"God made everything ... God is in everything ... Everything is God's."
Holston is ready to welcome a new Outreach/ Advocacy ministry: Creation Care. Just what is Creation Care? "It's not just hugging a tree," says Brenda R. Haymore, chair of Holston's Creation Care Ministry Team. " It's about how we need to be better, faithful environmental stewards of our Father's world. More importantly, how environmental stewardship connects all of us to the earth and all its peoples."
As the United Methodist Council of Bishops in their 2009 Call to Action stated, "We cannot help the world until we change our way of being in it."
On Aug.17, Holston's Creation Care ministry dropped the pebble into the waters by sending each district superintendent and Bishop James Swanson a letter stating Creation Care is ready to take off and asked for prayer and participation from each district. First of all, Creation Care is providing each district office an eco-friendly tip to be placed in each monthly district newsletter, Facebook and twitter websites. The Holston Conference office in Alcoa has also completed measuring their carbon footprint, helping lead the Southeastern Jurisdiction among the other U.S. conferences determining their own carbon footprints.
Holston is excited to announce that Creation Care will be sponsoring a Conference Wide Creation Care Kickoff with the Rev. Pat Watkins as leader/speaker. He serves as the executive director of the Virginia Conference - Caretakers for God's Creation.
"Rev. Watkins is the only creation missionary from the General Board of Global Ministries," says Haymore. "When several of us heard that we had the opportunity for Rev. Watkins to help Holston kick off Creation Care, we jumped, phoned Connectional Ministries and said, 'by all means get him.'"
Now is Holston's pleasure to hear Rev. Watkins in Holston's Conference Wide Creation Care Kick-off in November. We have tried to cover all areas of Holston so that each district can attend the closest to them. These conference-wide workshops will take place in Knoxville, Cleveland and Wytheville districts.
Rev. Watkins will introduce Creation Care from a theological, biblical view. "You can talk all you want about how we throw away an average of 4.3 plastic bottles a day and generate around 5 pounds of trash per person per day in America but we as Christians need to know how and when this destruction started in the Bible," says Watkins. He will also discuss how our environmental stewardship connects us to five areas of focus: Worship, discipleship, mission, evangelism and stewardship.
Rev. Watkins will be in Holston the dates of Nov. 6 - 20. The conference wide events, we are expecting great turnouts. If you would like to have Rev. Watkins speak to a group or meeting, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a booking. As an itinerant missionary, donations are gratefully appreciated.
"We want to begin Holston's Creation Care from the ground up," says Haymore. We want to know 'what are you doing at church and home to be a better environmental steward within God's world?' Some churches have budding Creation Care team ministries while others would like to. We want to share stories from other churches, small and large, and in turn create sparks of interest within other churches."
There are posters available for your church or group to download, in color or black and white. Print these and advertise within your church or group. If you would like someone to speak to your group or are interested to be part of the creation conference team, contact Brenda Haymore.
As Harriet Jane Olsen, Deputy General for the United Methodist Women's division stated: "Green is the new black. But it's much more than a fashion statement; it's a faith statement. May we as God's children and stewards, be found to be faithful."
Sunday, Nov. 13
St. Mark UMC, Knoxville, Tenn.
9 and 11 a.m. worship services
2 - 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 15
First UMC, Cleveland, Tenn.
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20
St. Paul UMC, Wytheville, Va.
3 - 5 p.m.
(Wytheville District Day of Training)