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GA 2010: Earth Care Awards to be presented at luncheon July 6

Since 1997, Presbyterians for Earth Care (formerly Presbyterians for Restoring Creation) has given awards annually to publicly recognize individuals and groups, institutions, and churches for their leadership and accomplishments in caring for God’s creation. Individuals receive the William Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award, and congregations or institutions receive the Restoring Creation Award.

On July 6 during the PEC luncheon at General Assembly, two individuals and a church will receive these awards.

Robert L. Stivers, a pioneer in Christian environmental ethics, and Kristina Peterson, the pastor of Blue Bayou Church and community-based researcher and organizer on disaster preparedness and sustainable communities, will be given the William Gibson award.

Stivers served as chair of the Eco-Justice Task Force that developed the report Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice, a landmark denominational environmental statement that was passed by the General Assembly (GA) of the PC(USA) 20 years ago and will celebrated at the 2010 GA. He is Emeritus Professor of Religion at the Pacific Lutheran University and a retired PC(USA) ordained minister from the Presbytery of Olympia. Stivers’ service to the PC(USA) includes drafting an statement on energy in 1980, Speaking Truth to Power, and work on a new statement and energy and global warming policy, The Power to Change that was passed at General Assembly in 2008. He is the author, editor or co-author of several books on Christian environmental ethics. Stivers puts his values into practice on the on the local level with over 15 years of involvement in efforts to clean up Commencement Bay in Tacoma.

Peterson has served with Church World Service in Presbyterian Disaster Relief and is pastor of a Cajun congregation in coastal Louisiana. She’s also a community-based researcher with the Center for Hazards Assessment Response at University of New Orleans where she is working on a doctorate in Urban Regional Planning. The research community named her the “Mother Jones of Disasters” as she represented the voice of justice both social and environmental, in any approach taken to both mitigate for disasters or respond to disasters. To that end, she and her husband chose to live in a coal community in West Virginia, addressing the devastating issues of exploitation of the people and the environment by such corporations as Massey Coal until Hurricane Andrew brought her to Louisiana, where she began to know, move and minister with the people of the bayous.

North Como Presbyterian Church in Roseville, Minn. will receive the PEC 2010 Restoring Creation Award in recognition of its years of ever-expanding programs and activities that have transformed not only the life of the church, but also the ways in which its members lived their lives outside of church. The congregation’s stewardship of creation also extends into the community, offering neighbors the opportunity to garden on their lot and contribute the fruits of the harvest to the local food pantry. Their eco-justice ministry has even reached abroad, helping the people of Haiti and Africa with food preservation and clean water resourcing. All of their efforts are accompanied by an educational component, assuring that members understand the “why” of earth care in a Christian context.

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