Environmental Justice is the Theme for the United Methodist Church National Creation Care Conference in 2015


Conference to be held in Atlanta, home of the Civil Rights Movement
Rev. Pat Watkins, missionary for the General Board of Global Ministries who heads up the Ministry of God’s Renewed Creation, has announced the theme for the 2015 National Creation Care Conference. The theme will be environmental justice, and the conference will be hosted in the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. The "Environmental Resurrection: Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters" Creation Care conference will be held on April 24 and 25at Decatur First United Methodist Church in Decatur, Georgia.
“Environmental justice is becoming a larger issue for our world as we start to experience the direct effects of climate change. Ignoring our moral obligation to provide for communities of color and limited economic mobility which are most adversely affected by climate change is against the teachings of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. In 1760, Wesley warned his followers not to work in the lead or arsenic industries as they would harm others and themselves. Were Wesley alive today he would be issuing similar warnings about many chemical and fossil fuel industries.” said Pat Watkins.
Beyond climate change, there are communities all across the world who deal with the adverse effects from pollution either in the air, in their community waterways or on land. Some of these issues have occurred for decades. Some are more recent like the communities in Alabama dealing with tons of coal ash that were dumped in their communities after the Kingston coal ash spill in Tennessee.
Matthew Tejada to speak National UMC Creation Care ConferenceThe conference will feature national and local leaders discussing challenges and solutions for environmental justice communities and how United Methodists and other religious peoples can assist in meeting those challenges. Matthew Tejada, the Director for Environmental Justice for the EPA, alongside Ellen Ott-Marshall of the United Methodist Church, will kickoff the two-day event on April 24. Other highlights include a worship service celebrating the environment open to the public, tours of environmental justice sites and sustainability projects, keynotes by Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali, Global Ministries' Global Health unit’s Dr. Olusimbo Ige, and national co-coordinators of the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance Richard Moore and Michelle Roberts, international students presenting on their community environmental justice challenges, and Atlanta leaders in the environmental community including Nataki Osborne-Jelks, Westside Atlanta Watershed Alliance; Garry Harris, Emerald Cities; Jacqueline Echols, South River Watershed Alliance; MaKara Rumley, GreenLaw; Carter and Olivia Ries, One More Generation; and Reverend Doctor Gerald Durley.
Details and a link to registration for the conference can be found at: http://www.umccreationcare.org Registration fees include lunch both days, dinner Friday night and breakfast Saturday morning. For more information contact Dr. Michael Black at seawater@gsu.edu.