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NCC Earth Day Sunday 2002 Theme is
"Making the World Safe for Children"

February 7, 2002, NEW YORK CITY -- "Caring for God's Creation: Making the World Safe for Children" is the theme of resources offered by the National Council of Churches for congregational observances of Earth Day Sunday (April 21, 2002).

The resources are available at www.webofcreation.org/ncc/earthday/2002/index.html

"Each year, Earth Day Sunday provides an opportunity to direct our attention to God's creation, our relationship to it and the responsibility God has given to us to tend and to keep it, " said the Rev. Richard L. Killmer, NCC Environmental Justice Director. "This year, worship and study resources focus on children.

"The Biblical visions of a redeemed and restored creation often make special note of the security and well-being of children," he said. "For example, Zechariah has a vision of a restored Jerusalem where old men and women sit on their porches and the city is full of boys and girls playing safely in the streets (Zechariah 8:5.)

"Children are among God's most precious- and most vulnerable, gifts. They are the hope of the future, but theirs is a future threatened by environmental pollution. People of faith are called to work together to help safeguard children's health and their future. We can work together to help make Zechariah's dream a reality, where children play safely in their homes and schools, on their playgrounds, and even in our city streets."

The NCC's 2002 Earth Day Resource Packet was prepared by members of the NCC Eco-Justice Working Group. The resources include:

* "Raising Children Toxic Free," an essay on Children's Environmental Health by the Rev. Shantilal P. Bhagat.  From Elgin, Ill., he is a Church of the Brethren representative to the NCC's Eco-Justice Working Group and author of "Your Health and the Environment: A Christian Perspective." The essay describes children's greater vulnerability to toxins and offers practical action suggestions for families and links to many resources.

* An action alert, urging Congressional support for the School Environmental Protection Act (S. 1716). "SEPA is an important first step toward reducing the exposure of children to potentially toxic environmental hazards in our schools," Killmer said. The action alert was prepared by Eco-Justice Working Group member Jaydee Hanson of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, Washington, D.C.

* Worship resources, with links to additional resources on the Web at www.earthministry.org/earthday.htm and www.webofcreation.org . The worship resources were prepared by the Rev. Sharon Delgado of Santa Cruz, Calif., a United Methodist Church minister.

* An 8-1/2x11" church bulletin insert, prepared by John Paarlberg of the Reformed Church in America, New York City.  The bulletin insert is in PDF version downloadable from the Web at www.webofcreation.org/ncc/earthday/2002/index.html

Through the NCC's Eco-Justice Working Group, representatives from 23 Protestant and Orthodox denominations carry out an extensive program helping people of faith engage in environmental issues. Formed in 1983, the Eco-Justice Group seeks to support and assist denominational and ecumenical work to protect God's Creation. It publishes resource materials for congregations, including the annual Earth Day resource, sponsors biennial conferences for environmental justice leaders, sponsors a Web site -- www.webofcreation.org/ncc/Workgrp.html and has created several programs for the historic black denominations.

The NCC has spearheaded many programs to encourage energy savings, including an "Energy Stewardship Congregation Program," which urges congregations to covenant to make their church buildings and grounds more energy efficient. NCC resources also help church members to write letters, call and make visits encouraging their local, state and national elected officials to endorse a "Clean Energy Agenda."

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