The National Council of Churches is partnering with the Committee on Outdoor Ministries to call on faith-based camps and conference centers in the United States to sign onto a pact agreeing to treat the environment with respect.
Participating camps and conference centers are asked to make decisions about how to use their land while keeping in mind the "sacred nature" of God's creation; to conserve energy and water; to recycle waste; to purchase environmentally sustainable products; and to continue to educate those who use the camps and conference centers about the preciousness of nature they are experiencing.
"Camp and conference centers have a unique role to play in the protection of, and education about, God's Creation," said Jordan Blevins, assistant director of the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches. "This covenant gives them the opportunity to put words and commitments to the values many of them have been living out for generations, and to be recognized for and supported in doing so."
The Committee on Outdoor Ministries has long made creation care one of its top priorities. It believes that outdoor, natural settings provide "space and time to encounter God, others, and creation," according to its theological mission statement.
Jeff Puhlmann-Becker, chair of the Committee on Outdoor Ministries said the covenant was developed with the hope that a wide variety of participants would sign on as individuals and groups.
"For example, a specific camp board might adopt and sign this covenant. At another camp, a small group of campers and their leaders might spend the week exploring care for God's creation and choose, as a small group, to sign this covenant," said Puhlmann-Becker.
At the annual gathering of the Committee on Outdoor Ministries this week in Live Oak, Fla., its members unanimously approved of the covenant and signed onto it to show their support.
On the Web: www.nccecojustice.org/campcovenant.html