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ASHEVILLE – On April 21, the Sunday preceding Earth Day, the Western North Carolina Alliance will take part in a special interfaith gathering of congregations from across the region.

The Care of Creation Candlelight Vigil will be from 7-8 p.m. in downtown Asheville’s Pritchard Park. This is the first event hosted by WNC Green Congregations, and is its first faith vigil for the earth in WNC. We invite the community to join people of faith from across WNC as we:

  • Celebrate God’s gift of creation
  • Share our gratitude and appreciation for earth
  • Grieve for the damage we are causing to creation and our neighbors
  • Reflect on our responsibility to our children and future generations
  • Resolve to bring our hope and faith into action

“What’s unique about Western North Carolina is that diverse faith communities have joined together to leverage their common values in public witness for God’s good Earth,” said Mallory McDuff, professor of environmental studies at Warren Wilson College and author of “Sacred Acts: How Churches are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate.”

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The “Care of Creation Vigil” will include music and reflections from local faith leaders and is sponsored by Western North Carolina Green Congregations in unity with the Climate Convergence in Raleigh. On April 20-21, thousands of people from all walks of life will converge in our state’s capitol to demonstrate the need for sane and substantive discourse on the ​challenges caused by ​climate change.

In addition, the Showtime network has been profiling the work of WNC Green Congregations, as well as the work of the Asheville Beyond Coal coalition, as part of its documentary series on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously.”  (ABC coalition members include WNCA, the Sierra Club, SouthWings and Interfaith Power and Light.)

Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously” explores the human impact of climate change in a collaboration between some of Hollywood’s biggest actors and producers, along with the country’s leading news journalists, reporting on those affected by—and seeking solutions to—global warming. The project is executive produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, “60 Minutes” producers Joel Bach and David Gelber and climate expert Daniel Abbasi.

Rev. Howard Hanger of Jubilee! Community in Asheville, will speak at the Care of Creation vigil.  Hanger says that recognizing the urgency of caring for the Earth should be everyone’s concern.

“Let’s not blow this one,” he said. “Good planets are hard to find.”

Care of Creation speakers:

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  • Rev. Howard Hanger, Jubilee!
  • Rev. Joyce Hollyday, Circle of Mercy
  • Lauren Rosenfeld, religious education director, Temple Beth Ha Tephila
  • Lael Gray, executive director, Jewish Community Center
  • Chaplain Lynn Michie, Swannanoa Correctional Facility
  • Rev. Todd Donatelli, All Souls Episcopal Cathedral
  • Abbey Ende, Asheville Catholic School student, reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech
  • Rev. Mark Burnham, First Presbyterian Asheville
  • Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance community organizer
  • Richard Fireman, retired physician and climate activist

If you have questions about the Asheville vigil or how you can get involved in work focused on caring for the environment, please contact WNCA Community Organizer Anna Jane Joyner at AnnaJane@wnca.org or (828) 258-8737, ext. 205.

-Press release from the Western North Carolina Alliance, shared April 16.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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