Disciples News Service

SOIL event digs deeper into climate and justice issues

by Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, Associate Minister of Green Chalice

Spiritual Opportunities for Intentional Living (SOIL) kicked off its first intergenerational conference at Christmount in Black Mountain, NC, with 35 participants aging from 12-80 years old, from places like Bowling Green, KY, Nashville, TN, and Nairobi, Kenya.

This Ecology, Spirituality, and Justice Conference explored the landscape of faith through the lens of sustainability, justice, service, and action.

The week-long journey, situated in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, helped groups learn about some of the most challenging environmental issues impacting our world today: hunger and food insecurity, climate change, pollution, poverty, race, and reconciliation.

Participants explored complex sustainability challenges with highlights including hearing from participants about how their communities were addressing these problems. Stomping Out Pollution, Acting on Climate, Creating a Learning Garden, Protecting Our Oceans, and Planting 100 Million Trees were some of the projects we shared with one another. This program was a collaboration among Disciples Home Missions, Green Chalice, Christmount, Global Ministries, Refugee and Immigration MinistriesClimate Listening Project, Climate Collider, MountainTrue, Creation Care Alliance, and Climate Interactive.

We heard dynamic speakers, made pizzas and learned about their ingredients, went to a film premier in partnership with the Climate Listening Project, role-played a Model UN Climate Negotiation, and explored racism. Worship and prayer were at the heart of our time together. We practiced silence and contemplative prayer, worshiped God under the stars, and shared the Bread of Life with one another. We did not forget to play. S’mores, rafting, singing, dancing, swimming, hiking and games were all a part of the experience. It was a powerful week of soul training and listening, and we look forward to our next time together.

The SOIL Team is solidifying plans for the next SOIL in 2018 and will welcome applicants soon. You can learn more on the event website.