A few years ago, I began realizing the harmful ways that we are living in our modern
society. Not only have we wantonly used and abused the Earth and all its inhabitants and
resources, but we have harmed ourselves by living in a separated manner from nature. It
occurred to me that among the religious institutions with which I was familiar, no mention
was ever made of protecting the Earth and all its inhabitants. This seemed odd because I
would have thought that churches and their congregations would be on the forefront of
protecting “God’s Creation”. The church that I attended seldom mentioned our responsibility
for the natural environment. At fellowship luncheons and dinners, paper, plastic and
styrofoam were wasted by the bagsful. No one even considered recycling. This is where my
desire to connect spirituality with nature really took root. The coursework at St. Mary’s has
continually reinforced and affirmed this desire.
This project started in a small way. I wrote articles for the church newsletter and
local newspaper and also spoke to an adult leadership group about becoming earth conscious
consumers. The format for that presentation is included here. This led to further
involvement in the community and more speaking opportunities. This involvement grew
and at the request of a minister friend, I developed a presentation for Sunday church services.
My religious background is Christian and I have studied the theology and belief
systems of many denominations to understand what their beliefs are based upon. This has
allowed me to speak to groups on a level and in a spiritual language they are able to
understand and relate. A discussion or presentation to a Baptist group will differ in several ways from a Methodist, Catholic, Unity or Unitarian presentation. Quoting biblical
scriptures might well be appropriate with one group and inappropriate with another. I have
also developed a presentation that is appropriate for workshops or luncheons for church or
Last fall, I was asked to give an hour-long presentation for the Federation of Practical
Christianity’s annual meeting of ministers in Amarillo, Texas. This went well and there were
great results. I have included the Amarillo presentation as a part of this project. One of the
ministers in the audience returned to her home church in West Palm Beach, Florida and
devoted four full Sundays to sermons about nature. It also led to invitations for me to speak
at a church in Gulfport, Mississippi, Richardson, Texas, Nacogdoches, Texas and Franklin,
North Carolina. In addition, I was asked to help with an Earth Day Celebration in
Nacogdoches. I was extremely pleased with the results.
In addition to the earth consciousness presentation, I have developed other
discussions that look at the social consequences from our society’s taking more than our fair
share of the earth’s resources.
Phase II of this project includes a plan for the development of a nature center on the
land where I live. This is simply an extension of the earth consciousness presentations that
are currently being done. Workshops, retreats, nature hikes, vision quests, etc. are planned. I
would like to be ready for opening the nature center by the fall of 2006. A description of the
nature center, mission, photos and brochure are attached.