Early registration is currently under way for the 2011 Caring for Creation experience at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center on March 31-April 3, 2011.

Caring for Creation is a loosely organized movement of faith communities that believe there is Biblical and theological support for developing opportunities to be caretakers of the Earth.

The Rev. Sally Bingham, a priest in the Diocese of California who serves as the Environmental Minister at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, will be a guest speaker at the 2011 Caring for Creation. She is a founder of the Regeneration Project, a non-profit ministry focusing on the response to global climate change, whose initiative is the Episcopal Power and Light.

The model has developed into an interfaith initiative in several states and in Canada, and its mission is to mobilize the community of faith to lead by example in reducing green house gas emissions.

“The Rev. Bingham is giving a plenary, ‘A Religious Response to the Climate Crisis,’ and her workshop will focus on the work of Interfaith Power and Light,” said Loy Lilley, event coordinator for Caring for Creation. “We are excited about this ever growing opportunity to learn diverse ways to preserve and care for our Earth, and we hope that persons from all walks of life and of all ages will come.”

More than 38 guest speakers, including John Hill, Director of Economic and Environmental Justice from the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church, will appear at the Caring for Creation conference. Other guest speakers include Derek Arndt of the National Climate Data Center; Dr. Brian Helmuth, professor of Biological Science at USC in Columbia, S.C.; and Dr. Jim McKenna, interim department head and professor of crop and soil environment sciences at VPI in Blacksburg, Va.

New workshops will be available this year, including “How Harming Earth Harms Heart, Mind, and Soul” by Andy Bell. Other workshops include “Biblical/Theological Foundations of Creation and Wesley” by Rev. Jeanne Finley;“Involving Young People in God’s Call to Hope and Action” by Mr. John Hodges-Batzka; and “How to advocate for Environmental Sustainability” by Mr. John Hill.

The first 50 persons to register will receive a free copy of Jonathan Merritt’s book, Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet. Merritt is also a speaker and workshop leader. Special early registration will be available for persons registering before Jan. 1. Ethnic scholarships will be available online soon. For registration, workshops, and more information visit www.lakejunaluska.com/caring-for-creation or call 828.454.6656.

A conference that connects faith and the environment will be held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center April 8 through 11.

Caring for Creation, now in its fourth year, imparts a message of stewardship and responsibility for people of faith when it comes to caring for the earth.

The conference offers a series of workshops and talks on a variety of topics, including some big name speakers.

In addition to workshops, on- and off-site tours will include visits to a solar farm, an oil-to-biodiesel conversion facility, a green home, Junaluska Wetlands and Corneille Bryan Native Garden. Guests also have the option of doing a “pre-experience” in which they’ll spend 24 hours in a sustainable environment prior to the conference.

Keynote speakers for the conference include:

• Sen. Marc Basnight, the president pro tem of the N.C. Senate.

• John Hill, director of Economic and Environmental Justice for the General Board of Church and Society.

• Rev. Ms. Pat Call-Beck Harper, editor of God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action.

• Rita Harris, organizer for the Sierra Club in Memphis.

• Derek Arndt, monitoring board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lake Junaluska joined the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Green Initiative Project in 2009. As a part of the initiative, Lake Junaluska is focused on being energy efficient, recycling and creating a sustainable environment.

“Lake Junaluska is continually striving to promote environmental awareness,” said Jimmy L. Carr, executive director of Lake Junaluska.

Workshops include:

• Theological Foundations for Creation Care

• Mapping Your Ecological Footprint.

For more information about the conference and workshop schedule, go to www.lakejunaluska.com/caring-for-creation or call 828.454.6656.

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