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Wilderness and Wild Landscapes:
NCC Eco-Justice focus in 2006 

Washington, December 21, 2005 – Wilderness is one of earth’s most precious and most threatened assets, and the call to preserve it will be among the National Council of Churches USA Eco-Justice Program’s top issues for 2006.

The NCC Public Lands Stewardship Initiative has announced plans to focus on “Wilderness and Wild Landscapes” for its second year and conduct activities that are based on the importance of wilderness in Christianity and other faith traditions.

“Wilderness was central to the spiritual journeys of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad and in the creation stories of many cultures,” said the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary. “Today public lands are important to many of us as a venue for peaceful reflection and reconnecting with the Creator.”

“Wild lands are also the connective tissue that holds together the glorious web of life by providing space for wildlife and undisturbed natural cycles," said Christine Hoekenga, NCC Lands Specialist. "But God’s gift of wilderness is increasingly threatened by our swelling cities, growing highways, and increasing demand for resources like oil, gas, timber, and minerals.  In light of this, we are called to remember and celebrate our Biblical heritage and examine our modern relationships to wilderness.”

Second year activities planned for the NCC’s Public Lands Stewardship Initiative include:

w exploring the Biblical importance of wilderness and its implications for the state of modern wild lands in the United States

w creating a theological study guide on the wilderness and wild places

w engaging individuals and congregations in discussion and action to protect wild lands and wilderness near their communities

w stirring dialogue among religious educators on the role of wilderness in our religious heritage and modern life

w training people of faith in skills for advocacy and outreach on wilderness issues

w focusing on engaging youth and emerging leaders within their faith communities in these activities

A copy of Rooted in God’s Word and Lands, a free guide for study and action on land stewardship from the NCC, can be downloaded here.

Contact:  Cassandra Carmichael, 202-544-2350,
or Christine Hoekenga, 202-544-2350

Also contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350

Picture: View in the Kaaterskill Cove (oil on canvas), Harriet Cany Peale, 1858


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