PEC Conference 2013 – Ethical Earth Care: Keeping Creation Sacred

PEC’s 2013 Ethical Earth Care Conference brought together 100 passionate Creation caretakers to learn, share and worship together at Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center in Little Rock, Arkansas! We were blessed by the presence of many wonderful and inspiring leaders, who have shared the following resources, presentations and links from the conference. Please click on the sections below to explore these resources!
Keynote Speaker
Workshop Session 1
Workshop Session 2
Workshop Session 3
Workshop Session 4
Workshop Session 5
Workshop Session 6
Additional Resources


Click here to view an album of the many wonderful photos that were taken at the conference!

Keynote Speaker: Larry Rassmussen, Th.D.


  • Our worship was led by Rev. Neddy Astudillo, an eco-theologian, a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and a candidate for a D.Min. on Eco-Justice Ministries and Eco-spirituality at Drew University. Our worship reflected on the themes of Earth Care through song and prayer.
    • Earth
    • Water
    • Wind
    • Fire

Thursday: Workshop Session 1

  • Artshop! (Creating and Creation) – Abby Mohaupt
    ArtShop! invited participants to think about artmaking as a way to be in solidarity with creation. Participants worked together to create the plate and chalice for communion later in the conference.
  • Green Ideas for Camps that Can Energize Children, Educate Adults, and Inspire Churches – David Gill
    7 of 10 Presbyterian Elders report that it was at a camp or retreat that they had their most formative spiritual experience.  This workshop lifted up examples we can use to encourage more camps to become centers for Creation care that inspire our churches and members to take further steps down the path of eco-sustainability.

Thursday: Workshop Session 2 

  • Food Sovereignty: Land, Water, Seeds – Andrew Kang Bartlett
    Progress in changing the power dynamic and democratizing our global food system depends on the uniting of movements and the involvement of everyone. This workshop explored how local-global alliances and grassroots organizing have brought together young adults and diverse stakeholders to begin creating change in the food system, often directly challenging corporate practices.
  • Celtic Saints and Earth Care – Rev. Dr. Stan Adamson
    The Celtic Christians of Ireland, Scotland and Northumbria in the 5th-7th centuries CE practiced a unique Christian faith deeply connected to the Earth. This workshop visited, through images, the “thin places” where the Celtic saints lived and worked and shared stories of Saints such as Patrick, Enda, Gobnait, Ciaran, Brigid, Brendan, Columba, and Cuthbert. In Celtic music and prayer, participants considered how worship and service and love of the land and sea provide wisdom for Earth care.
  • Experiencing Green in the Congregation – Rev. Mary Beene
    Based in experiential education models, participants explored experiential aspects of worship, Christian Ed., fellowship, and prayer activities in their own congregations – all with an eye toward how these experiences can shape our understanding of creation care. 
    • Rev Mary Beene recommends exploring the body prayer, meditations and music on the four CD set  “The Body at Prayer” (click here to purchase).

Thursday: Workshop Session 3 

  • Food Sovereignty: Land, Water, Seeds – Andrew Kang Bartlett
    Progress in changing the power dynamic and democratizing our global food system depends on the uniting of movements and the involvement of everyone. This workshop explored how local-global alliances and grassroots organizing have brought together young adults and diverse stakeholders to begin creating change in the food system, often directly challenging corporate practices.
  • Fracking: A Stained Glass Window on the Energy Future and the Human Prospect – Rev. John Preston
    Is hydro-fracking a “bridging technology” to renewable non-green gas producing energy, or a long extension of our carbon based economy?  This workshop explored this technology and its social-environmental and economic impact from the perspective of our Church’s Earth-honoring criteria.
  • Mountain Top Removal Mining – Rev. Katie Preston
    This workshop explored the basics of MTR including sites and impacts on environment and discussed biblical perspectives for why we should support a moratorium/end to MTR from the PC(USA).
  • A Life-Giving Approach to Clean Water and Clean Air Advocacy – Thomas A. Pakurar, Ph.D.
    In this workshop, Tom used lessons from nature and the Precautionary Principle to discuss advocating for life for all of God’s Creation and “zero” pollution. Regulatory hurdles discussed included run-off from farms and new construction, uranium mining, BP Oil Spill, coal mine disasters, and regulatory standards in Europe vs. the USA.
Friday: Workshop Session 4 
  • Contemplating Our Holy Center: Poetry and Presence Part l, Poetry by Mary Oliver – Nancy Corson Carter, Ph.D.
    Participants explored poems by Mary Oliver within a context of quiet meditation, and combined listening to and reflecting upon her work with  time for writing and sharing.
  • Earth Care in Congregations – Rebecca Barnes
    In this workshop, participants learned about the PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation certification program, explored faith-based, eco-justice resources available through PC(USA) and ecumenical partners, heard success stories and learning models from Earth Care Congregations, and learned about a new partnership to simultaneously certify some PC(USA) congregations as GreenFaith Sanctuaries
  • Digging Deep Into Theology; the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, and Noah – Rev. Pat Watkins
    This workshop examined in depth three Old Testament stories, the Garden of Eden story, the Cain and Abel story, and the Noah story to show that by going deep, we will uncover new wisdom in scripture.
    • To explore the themes of this workshop,  Rev. Pat Watkins recommends reading Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture by Ellen Davis (click here to purchase) and The Paradise of God by Norman Wirzba (click here to purchase).
  • Eco-Justice Advocacy: What Can We Do When Congress Isn’t Doing Anything? – Leslie Woods
    Elected leaders throughout our history have urged advocates to build movements in order to achieve their ends – “make it so that I can’t NOT act,” they say.  This workshop centered around strategies for advocacy and movement-building for eco-justice and care of creation.  Do we focus on a strong and proactive EPA or on getting a climate bill? What can we do, as the PC(USA), to build the movement for eco-justice and care of creation?
Friday: Workshop Session 5

  • Contemplating Our Holy Center: Poetry and Presence Part 2, Walking the Labyrinth – Nancy Corson Carter, Ph.D.
    This workshop included a brief general introduction to walking the labyrinth, walking of the Ferncliff labyrinth and period for writing and sharing.
  • Are We Doomed? – Andrew Kang Bartlett
    Taking the local-global food system as our case study, this workshop explored personal and collective approaches to resolving daunting threats to the rights of living beings and the planet. So many questions–What lessons might plants, animals and life itself offer us? Did Christ change everything?
Friday: Workshop Session 6

  • Chemicals and Our Health – Tricia Smith
    Research shows that pregnant women, developing babies, and young children are routinely exposed to chemicals that harm developing brains. The information presented in this workshop educated participants on the current state of affairs regarding toxins our children are exposed to on a daily basis and some things to do about it.
  • Solar Energy in the Developing World – Chris McRae
    Participants learned about forming mission teams to bring sustainable solar power to the developing world, including descriptions of solar training and a power point review of actual installations in Haiti and Kenya.
  • Putting the Community in Community Gardens – Rev. Anne Russ
    The workshop offered several models for gardens that encourage participation in the wider community.
    • Visit the website of People Tree (, a community action and food security organization based in Central Arkansas.
  • Tour of Heifer Ranch
    Heifer Ranch is the 1200 acre educational and demonstration center of Heifer International.  Participants toured the ranch includes and received a general orientation to Heifer’s work in international livestock development, a hayride tour of the ranch, and a walk through their global village hillside. 
Additional Resources

  • Gasland: Gasland is filmaker Josh Fox’s urgent, cautionary and sometimes darkly comic look at the largest domestic natural gas drilling campaign in history, which is currently sweeping the country and promising landowners a quick payoff. Part verité road trip, part exposé, part mystery and part showdown, Gasland follows director Fox on a 24-state investigation of the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing. What he uncovers is mind-boggling: tap water so contaminated it can be set on fire right out of the tap; chronically ill residents with similar symptoms in drilling areas across the country; and huge pools of toxic waste that kill livestock and vegetation.
  • A Sea Change: A Sea Change follows the journey of retired history teacher Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the world’s oceans. After reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Darkening Sea,” Sven becomes obsessed with the rising acidity of the oceans and what this “sea change” bodes for mankind. His quest takes him to Alaska, California, Washington, and Norway as he uncovers a worldwide crisis that most people are unaware of.