Many who look upon it have fallen in love with the beauty of coastal Georgia.
Those who experience Earth’s beauty, though, also play a role in the preservation of the planet.
For many, the calling to protect the environment is embedded into the fabric of their religious faith. It’s a large task, however — saving the Earth — but an upcoming workshop will provide an opportunity to learn some practical ways to connect one’s faith to environmental action.
Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, an organization that engages communities of faith in stewardship, is partnering with local groups, including the environmental nonprofit One Hundred Miles, to host the first Coastal Green Team Summit on Oct. 20 at First Baptist Church on St. Simons Island.
The event will include workshops, an interfaith panel discussion and a keynote address.
“It’s an event to inspire and equip people of faith to engage in conversations about sustainability and faithful environmental action,” said Codi Norred, the associate for program and policy at Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, which hosted its first Green Team Summit earlier this year in Atlanta.
The workshops will focus on how to advocate for coastal communities and how communities of faith can promote sustainable actions, both within their own place of worship and in the community, Norred said.
Jennifer Ayres, a professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, will give the keynote address. Her research interests are in environmental and religious education.
“I’m working on a book that reconceives human life and Christian life in the framework of becoming good inhabitants of God’s world,” she said.
She’ll explore this topic in her talk at the summit, she said, and discuss the connection Earth’s citizens share with one another and the love for the planet that ties us together.
“For me, a sense of place is a faithful way of being Christian that is ecologically engaged,” she said. “… People across the political, cultural, social spectrum can come together when they recognize that they value something in common — when they love a place together.”
Alice Keyes, vice president of coastal conservation for One Hundred Miles, is a practicing Christian, and she said she holds firm to the idea that she is called by her faith to be a good steward to the planet.
“I’m really excited about having a day where we can focus on communities of faith and the opportunity that we have to engage in protecting the places that we love,” Keyes said.
One Hundred Miles will host a workshop at the summit on advocating for the local community.
“A lot of times, communities of faith think about environmental conservation or advocacy as political issues, and it is not the case at all,” Keyes said. “When you’re able to really fight for the places that you love and to promote positive future visions, that’s what advocacy is.”
Rabbi Rachael Bregman, of Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick, will sit on the interfaith panel, the goal of which will be to bring together people of different faith backgrounds who will offer thoughts on sustainability.
Responsible environmental stewardship, she said, is a powerful part of her sense of faith.
“I have a young daughter, who’s three, and I care deeply about the physical world that we live in because I recognize it’s a specific, finite resource and I want it to be around long past my lifetime and her lifetime and the lifetime of future generations,” Bregman said.
Registration for the summit can be completed online at gipl.org/event/2018-coastal-green-team-summit. The cost to register is $15, which includes lunch. Those interested in registering should do so before Oct. 15.