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Christian Organizations Release Declaration of Support for Monongahela National Forest
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by Bob Marshall | 2007

Fast Disappearing Wilderness Spurs Recommendations for Care & Permanent Keeping of Wild Places in this Monongahela Statement Intended to Represent “Basic Christian Principles About Wilderness and Human Spiritual Need”

Kenna, W.Va. — A group of leading Christian organizations today (January 4, 2007) released a treatise on the reasons why Christians have a responsibility to take the lead in caring for the Monongahela National Forest. Called “God’s Gift of a Wild and Wonderful Land: A Christian Declaration on the Spiritual Values of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest,” the statement outlines “insights about the spiritual values of wilderness” and recommendations for taking action. The groups at the center of the new initiative include Christians for the Mountains, the West Virginia Council of Churches, Christians Caring for Creation, The Catholic  ommittee of Appalachia, The Religious Campaign for Wilderness, and United Methodist Appalachian Ministries.

“The works of the Lord in the Monongahela are truly wondrous,” said Allen Johnson of Frost, WV. “We can best acknowledge the wisdom behind these works by having the wisdom and foresight to protect them permanently as wilderness, which is God’s gift of creation undefiled.”

Scriptural citations are included throughout the declaration to show that the insights discussed are elaborations of ancient but often overlooked Biblical themes. One such theme is captured in this recommendation:

Seek to preserve, protect and expand wilderness: Think of the future. Wilderness is a form of tithe, a setting aside of what is God’s for the benefit of others yet unborn. They too will need to experience the beauties of creation undefiled by the heavy hand of technology and development.

Other recommendations include: Take the time to visit West Virginia’s wild places; Love what God has created; Encourage others into greater respect for wilderness; Bring young people and youth groups into wilderness; Protect the beauty of the land undefiled; Expand wilderness in West Virginia; and Remember that wilderness protection is service to God and country. 

“We really do honor and remember our nation’s historical journey by preserving wild places,” said Bob Marshall of Kenna “We show our respect for our ancestors whose challenges in this magnificent wilderness shaped West Virginia and gave us our self-reliant character. It’s the source of our strength and our virtue. We have a duty to preserve it, whole cloth.”

CONTACT: Dr. Bob Marshall, Religious Campaign for Wilderness (304) 372-7501; Allen Johnson, Christians for the Mountains (304) 799-4137

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