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Restoring Eden


Abstract Restoring Eden is an ecumenical Christian environmental organization. Built upon a biblical conception of nature appreciation and environmental stewardship, Restoring Eden advocates the protection of endangered ecosystems, species, and subsistence cultures. Understanding its work in the light of Christ’s mission to care for “the least of these,” Restoring Eden encourages Christians to join in the work of caring for creation through outreach and education, hands-on service projects, and political advocacy. With the goal of restoring harmonious relations between humanity, nature, and God, the organization works to connect with younger Christians in a variety of ways, including publications, outreach programs, tabling at Christian rock concerts, college campus chapters, and political activism trainings. Seeking to foster grassroots environmental stewardship within Christian communities, Restoring Eden distributes newsletters, Bible studies, sermon materials, news alerts, and other information and runs outreach initiatives at public events, in congregations, and on college campuses. The organization is currently forming an activist network to address public policy issues related to the environment and is developing an Online Community for fostering dialogue and sharing resources, ideas, and announcements over the internet. Its Creation Care Study Program (CCSP) is an accredited semester-abroad college program that has facilities in New Zealand and Belize, where students spend four months taking courses such as: "God and Nature," "Grassroots Activism," "Ecosystem Biology," and "Sustainable Development." After completing the semester, many of the students return to their campuses to become leaders in their campus environmental stewardship efforts. Restoring Eden also advocates for the rights of indigenous cultures through The Indigenous Christian Environmental Network (ICEN), an informal coalition working to help organize tribal Christians of various denominations against policies that threaten their cultures, resource bases, and lands. At present, ICEN is working in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, as well as Kenya, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji, to foster dialogue and activism among Christian tribal leaders.
Religion Christianity
Geographic Location International
Duration of Project 2001–Present
History

Restoring Eden grew out of another Christian environmental organization called Christians for Environmental Stewardship, which was founded by Peter Illyn, Executive Director of Restoring Eden, in 1996 to support the Endangered Species Act. After a brief spell as a subsidiary of Target Earth International between 1998–2001, Christians for Environmental Stewardship became an independent, non-profit organization and was renamed Restoring Eden to reflect its mission to protect endangered lands, species, and cultures of God’s creation. In 1999, a group of indigenous Christians invited Illyn to Papua New Guinea to help them incorporate environmental stewardship into their Christian and tribal views and practices. This initiated a partnership between Restoring Eden and Christians for Environmental Stewardship of Papua New Guinea, which led to the development of workshop tours over the past several years, in which Restoring Eden visits seminaries and Bible colleges to talk about environmental stewardship. A new group, Christians Advocating for the Stewardship of the Environment (CASE), has recently formed to encourage partnerships between tribal churches and environmental NGOs.

Mission Statement “Restoring Eden makes hearts bigger, hands dirtier and voices stronger by learning to love, serve, and protect God’s creation. Restoring Eden lives out of the biblical mandate to, ‘speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves’ (Proverbs 31:8) as advocates for natural habitats, wild species, and indigenous cultures.”
Partner Organizations Christians for Environmental Stewardship of Papua New Guinea
Indigenous Christian Environmental Network (ICEN)
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Restoring Eden
Peter Illyn, Executive Director
PO Box 877
La Center, WA 98629
Ph:       360.574.8230
Fax:     360.571.8920
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)