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Conference focuses on faith-based environmental stewardship

Thursday, April 23, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Anyone looking to recycle old microwaves, cell phones and other electronic devices can bring them to the Show-Me Creation Care Conference from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Community United Methodist Church, 3301 W. Broadway. Recycling is just one way the faith-based conference will offer the community opportunities to help the environment.

“Aside from science, it’s our faith and wanting to be good stewards that drives us,” said Carol Oliver, a conference organizer. The event is sponsored by the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and receives funds from the Creative Ministries, Global Connections and Social Justice teams. The conference was first held in 2007 under the name Eden Summit.

“We believed in the cause, but before we taught others, we wanted to grow our knowledge base a little bit,” Oliver said. A training session was held in Arkansas in order to prepare for this year’s Show-Me Creation Care Conference.

The conference is open to people of all faiths, conference organizer Terri Williams said. One of the goals of the event, she said, is to cultivate a desire in people to work together to protect nature.

“Each of us can do something,” Williams said. “But the real impact comes when all of us work together.”

Williams said a workshop presented by a resident of Dancing Rabbit ecovillage, a Missouri community that produces its own electricity from solar panels and wind generators, could help emphasize the power people have when they work with each other.

Other workshops include sessions for conference participants who want to simplify their lives and find ways they can have a "greener," or more environmentally conscious, church.

The keynote speaker for the event is the Rev. Pat Watkins, who will talk about Scripture referencing the safekeeping of the environment. One example is Genesis 2:15, which reads, “The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it.”

The conference kicks off Friday with a stream clean-up, Williams said. People are encouraged to meet at 3:45 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church to caravan to the clean-up spot. Williams said participants should be prepared to get their feet wet.

At 7 p.m. Friday, Circle of Friends, a Christian-based musical group, will perform a free concert at the church. For more information or to register for the conference, go to umocm.com/creationcare.htm.


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