Glimpses of Creative Resistance

by Rev. Rob Mark

(Excerpted from Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice)

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…

Click here to read more about why Rev. Rob Mark is involved in The Eco-Stewards Program.

Click here to apply for our 2013 Eco-Stewards Portland, Oregon Program: June 1-8, 2013

Eco-Stewards bracelet power!
Eco-Stewards bracelet power!
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More Summer Internships!

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.

Montana 2011 Eco-Stewards Program

The Bighorn River, as viewed from Greenwood Farm on the Crow Reservation

Join us June 2-9, 2011 as we explore the connections between faith and environmental stewardship along the banks of the Bighorn River in southeastern Montana. We will camp in tents and tepees at Greenwood Farm, a 40-acre organic farm on the Crow Reservation, just outside of Hardin, MT.

Through discussions with environmental experts, local farmers, doctors and tribal leaders, we will consider how communities can achieve sustainability and reconciliation through better agriculture, health care and green building practices. Our exploration of these issues will include lectures, community gatherings, field excursions, hands-on project work, creative worship, and sharing of personal passions and vocational discernment. While paddling the Bighorn and hiking in the Sand Rocks, participants will have time to absorb the region’s powerful landscape while reflecting on their own eco-life journeys.

The Eco-Stewards Program, formerly known as the Presbyterian Conservation Corps,  is open to young adults (ages 20-30) who are looking for education and training in environmental stewardship from a faith perspective.

Participants may choose to follow up the week-long program with a paid summer internship at one of several sites, including: Greenwood Farm in Montana; one of several Presbyterian churches in West Virginia; or one of several Presbyterian Church (USA) camps around the country. These Eco-Stewards Interns will put their skills into action through a variety of projects such as planting organic gardens, building green structures, designing and implementing “greening” plans for camps, or creating an eco-stewardship curriculum for campers.

Among others, the program’s leadership will include: Rev. Rob Mark of Harvard University’s Memorial Church and First Presbyterian Church of Waltham, Massachusetts; Dr. David Mark, MD of Crow/Northern Cheyenne IHS Hospital and Bighorn Valley Health Center; and Becky W. Evans, a freelance environmental journalist and communication professor at Boston University and Lasell College.

To apply, email Rev. Rob Mark at robfirstpres@gmail.com