Faith community shares hope for creation leading to Expo '74's 50th
Just after Easter this year, Whitworth University's Office of Church Engagement and St. John's Episcopal Cathedral will host a conference called "Hope for Creation." It is designed to share a vision of hope for creation; showcase local caretakers of land, water and air, and renew Spokane's leadership on environmental care.
As we near the 50th anniversary of Expo '74, we now live with daily news about climate change. We wonder what we can do to preserve the natural environment for our children and their children.
Spokane's Expo '74 was the first world's fair dedicated to the environment. It called attention to environmental issues and helped to shape the consciousness of the Spokane community.
The Hope for Creation Conference on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, at the cathedral, 127 E. 12th Ave., opens with information sharing by local groups who are actively working for harmonious living in our environment.
It's amazing what is happening to clean up the Spokane River, protect backyard pollinators, compost with worms, plant new trees, develop cooperative businesses, expand community gardens, manage wildlife habitat, reduce food waste, turn waste into energy, restore salmon migration and reduce our plastic footprint. There's also a purchaser's guide to environmentally friendly companies.
As part of an Evensong contemplative service on Friday, the Spokane Tribe and Dean Heather VanDeventer will open the program. That evening, Bill Youngs, professor of history at Eastern Washington University and author of The Fair and the Falls, will speak on "Expo '74: The Environment Then and Now." Expo set foundations for care of the air, land and water.
The event will include theological reflection on Saturday with Whitworth theology professor Jonathan Moo speaking on "Creation Care: Bridging Science and Faith." He has written a book cataloguing biblical teachings about care for creation and he has a doctorate in wildlife biology, living the a balance of faith and science he will discuss.
After lunch, co-author Kara Odegard will present "A Report on the Spokane Community Adaptation Project." The just-completed study commissioned by the City of Spokane used a program developed at Oregon State University and input from climate scientists at University of Washington and University of Idaho to predict effects of climate change on Spokane.
Saturday sessions address technologies to put us back into harmony with nature; social actions to take, and how faith helps us face the environmental challenges.
Area resource leaders will help us ask: How will we adapt our agriculture practices as climate changes? How will Avista manage new patterns of run-off? How does living under the cloud of climate change affect psychological wellbeing? What are effects of climate change on health? What species in our area are at risk? What technologies are available today to draw down the CO2 in the air?
Can Spokane build a circular economy to minimize waste? How is the water quality of Lake Coeur d'Alene changing? Can we capture methane from waste treatment facilities? What needs to be done to clean up the tailings of the Midnight uranium mine?
High school students and young adults will discuss the future natural environment they will live in—their hopes, priorities and expectations when they take the reins.
The last session is for the faith community: What does faith teach about care for the environment? How does faith give us hope and direction? How does faith call us into action? Leaders from Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Native American and Islamic faith communities will share on the centrality of faith to uphold Hope for Creation. The formal program ends Saturday afternoon with sharing ideas and proposals for consideration by elected leaders. Throughout the Conference, the Cathedral art guild will host an environmental art exhibit of works by Spokane area artists.
The event is for civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, business people and engaged citizens, young and old, conservative and liberal—all points of view are needed, and the dignity of each person will be respected.
The Hope for Creation Conference starts the four-year lead up to renew Spokane's leadership on the environment to celebrate Expo '74's 50th anniversary. The Conference provides a venue to develop networks of persons with common interests for subsequent work.
The steering committee includes Elizabeth Abbey of Whitworth University; Breean Beggs and Lori Kinnear of Spokane City Council; Pat Munts, WSU extension specialist and Spokesman Review columnist; Jennifer Ogden, Spokane Park Board vice president and St. John's parishioner; Mike Petersen, Lands Council executive director; Lenore Three Stars (Oglala Lakota), Reconciliation Calling Community, Native Tribes; Heather VanDeventer, Dean of St John's Cathedral, and Joe Wittwer, pastor Life Center Church.
John Wallingford, Cathedral of St. John
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, February, 2020