GA 2010: Ufford-Chase on earth care: “Defy all conventional wisdom about what is possible”

The work of seeding a movement of change in building up all of God’s creation has begun to build into a movement, Rick Ufford-Chase told the annual luncheon of the Presbyterians for Earth Care today (July 6). “I see the signs all around me that what has been on the fringes of respectability has moved to the center of our life as a denomination,” he said.[caption id="attachment_21957" align="alignright" width="288"]Bob Stivers receives the William Gibson Award at the Presbyterians for Earth Care luncheon. Photo by Erin Dunigan.[/caption]

Ufford-Chase is executive director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and co-director of Stony Point Center. He was moderator of the 216th General Assembly.

“The most important thing that every one of us in the room can do is to go home and do the work in our own communities,” he said. He urged the gathering to “commit to a place and settle in for the long haul — dig in and act like you mean it.”

Ufford-Chase also challenged participants, in working for creation care, to “defy all conventional wisdom about what is possible,” arguing that conventional wisdom is dead wrong. “God’s people have always been able to do everything they can possibly imagine,” he pointed out. “With God’s help, together, we can make a difference.”

The luncheon also focused on honoring persons who have made such a difference.

The William Gibson Award was presented to two recipients this year, Bob Stivers and Kristina Peterson. The award, given in honor of William Gibson who was a Presbyterian minister, theologian and ethicist, seeks to recognize those who care for the earth, issues of hunger, energy, lifestyle, peacemaking and sustainable work.

Bob Stivers, recently retired professor of religion from Pacific Lutheran University, was honored for his work in ethics and eco-justice, including authoring several books on Christian environmental ethics.

Kristina Peterson, pastor of Blue Bayou Church. — who is called the “Mother Jones of disasters” — was recognized for her work against exploitation of people and the environment.

The Restoring Creation Award was presented to North Como Church in Roseville, Minn. Rev. Chaz Ruark, Executive Presbyter of the Twin Cities described North Como as a “wonderful congregation of warm caring people who truly understand the responsibility we all have as stewards of creation.”

Carole Rust, the chair of the Environmental committee from North Como accepted the award on the church’s behalf. “We want to accept this as a challenge to do more as quickly as we can because creation care is central to our faith,” said Rust. “When we passionately and enthusiastically work together we can make a huge difference in our lives and our world.”