity and Power: Theological Reflection and Action on Climate Change. Please be in touch with Rev. Rob Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.Here is a link to the 2016 application.
The April 1st deadline for Eco-Stewards Seattle is quickly approaching and we need your help recruiting some young adult leaders (ages 20-30) to participate in this amazing program that will focus on creativity, climate change and theological reflection on Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for the environment. Applications are due April 1 and some financial aid is available to help with travel expenses. Better yet, help us by sponsoring a young adult to attend the program! Download the the 2016 application. Email email@example.com with any questions.
Sometimes, upon waking, the weight of a wounded planet is palpable. We are beset by extreme weather events that continue to raise high the warning flags of the new normal that is climate chaos—and by a shamefully decreased political will to be the least bit prophetic (or at least responsive). It is enough to stymie even the most hopeful person who claims faith in the Author of Hope. And often, even the best efforts from forward thinking churches, who regularly weave in all-things eco, don’t seem to be enough to curb the tides of depressed inactivity.
We are overwhelmed into inertia.
This is why I wear an Eco-Stewards bracelet year-round.This simple shock cord, given to each participant in the program, reminds me there are people engaged in moments (if not movements) of creative resistance. It reminds me that the antidote to this inertia is regular exposure to stories of creative, alternative, grace-laced community resistance to the broadly accepted myth of consumption paradise and fossil fuel inevitability. These stories point to simple moments of localized change we can believe in—and begin to embody. Sharing such stories should become a valued spiritual discipline.
Since its humble yet energized inception in 2006, the Eco-Stewards Program has been striving to create such forums for a growing community of shock-chord bracelet-ed souls. And it remains a true antidote against cynical stagnation for me: a fluid, constructed theology of grace that encourages engagement.
Here are the basics: the Eco-Stewards Program is a Christian community responding to God’s call through applied eco-stewardship. It seeks to educate, train, and inspire young adults (ages 20–30) in the ways of eco-stewardship within the wider context of Christian faith. The program shares roots in and draws partial support from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Environmental Ministries, Presbyterians for Earth Care, and the Presbyterian Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA). The overarching goal of this grass-roots initiative is to help young adults connect and share their passions for faith and environmental stewardship through participation in place-based learning programs that explore how faith communities are responding to challenges from climate change to mountaintop coal removal. During these week-long programs, eco-stewards spend time reflecting upon and sharing personal eco-faith journeys, taking part in a hands on eco-project, exploring the outdoors, playing music, and experiencing worship together. Paid summer internships are also offered. Composting toilets and used tire earth-ships have been built; urban gardens have been visited; and numerous conversations with eco-faith-practitioners have been enjoyed…
Greetings to all! We are excited to announce specific plans for our June 2013 Eco-Stewards Program in Portland, Oregon: Connectional Urban Living as Creative Response. We are eager to recruit a new crop of Eco-Stewards (Ages 20-30), so please help us spread the word by sharing the link to this blogpost with any young adults who care deeply about faith and environmental stewardship. You can find more information about the program below:
Connectional Urban Living as Creative Response
Portland, Oregon: June 1-8, 2013
This place-based learning program for young adults (ages ~20-30) will consider how people of faith in the Portland area are responding in creative ways to environmental challenges such as climate change (Oregon coal export controversy), food inequality and urban sprawl. We will spend the week exploring the city by foot, bike and public transport as we visit farmer’s markets, ecumenical partnerships, co-housing communities, food cooperatives and farms. Along the way, we’ll meet with community organizers, city planners, church leaders and environmental activists to discuss how they are laying connectional roots to build a sustainable urban community. During the week, we will also take time to reflect on our individual eco-faith journeys while staying at Menucha Retreat & Conference Center and hiking and recreating in the Columbia River Gorge and foothills of Mt. Hood in the Cascades. For more information, contact Rev. Rob Mark: firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Deadline: Applications still being accepted this week, so apply ASAP. (Rolling admission).
Happy Earth Day from The Eco-Stewards Program! With Earth Day falling on Earth Sunday, it’s a perfect day to be thinking about the intersection of faith and environmental stewardship. It’s also a great day to promote our five summer internships at PCUSA camps and organic farms around the country– please spread the word to anyone who might be interested in spending a summer harvesting organic crops, designing composting and recycling programs and educating youth about the connections between faith and food. Click here for more info about the internships.
And finally, check out this article about how Presbyterians– including our own Rebecca Barnes-Davies, Associate for Environmental Ministries for the Presbyterian Church, USA and Diane Waddell, moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care– are addressing climate change from carbon neutral policies to solar-powered churches. Our West Virginia Eco-Stewards should recognize Robin Blakeman of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, who is also quoted in the article. We have Eco-Stewards West Virginia Program Leader Heather Lukacs to thank for pointing us to this very comprehensive article published by the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media. Read the article here.
The Eco-Stewards Program is happy to announce four wonderful summer internship opportunities working at organic gardens and farms around the country.
Love gardening? Camp Albermarle in Bogue Sound, North Carolina is looking to hire a paid intern who will maintain their new camp garden, start a composting and vermicomposting program, and create environmental education programming. Read more here.
Love farming? Camp Holmes in Holmes, New York is looking for an intern to help with the camp’s new sustainable farm project. The paid intern will harvest produce, care for farm animals, tend composting and vermicomposting, plan environmental education activities and more. Learn more here.
Love Montana? Greenwood Farm in Hardin, Montana near Crow Indian Reservation is offering an unpaid summer internship for someone with a passion for sustainable, organic farming in a Christian community. The intern will help with a variety of farm projects from fence building to weed control to free-range poultry to harvesting and stacking hay and much more. This position also provides opportunities for community service at a homeless day center, community garden and a new community health center. Read more here.
Love Nebraska? Calvin Crest Camp in Fremont, Nebraska wants to hire a paid summer intern to create activities for campers to get involved with the new camp garden. The goal is to get campers thinking about how the food they eat connects to their work in the garden. The intern will also build a sustainable composting program for the camp and encourage community involvement in the garden. Learn more here.
Love New Jersey? Johnsonburg Presbyterian Center in rural northwest New Jersey is looking for a intern to tend the camp garden and create composting and recycling systems. Read more here.
Can’t commit to an internship? Then join our week-long Eco-Stewards Program in June and meet other young adults who are passionate about connecting faith and environmental stewardship in practical ways. Our theme this year is Climate Change & Christian Activism, June 2-9 program in Boston & Vermont. Click here for more info.
Thanks to everyone who took time to take our program evaluation survey! We got some incredible feedback about previous weeklong programs and internships. We’ve included just a few of the great responses below, and it gives anyone, past participants or newly interested applicants, insight into this meaningful and transformative program.
“I received some much-needed encouragement. I somehow manage to find myself in situations where people do not see the connections between earth and faith that I see–or situations where people simply don’t care about the earth. It is easy to let the loneliness turn into an impediment. The Eco-Stewards program & the internship, too, helped me not just realize, but experience that I am part of a larger network of people trying to make a difference around them in small ways and large ways. That experience still keeps me going, two years later.” Response to: Was your personal faith or religious belief(s) changed or impacted during the week? If so, in what way(s)?
“I think my desire to integrate faith with environmental concern was greatly supported by this program and the participants in it during a critical time. Hearing the stories of others and seeing the variety of ways in which people were engaging this subjects was deeply encouraging as well as thought and action provoking.” Response to: Was your personal faith or religious belief(s) changed or impacted during the week? If so, in what way(s)?
“The time spent listening to each others’ stories, working in small and large groups, making music. So good to hear the perspectives from such a diverse group of people.” Response to: Of all the activities and experiences you encountered during your week, what was the most meaningful part for you? Why?
“Your actions and choices have an impact. Your care for the earth is right and just. Applying and sharing what you learned is the ripple in the pond that will make change. Prayer is important in all of these issues.” Response to: “What was the most important idea you took away from your Eco-Stewards experience?”
“I found the welcoming and ecumenical nature of the eco-stewards program to be particularly relevant to the current needs of our often divided society. I also found the presenters to be thoughtful and insightful as they engaged a variety of topics. The focus at the end on discerning one’s own specific calling in relation to faith and the environment was a particularly good way to integrate the activities of the week with the specific context of one’s life.” Response to: Any additional comments?