Wilderness Preservation, Care to be a Top Issue for NCC in 2006

Creation care and preserving the wilderness will be among the National Council of Churches USA’s top issues for 2006.

The ecumenical body announced through its Public Lands Stewardship Initiative on Wednesday that it plans to focus on “Wilderness and Wild Landscapes” for the second year in a row.

"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."

The announcement came as the U.S. Senate blocked an attempt to open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling. The NCC has rallied against arctic drilling in the past.

Some activities planned for 2006 include: exploring the Biblical importance of wilderness, creating a theological study guide on the wilderness, engaging individuals and congregations in discussion and action to protect wild lands near their communities, training people for advocacy and outreach on wilderness issues, focusing on engaging youth and emerging leaders in these activities.