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1999 NCC News Archives

Armenian Orthodox "Blessing of the Fields" Service on a Landfill
Will Highlight "Environmental Ministries in the Church" Conference

NCC Event to be Held May 13-16, North Park College, Chicago, Ill.
Worship Service on Land O'Lakes Landfill, 122
nd & Stony Island: May 15, 5 p.m.

WHAT: "Christ Is In Our Midst," an ecumenical conference on environmental justice ministries in the church in the 21st century, sponsored by the National Council of Churches (NCC). The four-day event will explore the way the church can work on behalf of creation through: Tours of environmental degradation and responses to it in the Chicago area; worship services from different Christian traditions; presentations such as "Environmental Degradation in Racial/Ethnic and Poor Communities," and workshops on a broad range of issues, including eco-justice and the Bible, working with children on environmental justice issues, practical ideas for energy conservation in the church and using the Internet for organizing congregations on environmental issues.

WHO: 270 environmental justice leaders from mainline Protestant, historic African American and Orthodox communions throughout the country.

WHEN: May 13 (3 p.m.) - May 16 (1 p.m.)

WHERE: Most of the event will take place at North Park College, Foster and Kedzie Avenues (5200 north and 3200 west). On Saturday, May 15, starting at 1 p.m., participants will split into two groups for two different tours, one to the West Side of Chicago and the other to the Southeast Side, to view environmental degradation and responses to it. Both tours will meet at the Land O'Lakes landfill, 122nd and Stony Island (Southside Chicago) at 5 p.m. on Saturday for an Orthodox Worship Service and the ancient Armenian Orthodox "Blessing of the Fields" rite.

WHY: "This is a gathering of people who know that caring for the environment and all of creation is a religious issue," said the Rev. Richard Killmer, NCC Environmental Justice Director. "We're going to celebrate a very ancient Armenian tradition on top of a landfill to say in a visual way that the church is responding to this major concern in our nation and in our world."

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