CHRISTIANS FOR THE MOUNTAINS
"The Earth Is The Lord's" Conference
November 11-12, 2005
Friday evening and all day Saturday.
(with optional activities Sunday Nov. 13 for those staying over)
Charleston, West Virginia
Held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church
"The Earth is the Lord's, and all that is in it..." (Psalm 24)
This Conference is to mobilize Christians to spread the message that "The Earth is the Lord's" and therefore we have the privilege and responsibility to take care of God's creation.
This conference will focus on informing Christians on Mountain Top Removal mining, developing spiritual resources, and tapping into church resources that will lead to responsible earthkeeping with respect to mining and other human activities.
Workshops and general meetings are being lined up. Members are invited to suggest topics. Current topics under consideration include:
"Biblical and Theological Resources" will examine scripture, church statements, teachings of acknowledged Christian leaders past and present, and theological concepts, as foundational grounding for the work of Christians For The Mountains and other groups involved in creation responsibility.
"Mountain Top Removal Mining and Christian Ethics" will be a primer on MTR as well as Christian principles on environmental sustainability, social justice, and social prophetic witness. A field visit to a MTR site will be available.
"Regional Issues in Appalachia" will be an overview of the many conservation issues in our region. Topics may include wilderness protection, timbering, water and air quality (such as mercury, acid rain, and smog), species protection, and health and safety. Groups involved in these issues will be welcome to give a short presentation.
"Handling the Objections" will deal with objections to safeguarding the Earth. This topic will include a rebuttal to the oft-repeated objection that environmental protections harm the economy and reduce jobs. Will also delve into theological concerns such as "environmentalists worship nature."
"A Big Tent: How Can Conservatives and Liberals Work Together For God's Creation?" will explore the culture wars, theological issues that divide, and area where common ground is possible.
"Out of State? How Can I help?" will provide strategies for people living outside the Appalachian region on how they can inform and mobilize their churches and denominations on MTR and other environmental concerns of our region. Our goal is for every state as well as every church denomination to have a representative to advocate for this cause.
"Spiritual Impact Statement (SIS)" is a new concept being pioneered by Inga Hagge that Christians For The Mountains could tap into. Taken after the environmental impact statement (EIS) concept, an SIS would take the debate on economy versus environment beyond dollars and cents quantification. The SIS would provide a form to catalog the impact of development on the human spirit and note the psychological and emotional damage that pollution causes........ The idea of the spiritual impact statement would dig deeper than the EIS and examine the way pollution or any assault on the environment adversely impacts people. More>>>
The Conference will also have quality time for worship and prayer, a business meeting of Christians For The Mountains (all are welcome), and time for social engagement and networking. Tables will be set up for organizations to network their programs. A booth to encourage "on-the-spot" letter writing advocacy will be available.
Persons attending are asked to pre-register to enable us to know the approximate size of the gathering. There is no registration fee, however people are welcome to make a contribution. Lodging and meal arrangements will be announced soon. The conference will be at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Charleston, WV. For those coming a long distance, activities will be available for sightseeing on Sunday. We will contact Southwings to see if flyovers are possible, pending weather and participant interest. An onsite visit to a nearby Mountain Top Removal site on Kayford Mountain guided by Larry Gibson will be available.
For more information, or to make suggestions, please email Allen Johnson at:
The message, "The Earth is the Lord's,"is clear. Every preacher, minister, priest, or other spiritual leader has a responsibility to bring this message into their congregations and assemblies. Each layperson needs to act responsibly before God with any property upon which he or she holds a title or investment. And all of us need to advocate for public policy that holds accountable all private and corporate property titleholders to sustain property in a healthy relationship to the larger ecosystem. For property at its most fundamental level belongs to God.
The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all creation. As recorded in Mark 16:15, Jesus commissions his disciples to "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to all of creation." Romans 8:19-23 speaks of creation yearning for "the revealing of the children of God."
The mountains and hills and valleys and streams and air and creatures and people in the southern and central appalachians have for too long been subjected to devastation and exploitation, rather than the nurturing and caretaking God has commissioned humanity to perform (Genesis 2:15).
Mountain Top Removal mining is an especially egregious assault upon creation as it permantly destroys mountain and valley ecosystems and abuses the surrounding human communities for the short-term profit of a few. One of the aspects of this conference will examine Mountain Top Removal mining in the light of Bible scripture and church teaching.
So we go to the mountains to proclaim liberty, life, and healing for the Appalachian communities and ecosystems. Let us gather together to affirm this commitment.