United in Christ Lutheran Church
PO Box 95; West Milton, PA 17886
1875 Churches Road Lewisburg, PA 17837
Facebook: United in Christ Lutheran Church
October 21, 2012
An Open Letter to Governor Tom Corbett, DCNR Secretary Richard Allan, and Anadarko Regarding the Protection of Rock Run and Old Loggers Path in Loyalsock State Forest:
We are members and friends of United in Christ Lutheran Church in rural Lewisburg. We are alarmed about the threat to Rock Run and Old Loggers Path in Lycoming County from the natural gas industry. This pristine wilderness area of Pennsylvania is a treasure that should be protected. We are asking you not to develop the Clarence Moore mineral rights in the Loyalsock State Forest and to halt natural gas development in the Old Logger’s path area.
This issue is important to us as Lutherans for several reasons. First, we see the despoiling of the Rock Run area as nothing less than the degradation of God’s gracious gift of creation. Scripture witnesses to God as creator of the earth and all that dwells therein (Psalm 24:1). The creeds, which guide our reading of Scripture, proclaim God the Father of Jesus Christ as “maker of heaven and earth,” Jesus Christ as the one “through [whom] all things were made,” and the Holy Spirit as “the Lord, the giver of life” (Nicene Creed). Thus we believe all of creation is worthy of protection, especially those areas that are particularly sensitive and whose ecosystems are fragile. Rock Run is one of those areas.
Second, the Holy Bible gives us several examples of mountains and waterways being special places in which God reveals God’s self. We believe that this area of Loyalsock State Forest is a place where God’s presence in creation is experienced deeply by those who hike, swim, and fish there. A natural area such as this is not a domain to be conquered and exploited for short-term gain, but to be enjoyed, preserved, and explored as a wondrous, sacred trust.
Third, according to Genesis 2:15, our role within creation is to serve and to keep God’s garden, the earth. You have an opportunity to leave a legacy for this state and future generations that preserves the pure water, native fish populations and unparalleled beauty of the forest. It is your responsibility as leaders in government and industry to protect this ecologically and aesthetically sensitive area. And it is our responsibility as Christians to ask that you do so.
Finally, according to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) social statement, “Caring for Creation,” adopted in 1993 (http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements/Environment.aspx): “We live within the covenant God makes with all living things, and are in relationship with them. The principle of participation means they are entitled to be heard and to have their interests considered when decisions are made.” We urge you to consider the interest of the fish, fauna, trees and plant life, as well our children who deserve the opportunity to be in communion with their earth-kin in this area of Rock Run.
We will be praying that God’s will may be done in this situation. And we trust that you will make the decision that is best for the residents – both human and God’s creation – of Pennsylvania.
The Rev. Leah Schade and Members and Friends of United in Christ Lutheran Church (signatures below)