God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9: 12-13
Establishment of an Earth Stewardship Theologian position at Montreat Presbyterian Church (USA) marked a new milestone in our congregation’s growing Earth ministry program. In announcing this step in January 2012 our interim pastor, Rev. Maggie Lauterer, expressed her belief that the effort “is part of reclaiming who we are as servants of the Creator. Our mission is to care for God’s people and God’s creation. We are very fortunate that Rev. Dr. Cam Murchison will help us initiate this effort, as he brings a wealth of knowledge, a distinguished background and great energy to our work concerning the environment.”
The Earth Stewardship Theologian is expected to help nurture a Biblically sound basis for all of the congregation’s efforts dealing with environmental subjects, so that the glory of God is always a focus. In this capacity, Cam augments the effort of the lay members of the church’s Earth Ministry Team. His work will develop a long-range framework for activities that may include preaching sermons, leading Bible studies and organizing mission trips concerned with Christian stewardship of Earth and its resources.
Cam is Professor Emeritus of Ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, where he began service on the faculty in 1996 and also served as Dean of Faculty and Executive Vice President for nine years. He was on the faculty at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia from 1977-1987. He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University. His scholarly efforts are complemented by service as pastor at Presbyterian churches in Blacksburg, Virginia, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Richmond. He has authored numerous journal articles and served as an editor of the Journal for Preachers.
“What really excites me about this project is the specific work of particular congregations as they shape concrete responses to the urgent need for caring for God’s creation,” says Dr. Murchison. “The reason that I want to be a part of the effort is to participate in the translation of biblical, theological convictions regarding care for creation into the routine realities of everyday: our food, our transportation, our housing, our communication, our investing, and our consuming. The challenge is for us to devise faithful and resilient ways of living that respect the integrity and the limits of the home we have been given—the earth itself.”
As his first “official” act, Cam presented an Adult Education course entitled “Clues for a World on the Edge.” He addressed the theme of “Creation as the Theater of God’s Glory” in a three-week study. The classes examined selected Old and New Testament texts and theological perspectives dealing with God’s relationship to the whole creation. Implications for Earth care were explored. A multi-media format used entertaining and moving visual images and music to convey significant points. Subsequently, churches in the area requested sermons and teaching from Dr. Murchison, and he has assisted the Presbytery.