On October 25-28, 2011, the Rural Chaplains Association gathered along the coast of Mississippi for their annual focus gathering. This year’s event centered on environmental issues and the impact of both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coastal and marine life.
Local residents and environmental experts shared the impact of these two major disasters on the life and economy of the Gulf Coast. Guided tours to the Gulf Coast Research Center marsh areas; Pascagoula River Audubon Center and a trip to Ship Island allowed first hand exposure to the beauty and the challenges present in the area.
Bishop Sally Dyck, co-author of A Hopeful Earth: Faith, Science and The Message Of Jesus, was keynote speaker for the event. She challenged those present to lead their churches and communities in taking simple and practical steps to protect and restore creation. Participants were encouraged to work with their churches, bishops and conferences in implementing the Council of Bishops Pastoral Letter “God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action.”
The Rural Chaplains Association is a fellowship of lay and clergy persons, from across the USA and beyond, who sense a call and have committed themselves to serving and being in ministry with individuals, congregations and communities in rural, often isolated and overlooked areas.
Bishop Lloyd Knox was the certifying bishop for three new Rural Chaplains, Rev. Michael Allway, Patricia Kratky and Wayne Engle. Bishop Knox was instrumental in the formation of the Rural Chaplains Association during the rural farm crises.
For more information on the Rural Chaplains Association, visit : www.rcahome.com.
God's Renewed Creation is a project of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. For more information visit: www.hopeandaction.org.