Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: His Creation, Ours to Protect

By Anthony Konieczka

May 23, 2016 - Today the Spirit of Adventure e-term class woke up to go for a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Capital Building to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). This building is one of the oldest on Capital Hill built in 1913. The General Board of Church and Society overlooks the Capital Building and the Supreme Court Justice Building (which was actually built after 1913).

Once we arrived at the GBCS we had an interesting lecture and seminar about some hot button issues that relate to our course. Spirit of Adventure, as I am sure many of my fellow classmates have explained, is all about finding ourselves in our own vocation through the soul searching adventures that we are a part of. First up was Aimee Hong, the Director of United Methodist Seminar Programs, and Amber Feezor, the Seminar Designer, to talk about the Social Principles and the Natural World. Through a film and discussion we really focused in on how the Methodist church helps on the global and local levels in some of the most need based communities. The examples ranged from West Virginia coal miners and the environmental danger of coal mining is, to Kenya and the change from tobacco crops to chili plants to boost farmer profit, to the Congo where a pastor helped build and manage canals to move stagnant water and thus dropping malaria by 70%.

After the discussion Shantha Alonso, the Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries (CJM), came in to talk about what CJM is and what it does in the world around us. In short CJM protects, restores and serves Gods' works through four faith principles; justice, stewardship, sustainability and sufficiency. CJM is a collection of Christian religions that work together to help shape government policies. They have helped with legislation such as the Green Climate Fund which states that the U.S federal government has donated 3 billion dollars, and the Clean Power Plan which is a policy that will play a major role in energy conservation as our country moves toward renewable energy.

Our third and final seminar was on Climate Change with Rebecca "Reba" Elliot, the Executive Director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions in Northern VA. She really hit home with the shocking truth that climate change isn't just far off with the penguins and melting ice caps of the South Pole or in Nigeria where the desert grows by 40 miles each year. She showed us insight on how the increasing water levels are destroying homes in Miami due to the absorbing limestone rock that the city is built on. More importantly she taught us ways we can help, some of these ways we have already implemented in our Ferrum community with our energy saving contests. Just turning the AC down one notch helps!

After the seminar we ended with a great stroll through the beautiful Botanical Garden. I don't think I've ever witnessed so many gorgeous flowers and wildlife in one setting. This location housed every color, shape, texture and plant you could think of. It was truly a perfect gallery for all of God's artwork.

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