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Spring event will focus on ?Caring for God’s Creation’

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The Rev. Jimmy Carr
Feb. 24, 2006

By United Methodist News Service* 

A training event in April will help churches and individuals respond to an often-overlooked area of stewardship, yet one that has roots in Genesis: The call to care for the earth and its resources.

The event, “Caring for God’s Creation,” will be April 20-22 at the Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center. It is open to “anybody who’s interested in caring for the earth,” said Loy Lilley, event coordinator and Good Word Resource Center director at Lake Junaluska.

The early bird registration deadline has been extended to March 1.

“In a time when many are complacent about the environment, a new emphasis can assist the church in taking leadership,” said Jimmy L. Carr, executive director for the United Methodist Church’s Southeastern Jurisdiction, with offices in Lake Junaluska. “Local church members will learn effective ways of being stewards of creation, allowing them to be the best disciples possible.”

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Loy Lilley

“The earth is our home,” Lilley said, “and we need to learn how to take better care of that home given us by God.”

The event is sponsored by the United Methodist Women of the Southeastern Jurisdiction, the Ministry Team of the Southeastern Jurisdiction and the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. People and churches from any of the United Methodist Church’s other geographical areas are welcome, Lilley said.

This is the first of what will be multiple events focused on stewardship of the earth. “We’re looking at care of the earth so that it can be more sustainable, and we’ll be moving next year to what we can do (about) the causes of what’s happening to the earth,” Lilley said.

Eleven workshops (each offered three times) will cover such subjects as sustainable agriculture, earth care and Christian spirituality, simpler living, earth care and Bible basics, political advocacy, practical ideas for saving energy, and saving water.

Climate change will be one of the issues addressed. “There are those scientists who say, ?Don’t worry about it, it’s just a cyclical thing and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Lilley said. “It’s happened before and it’s going to happen again, so don’t worry about it.’”

However, he said, if you live on an island in the Pacific, where the water level is rising, or if you live in Greenland, where the glaciers are melting, you are concerned, he said. News reports this month have stated that Greenland’s glaciers are melting at a more rapid rate than previously believed.

Keynote speakers will include:

  • Tom W. Mann, a United Church of Christ minister who at one time taught Hebrew Bible at Princeton Theological Seminary. His most recent book is God Of Dirt: Mary Oliver And The Other Book Of God.
  • The Rev. Miriam Burnett, vice chairperson of the National Council of Churches USA’s Justice and Advocacy Commission. She is a practicing physician and associate minister at Victory AME Church in Atlanta.
  • Bishop Kenneth Carder, professor of pastoral education at United Methodist-related Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. Carder served as the leader of the United Methodist Church’s Tennessee and Mississippi annual (regional) conferences.
  • Freeman Owle, a Cherokee storyteller and speaker.
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The Rev. Miriam Burnett

Participants also will learn about resources available in local areas, and how to develop a Creation Care Ministry at the annual conference, district and local church levels.

The early bird fees are $65 for an individual and $175 for a team of three. After March 1, the fee increases to $85 and $195, respectively.

More information is available at Click on “Events Calendar” and then “Caring for God’s Creation.” Details are also available by calling Lilley at (828) 454-6750.

*This story was compiled with information from Tom Nankervis, Tennessee Annual Conference coordinator of communications, Cintia Furtado, Southeastern Jurisdiction communications specialist, and United Methodist News Service reporting.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

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