LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – In Eugene Peterson’s The Message, Genesis 1:26 says, “God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself…’” Many Christians have taken this verse as a charge to continually care for our environment and to view the Earth as a responsibility we’ve been given – an opportunity for stewardship even in today’s world. Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is looking to take on this responsibility and further the environmental cause in the local and regional community with its 5th annual Caring for Creation conference. The conference will be held from April 8-11, 2010, and will focus on educating members of the faith community to be good stewards of the Earth.
“Lake Junaluska is continually striving to promote environmental awareness…We are proud to once again offer Caring for Creation, which provides workshops and activities for all who want to protect and preserve the environment for future generations,” says Jimmy L. Carr, Executive Director of Lake Junaluska.
Lake Junaluska also joined the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Green Initiative Project in 2009, whose goal is to encourage businesses and individuals in the community to employ green building, management, and living practices. As a part of the initiative, Lake Junaluska is focused on being energy efficient, recycling, and creating a sustainable environment. These efforts reflect many of Caring for Creation’s core ideas, in that the conference will offer 20 workshops, such as Biblical/Theological Foundations for Creation Care and Mapping Your Ecological Footprint.
In addition to workshops, attendees will have opportunities to participate in on- and off-site tours, which include visits to a solar farm, an oil-to-biodiesel conversion facility, a green home, and the Junaluska Wetlands and Corneille Bryan Native Garden. Guests also have the option of doing a “pre-experience” in which they’ll spend 24 hours in a sustainable environment prior to the conference.
Lake Junaluska is proud to host a number of exceptional speakers, all of whom have a passion for caring for the environment. The plenary speaker is Senator Marc Basnight, President pro-tempore of the North Carolina Senate, who will speak on Friday evening. During his political career, he has demonstrated an enduring concern for the environment, and as such, has worked extensively to promote high environmental standards for his own district and for the entire state. Being raised near the coast and serving in a senate district that includes most of the Outer Banks, Basnight has seen the importance of clean water and its subsequent effect on the community and its economy. To that end, he established the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Clean Water Responsibility Act, which aims to stop river pollution. In addition to these efforts, the Senator has led the effort in the General Assembly to ensure that legislative buildings are a model for energy efficiency, and in 2007, he helped to put in place energy efficiency standards that reduce the use of foreign oil and lower greenhouse gases.
Other speakers include Mr. John Hill, director of Economic and Environmental Justice for the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church; Ms. Pat Callbeck Harper, editor of God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action; Ms. Rita Harris, Regional Organizer for the Sierra Club in Memphis, TN; Mr. Derek Arndt, Chief of Monitoring Board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and others.
On the upcoming conference, Loy Lilley, director of the Lake Junaluska Good Word Resource Center, stated that “this is a very exciting step towards increasing awareness and value of environmental preservation. As we have planned each Caring for Creation experience at Lake Junaluska, our hope has been to have every conference in the Southeastern Jurisdiction represented.”
The General Board of Church and Society has generously given Lake Junaluska a grant in order to provide scholarships for young adults (ages 18-35) to participate in Caring for Creation. The early registration deadline is March 5, 2010. For more information about the conference, workshops, schedules, leadership, and scholarship applications, please visit, www.lakejunaluska.com/caring-for-creation.
Written by: Andie Robbins, Communications Intern