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Senate protects millions of acres of public lands
as people of faith voice their support

Washington, January 20, 2009  Ė The newly convened 111th Congress moved quickly to protect millions of acres of Godís Creation, backed by messages from thousands of people of faith.

The Senate passed the Public Land Management Omnibus Act amid more than 1,500 messages of support from people of faith across the country. The legislation will now move to the House of Representatives for final approval.

Included in this legislation was the establishment of new wilderness areas in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, and congressional authorization to the National Landscape Conservation System and protection of some of the finest scenic views, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreational opportunities in the Wyoming Range, both of which included letters of support from numerous national and local faith based organizations, including the National Council of Churches USA.

"Stewardship of the lands and wild places God has entrusted to our care is both a critical part of our call to protect creation and a responsibility shared by all citizens," said Jordan Blevins, Assistant Director of the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches. "If managed conscientiously, public lands help us answer God's call to equality among people by providing shared resources that nurture our communities. In a world broken by strife and pollution, public lands offer beautiful places to heal and invigorate the soul, and can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life for generations to come."

The National Council of Churches, representing 35 communions and 100,000 congregations, has focused on creation care for more than 30 years. Among the highlights of the Councilís eco-justice work are education and worship resources on land stewardship, available at www.nccecojustice.org . 

Organizations supporting the National Landscape Conservation System:

Arizona Ecumenical Council Earth Care Commission
Brethren Witness/Washington Office
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Justice Peace/Integrity of Creation Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches of Christ, USA
Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
Union for Reform Judaism

Organizations Supporting the Wyoming Range:

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches of Christ, USA
Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office
United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Wyoming Association of Churches


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, pjenks@ncccusa.org


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