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Organizing Retreat, HCA

Organizing Retreat, HCA

HCA 2013 organizing retreat
Flier, May Organizing Retreat

Save the Date!

Join the Heartland Coalfield Alliance for a two-day organizing retreat
Help Build a Movement

When: May 17th – 19th

Where: Camp Ondessonk, Ozark, IL 62972

Registration: Is required. Registration and pricing (base on type of lodging selected) will be available on line in the next few weeks

This retreat will focus on building the skills, networks and campaigns we need to create a just and sustainable energy future in America’s Heartland (draft flier attached).

We will gather in the heart of southern Illinois to share stories, learn new skills, meet allies, and experience the beautiful Shawnee forest. The schedule and registration will be provided soon, but we hope you will set aside time in your schedule now.

The retreat will feature keynote speakers and three different tracks:

  • Generalist – Introductory information and stories about:
    • The different types of mining and the issues associated with with each.
    • Coal ash.
    • Coal subsidies.
    • Energy transition.
  • Organizing Basics:
    • Strategic massaging.
    • Activist development.
  • Technical:
    • Permitting primer.
    • Lessons learned with SMCRA, NPDES and 404/401 permitting.

The Retreat will take place Camp Ondessonk’s Retreat Center. Hostel style guest rooms with high-speed Internet will be available in the St. Noel Center. For the more adventurous are three-sided cabins in the forest built into the bluffs. And, for the truly hearty, there will be tent camping areas available as well. The camp offers a beautiful dining facility and a wide variety of gathering places for relaxing and continuing the conversation.


Free time will be scheduled so that you can enjoy the beauty of mid-May in southern Illinois, and we’ll enjoy Carter and Connolley, Illinois’ “Preeminent Folk Warriors”, who have a gift for conveying environmental messages through their songwriting and storytelling in the most entertaining and engaging way.

Please contact a member of the retreat organizing committee if you have questions or comments:

Brian Perbix, PrairieRivers Network
Terri Treacy, Sierra Club
Pam Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative

We look forward to continued collaboration both at our December meeting and May retreat. With your support and participation, the Heartland Coalfield Alliance can be a powerful force for change!

Asleep at the Switch … EJC at 2011 Congress on Urban Ministy

Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence

2011 Congress on Urban Ministry
Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education
March 1-3, 2011
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
2233 S. Martin L. King Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60616

In 1968, the Kerner Commission called violence “as American as apple pie.” They claimed that violence was imbedded in our culture. Some 40 years later, our cities serve as prime evidence supporting this claim.

As the theme of the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry, Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence implies that violence doesn’t just exist on our streets but in our hearts, in our systems, in our public policy, and in the very way we live together as humans. To look at urban ministry as Peacemaking is to see the gift of the gospel as a great potential for affecting us in our everyday lives and in an increasingly globalizing web of inter-connectivity.

This year’s SCUPE conference believes that peacemaking takes many forms, and has identified themes that will solicit provocative discussion and engage participants in developing strategic approaches to working in urban communities. One of these themes is violence to the environment.

Eco-Justice Collaborative has been selected to present a workshop on this theme, which we’ve called:

Asleep at the Switch
Violence to America’s Heartland and
A Wake Up Call to a Just Energy Future

Our highly developed western lifestyles bring us unparalleled comfort and convenience, but also isolate our actions from their consequences.  With the simple act of turning on a light switch, we set in motion a chain of events that destroys farmland and forest, poisons drinking water, pollutes the air we breathe and displaces entire communities.

This is happening in America’s heartland and projected to dramatically increase.  How are we called to respond as people faith?  What can we do to stop the violence to God’s creation?

What is the Congress on Urban Ministry?

The Congress on Urban Ministry is a biennial event organized by SCUPE in partnership with organizations, agencies, and denominations doing urban ministry. Over its 30 year history the Congress has proven itself as a premier, international gathering of hundreds of pastors, practitioners, academicians, students and people with a passion for social justice who come together to take part in educating, celebrating, and collaborating towards God’s reign in our cities. This diverse group of participants is committed to finding creative ways to prepare and resource individuals so that their ministries may better confront the issues and needs of their communities.


The Congress will host nationally-renowned speakers as well various networking events, evening worship, site visits, and social actions that put theory into practice. There will also be opportunities for attendees to participate in art, prayer, concerts, and informal discussions with the presenters and the grassroots practitioners who make a real impact in their communities everyday.

Attendees will have the opportunity to be challenged and inspired from nearly 50 workshops focusing on such topics as: asset-based community development, resisting economic violence, peacemaking with urban youth, restoring urban communities, faith-based public policy advocacy, urban &suburban partnerships, time-banking, immigration theology, hip-hop as a theological paradigm, and ecological peacemaking.

The event will be co-chaired by Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, president and founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation and Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church, and Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina.

Click here for more information about the Congress on Urban Ministry and here to register.

That Majestic Plastic Bag

That Majestic Plastic Bag

Have you ever wondered where all those plastic bottles, jugs, and containers you collect end up after they’re hauled off to the recycling center?  The answer is not very comforting.  Right now, less than 7% is recycled, and the rest of it either ends up in a landfill or is sent to China for recycling. Plastic that is not disposed of properly finds its way into our waterways and then into our ocean, where it is mistaken for food, and chokes or starves birds and marine animals to death Making plastic depletes finite petroleum resources and pumps toxic chemicals into air and water.  When it’s useful life is over, we can’t get rid of it. Unless it’s been incinerated, every piece of plastic ever manufactured remains on earth today.

Click here to read more about the hazards of plastic and then move into action!

Rethinking Plastic

It’s time to rethink how we as a society use plastic, and find alternatives for the products that we’ve come to depend upon.  Here are some things that you can do right now:

  • Reduce.  Reuse.  Rethink . . . Only then recycle.  You’ve heard this one before . .

  • Avoid Buying Plastic. Be conscious of what you buy, and be sure to avoid products with excessive packaging, especially in disposable products. Read Fake Plastic Fish to learn more about the impacts of plastic and discover tips for reducing your use!

  • Stop Using Plastic Bags! Buy that reusable bag when you forget to bring your own (you’ll soon remember to bring it along).  By the way paper bags are no better. Click here to read more.

  • Take Your Own ContainersWhen you eat out, or order carry-out food, take your containers with you and explain why you choose not to have your food in plastic containers.

  • Educate Consumers and BusinessesAll need to understand the hazards associated with plastics, including pollution and litter.

  • Organize a Plastic Bag BanNew York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Manhattan Beach, California have done just that.

  • Recycle Other’s LitterEvery time you see plastic litter, pick it up and recycle – or dispose of it properly.

  • Take Part in Stream, River and Beach Cleanups. Cleanups are effective at drawing attention to plastic pollution and help educate the public.

Tell us what you think…

Ecological Destruction or Earth Community?

Ecological Destruction or Earth Community?

How do we see our relationship with our planet?  Do we yet understand that destroying the rich, biodiversity of our planet means the ultimate destruction of our own species?

Since the 1980s, humanity has been in ecological overshoot, using resources faster than they can be regenerated and putting carbon into the air faster than it can be reabsorbed. Globally, we now demand the biological capacity of 1.4 planets. Our patterns of consumption in the U.S. require nearly five planets.   This means that our supply of natural resources – like trees and fish – continues to shrink, while our waste – primarily carbon dioxide – accumulates.

According to the latest data from the Global Footprint Network, on September 23, 2010 humanity will have used up all the resources nature will provide this year. From now until the end of the year, we’re dipping into our ecological reserves, borrowing from the future. This can go on for a short time, but ultimately it leads to a build up of waste and the depletion of the very resources on which human life depends.

We are at a crossroads in human history, never experienced before.  Knowing our earth community is in crisis, are we ready to change systems that require growth and expansion to those that value all life, fostering regeneration and rebirth?

E.O. Wilson of Harvard University tells us:  “In the end it will all come down to a decision of ethics, how we value the natural world in which we have evolved and now – increasingly – how we regard our status as individuals (Thomas Berry. 1999. The Great Work. p. 102).

Watch the video reflecting on Thomas Berry and the Earth Community and tell us what you think…..