September 26-29, 2017

Blessing the Waters of Life: Justice and Healing for Our Watershed

Rev. 22:17 (NRSV) The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.


Pre-Conference Immersion: September 25-26, 2017

SPIRIT OF THE SALMON: Water, Culture, and Justice in the Columbia Watershed Environmental Justice Immersion
Nature explorations including hikes in the Columbia Gorge and environmental
service projects at Menucha

Special event on evening of September 24 with Larry Merculieff

PEC’s biennial conference in 2017 will focus on water issues at the nexus of climate change and indigenous people.

Registration has closed for this event.


PEC’S biennial conference in 2017 will focus on water issues at the nexus of climate change and indigenous people. Caring for and celebrating the “waters of life” has always been central to Indigenous people of the world much as water rituals and images in scripture are central in the Christian tradition. Across our nation, increased development, including fossil fuel extraction and transportation projects threaten waters, especially the waters of indigenous land in places like Standing Rock and the Columbia River Watershed. Indigenous wisdom, leadership, and resistance have much to teach about how to face these struggles.

The conference site overlooks the Columbia River Gorge, where an age-old Native Americans presence has been affected by dams, pollution, fish and wildlife habitat loss and increasingly, climate change. The Doctrine of Discovery, the 15th-century justification for European subjugation of non-Christian peoples underlies many environmental injustices that we see today. Thus, our conference begins with Native American voices on water and a powerful experiential workshop on the Doctrine of Discovery. Join us for a unique journey of mind and spirit that leads us toward faith-filled earth care discussions on water and related issues.


Keynote Speaker

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing, an ordained Lutheran minister and seminary professor, is active in public theology in both the scholarly academy and the church, working on climate justice and the Bible. She teaches New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and directs the seminary’s environmental ministry emphasis. Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, Journeys through Revelation: Apocalyptic Hope for Today (the Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study for 2010-11), and articles and book chapters on the Bible, ecology, and liberation. Her media appearances include The History Channel, National Geographic, and CBS’s 60 Minutes. She received an MDiv degree from Yale University Divinity School and a ThD from Harvard University



Worship Leader

The Rev. Dr. Paul Galbreath is a professor of theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte. He came to the seminary in 2005 from the Office of Theology and Worship where he served as a member of the General Assembly staff for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).An ordained Presbyterian teaching elder, he has served congregations in Clatskanie, Woodburn, and Warrenton, Oregon as well as in Tacoma, Washington. One of his primary research interests has focused on sacramental ethics, or ways to explore connections between worship and daily life. This work led to the publication of a trilogy of books: Leading from the Table (Alban, 2008), Leading through the Water (Alban, 2011) and Leading into the World which respectively examine the eucharist and baptismal liturgies and a Christian commitment to earth care in order to discern sacramental patterns and practices that are a part of our daily life.

Music Leaders

Jim & Jean Strathdee, church musicians, composers of songs, hymns and anthems, have shared their music with the wider church for over 40 years, including many national events for PCUSA. Their songs are a musical offering of compassion, justice   and caring for the Earth, and are published in dozens of hymnbooks and curriculum projects. Over the years, Jim and Jean have served as music directors in United Methodist congregations in California and Hawaii. They live near Sacramento, CA. The Strathdees believe that “singing together helps us listen to the Spirit calling us forward to prayer, action and ‘beautiful resistance’ to all that harms God’s world.”


Special Guest (Sept. 24-27)

Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff has almost four decades of experience serving his people, the Aleuts of the Pribilof Islands and other indigenous peoples—locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. For his entire career, Merculieff has been a passionate advocate for indigenous rights/wisdom, and harmonious relationship with the Earth Mother. He has given keynote addresses at forums such as the National Academy of Sciences. Ilarion was born and raised on St. Paul Island in the middle of the Bering Sea, where he lived for half his life. He now lives in Anchorage, Alaska. He was among the last generation of Unangan (Unungan), or Aleut, peoples raised in a traditional way. He now lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Registration is a two-step process:

 1) Register for the Conference Fees, Pre-Conference Immersion Fees, hikes, and airport pickups through a PEC website.
 2) Register for meals and lodging with Menucha.

Cost to Attend

Step 1:

Registration for this event has closed.

Conference Fees (paid to PEC through link above)

Sept. 26-29

Until June 30th


After June 30th


Young Adults (under 30)



NOTE: Commuter registrations are limited for the conference.

Native Ways of Being and Knowing, Sept. 24, 7:00 to 9:00PM.  No cost for overnight guests.
Commuters, $20 please register through the “Registration Step 1 (goes to a PEC website)” button above.
Spirit of the Salmon,              Pre-Conference Immersion,

Sept. 25-26

Regular: Includes transportation to events included in the pre-conference immersion.

Cost: $150

Commuter: Provide your own transportation to pre-conference immersion off-site activities. Includes Monday dinner and lunches. No other reg. required.

Cost: $55

Guided Hikes and Outings with Transportation

These happen at the same time as the pre-conference immersion.  During step 1 of registration (see blue button above) choose one or both of these options, then for step 2 of registration (see green button below) choose 1 or 2 nights for pre-conference meals/housing.

September 25, Columbia Gorge Hikes

Cost: $50

September 26, Afternoon in Cascade Locks

Cost: $40


Airport Pick-Ups 

September 24, Sunday 3:00 PM $25 4:30 PM $25
September 26, Tuesday 3:00 PM $25 4:30 PM $25
September 29, Friday 12:00 PM, $25 1:30PM $25

Step 2: (Meals & Lodging at Menucha)

Registration for this event has closed.

Please note that Menucha is not a hotel-like setting. We have wonderful buildings meant to be shared -we have more shared rooms than private. Due to the nature of our buildings, some rooms have bathrooms in the room, some share a bathroom in the hall. We do have some ADA accessible rooms. During the registration process please indicate whether an ADA accessible room is required.

Sept. 24-25, Pre-Conference Immersion Meals & Lodging $140 for two nights starting with dinner 9-24 $77 for 1 night Shared rooms (no more than 3 roommates)
Sept. 26-29 Conference Meals & Lodging Community Lodging (up to 4 in the room)–$289 (per person) Semi-Private Lodging (2 people in room)-$389 (per person) 0 available
Private Lodging (1 person in room) -$489  O available
Sept. 26-29 Commuter Meals & Facility fee (lunch & dinner) $209 for lunches, dinners and facility fee. Please register early for this option! Commuter slots are limited.


Need Scholarship Help? If you want to come, we want you there! We strongly encourage people with limited resources to seek assistance from their congregation, Presbytery or organization. PEC has sample letters for requesting support for you use.  E-mail for ideas and a sample letter. If you are Native American and want to attend, full scholarships are available through the office of Native American Intercultural Congregational. Contact


General Conference & Pre-Conference Schedule

(Parts highlighted in green are for the Pre-Conference Immersion)

September 24 -Sunday September 25- Monday September 26- Tuesday September 27-Wednesday September 28-Thursday September 29- Friday
Travel Day for Spirit of Salmon Immersion
Please plan to arrive between 3:00PM and 5:00PM.Airport Shuttles & Registration for Pre-Conference participants
Prayer & Intro to Spirit of Salmon Gathering and Prayer Announcements and Prayer

Keynote by Barbara Rossing–Biblical Waters, Justice and Healing

Announcements and Prayer 

Keynote by Barbara Rossing—A Theology of Water and Life

Announcements and Prayer

Reflection by Barbara Rossing


Treaties of the Columbia River Tribes Ecumenical Panel- Doctrine of Discovery
US – Canada Columbia River Treaty Travel to Bonneville Dam
Break Break Break Break Break
Travel to Eagle Creek Presentation at Bonneville Dam Panel –Indigenous Voices on Water and Doctrine of Discovery Workshops Worship- Led by Paul Galbreath and Regional Groups
View Salmon Spawning, Talk by Kat Brigham of Umatilla Tribe View Tribal Fishing Platforms at Cascade Locks Workshops
Visits to Brigham Fish Market and Moiser oil spill Ride Faith into Action  Cascade Locks Workshop Session Workshop Session Depart. Van to airport at 1:30PM
Travel to Celilo Village Continued Action and Prayer BREAK BREAK
Tour of Celilo Village, First Foods Shuttles from airport for Conference Participants Registration Workshops and Regional Groups Opening to Nature

Ilarion  Mercuilieff-

Native Ways of Being & Knowing

Story telling at Celilo Welcome and Opening Worship Worship-Led by Paul Galbreath Worship-Led by Paul Galbreath
Refreshments and Fellowship Evening Event – Searching the Stars Refreshments and Fellowship PEC Reception PEC Awards and Evening Events

Pre-Conference Immersion

Spirit of the Salmon: We’ll explore environmental justice issues affecting the tribes of the Columbia River Watershed. Participants will learn about tribal culture and spirituality, see firsthand how climate change and pollution are affecting the Columbia and experience hopeful models for healthy communities and watersheds. We will learn about the tribal treaties, the Columbia River Treaty, have an ecumenical dialogue on the Doctrine of Discovery, visit with tribal leaders at fishing platforms, and listen to stories at Celilo Village, next to the now silenced Celilo Falls, once a major trade, fishing, and meeting place for Northwest Tribes.

“The salmon, the tree, and even Celilo Falls (Wyam) echo within if we become still and listen. Once you have heard, take only what you need and let the rest go.”–Recalling Celilo, Oregon’s Poet Laurate Elizabeth Woody (Navaho, Warm Springs, Wasco, Yakama)

September 24. 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff. Native Ways of Being and Knowing. Native and modern Western ways of being are rooted in different assumptions about the world and our relationship to it. Ilarion was brought up in a traditional way in Alaska, that embedded in him a deep appreciation for Native ways of being, knowing and caring for the earth. He is co-author of Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning. This presentation and dialogue is open to all those staying at Menucha and is open to the public for $20.


Wednesday – THEME: Exploring the Doctrine of Discovery and Its Consequences

1:15 to 3:00 pm- Special Experiential Workshop for All Participants

Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples–This workshop is a response to the call for greater awareness and action of the continuity of Indigenous Peoples within the American social political fabric and righting of historical and ongoing wrongs. It traces the historic and ongoing impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery, the 15th-century justification for European subjugation of non-Christian peoples. The goal is to raise our level of knowledge and concern about colonization, recognize the ongoing impacts ourselves and our institutions, and explore how we can begin to take actions that are appropriate to our local circumstances. At the end of the participatory exercise, we enter into a period of reflection and sharing, using a “talking circle” format. Participants share their responses to the exercise, speaking from the heart and out of their own experience. Description and title from Boulder Friends Meeting. Facilitator: Nora Leccese

3:30 pm to 4:45 pm—Workshops

Open Conversation: From Apology to Repentance: Making It Real in Our Regions–Soon after the 2016 GA’s passing of resolutions on relationships with Native Americans, Yukon Presbytery made an apology to Alaska Natives for boarding schools. But this is only a first step. They are making concrete steps toward healing and justice that we all can learn from.

Leaders: The Rev. Irvin Porter and The Rev. Curtis Karns

Land and Water Grabs Threaten Indigenous Communities Globally–Indigenous Peoples are struggling worldwide to defend ancestral territories from various forms of land and water grabbing. Rarely consulted when land deals are forged between governments and corporations, they suffer the consequences – intimidation, violence, displacement, environmental devastation and destroyed livelihoods. This workshop will look at resistance efforts by Presbyterian Hunger Program partners in

Bolivia, Cameroon, Honduras, Peru and Sri Lanka and draw connections to campaign efforts in the U.S. like Standing Rock.

Leader: Eileen Schuhmann.

Resisting Structural Evil: Gateways, Tools and Applications–Theologian Cynthia Moe-Lobeda lays out six gateways to address corporate power, a force in the world which lies at the root of our most pressing ecological, social and political challenges. We will explore these gateways as they apply to critical issues facing us, including environmentally destructive land grabs and the issues attendees care about most passionately. This framework along with other tools for building and implementing effective strategies will be shared, and concrete first steps developed.

Leader: Andrew Kang Bartle

Thursday Morning- THEME: Putting our Faith Into Action

10:35 to 11:50 am

Faithful Resistance?–Have you ever told someone close to you that you are going to a protest and had a distressing withdrawal of friendship as a result?  Many understand “protest” as window breaking/car burning acts of violence. Former PC(USA) moderator, John Fife says Presbyterians are famous for forming and reforming.  We are generous coat-off-our-backs people.  We are advocates—educated and articulate.  And it is not enough! We must “resist”. Protest, resistance, and civil disobedience are necessary for change.  And there are essential things to learn to be safely engaged in non-violent actions.  Two northwest experts are joining their voices to tell us what resistance looks like; how to get trained; how to stay safe and how to use our faith to bring the moral voice to circumstances that threaten the earth and its inhabitants.

Leaders: Abby Brockway and Kelly O’Hanley.

Earth Care Congregations in the PC(USA)–The PC(USA) is unique as a denomination that provides an annually renewable certification program for Presbyterian congregations caring for God’s creation. Piloted in 2009, come learn about congregations that have been long in ministry and those just beginning. Workshop will include highlights from congregations doing energy efficiency, solar, community gardens, alternative transportation, public policy advocacy on climate change and more— as well as tips on “how to become certified.” Together, we will share success stories, best practices, challenges, and questions.

Leader: Jessica Maudlin.

Earth Care as a Baptismal Way of Life–How does our baptism as disciples of Jesus Christ relate to our need to care for the earth?  This workshop examines two key aspects of this relationship:  1) Exploring a new baptismal rite that reclaims earth images and language as central to our baptismal practice; and 2) Identifying ways that our practices of earth care are recognized and celebrated as a central part of our Christian lives and commitments.

Leader: The Rev. Dr. Paul Galbreath.

Thursday Afternoon – Opening to Nature

Take your pick! participate in an experiential nature and contemplation workshop, learn stories of protecting the Gorge, enjoy guided hikes, or enjoy time in the beautiful natural environment of Menucha in your own way.

1:30 to 2:45 pm – Gatherings 

Explorations Toward a Contemplative Ecology –“Contemplation,” says Thomas Merton, “is essentially a listening in silence, an expectancy.” We take this as an invitation to experience a number of practices that lead us into deep listening, as well as into focused attention to ourselves and to the world around us as part of a sacred whole. We will reflect upon the riches of our personal experience in the Columbia Gorge, how they awaken our sense of both the glory of Creation and our grief for the ways in which it has been desecrated.  We will explore such practices as breath and body prayer, lectio with scripture and poetry, and a heart meditation upon gratitude and compassion. We ponder how these practices may evoke the flow of healing love. How does such love center and sustain us as we engage in action?

Leader:  Nancy Corson Carter. Location: Creevey Commons Meeting Room.

For the Beauty of the Earth: Protecting the Columbia Gorge Part I—“Imagine crafting a national treasure on a complete harmony with the natural elements… the creation so good that people come from all over the world to marvel at its perfection.”  The Historic Columbia River Highway, has been called a “poem in stone.” It fell into disrepair with the advent of the Interstate road system. Learn about the vision to turn it into a world class trail for all to enjoy by bike, foot or wheelchair and how vital communities and protecting nature go hand-in-hand.

Leaders: Jeanette Kloos and Ryan Rittenhouse. Location: Wright Hall

2:45 to 5:00 pm

Hiking for All Abilities! All hikes start outside Wright Hall.

For the Beauty of the Earth: Protecting the Columbia Gorge Part II. A) Walk to Vesper point (4/10 miles, easy) with Friends of the Gorge for one of the best views of the Columbia Gorge. Learn the inspiring story of Columbia Gorge protection, current threats and how grassroots organizing is making a difference. B) 3:30 p.m.  Hike the Rim Trail (1 mile, moderate) which affords excellent views of the Gorge and lands once in danger of development and includes a trek through Menucha’s orchard.

Leaders: Ryan Rittenhouse and Warren Aney (Rim Trail)

Fish Pond Trail (about 8/10 mile, 5. hours) Moderate. This after a stop at the Picnic Trail viewpoint this trail winds through Mencha’s Old Growth forest along a creek and returns via the orchard.

Leader: Barry McPherson

Menucha’s Managed Landscape (4/10 mile, 0.5 to 1.5 hours) Easy. Menucha’s structures and landscaping represents a naturalistic approach to the Country Place design of the early 1900’s. This walk will loop through the Labyrinth/rose garden, the Swimming Pool Viewpoint, flower gardens to the Ball Field Vista, northeast back to Wright Hall past landscape ponds.

Leader: Lynne Gibbons

Rooster Rock (2 miles one-way, return by vehicle, 1.5 to 2 hours).  Moderate. After a stop at Vesper Viewpoint, we will head down the old Rooster Rock Road to Interstate 84 or return at the half way point.

Leader: Dana Eglinton

Friday A.M. Workshops –THEME- Equipping and Empowering

9:00 to 10:15 am

Climate and Water: What Is Happening, What Can We Expect, What Can We Do: Human-induced climate change is having a profound effect on the hydrologic cycles of the Earth and on local conditions with increased flooding in some areas and more frequent and intense droughts in others. Learn how climate change is affecting water regimes in the Pacific Northwest and how water protection and climate are interrelated

Leader: Dr. Philip Mote

Ecology, Justice and Healing: Creating Partnerships with Native American Congregations–What does it mean to “partner” with Native American Congregations. How do we look at our own privilege, check our assumptions at the door, look in our own communities first and foremost, when wanting to partner. This workshop explores lessons learned from international partnerships and the issues and sensitivities of Native American congregations.  If your congregation would like to develop a partnership, workshop co-leader, Rev. Irvin Porter, will provide connections with Presbyterian Native American congregations are who might have overlapping interests.

Leaders: The Rev. Irvin Porter and The Rev. Martin Koenig

Earth Song – Join us for a time of singing together ~ songs of love and justice, healing and hope ~ as we care for one another and for all of Creation.  Singing together helps us live more deeply, embracing the sorrow and joy of our life and times.  Singing together helps us listen to the Spirit calling us forward to prayer, action and ‘beautiful resistance’ to all that harms God’s world.

Leaders: Jim and Jean Strathdee.

Workshop and Nature Experience Leader Bios:

Warren Aney is a professionally certified wildlife biologist and senior ecologist with over 40 years of experience in resource management, field research and conservation administration. He utilizes this background to develop and promote goal-driven and adaptive management programs including a 50 page Menucha Ecosystem Management action report.

Abby Brockway is a ruling elder at Woodland Park Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington.  She is a member of the Delta 5 – a group that committed an act of civil disobedience. They were charged with trespassing and blocking an oil train.  They went to trial and tried the necessity defense in court because they believed their act was necessary to prevent a greater harm – not addressing climate crisis adequately.

Nancy Corson Carter, Ph.D., is a former moderator of PEC (1998-2003) and a ruling PC(USA) elder.  A founding member of the Shalem Society for Contemplative Leadership, she leads retreats and workshops in eco-spirituality and literature. She facilitates an Earth Care Committee in an accredited PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation in Chapel Hill, NC, and is a publishing poet.

Dana Eglinton has been fascinated with the natural world as long as he can remember, but only learned to care for it when he became a Christian. PEC’s NE Representative, he is pastor of Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, in Bordentown, NJ and a participant in its Earth Care Ministry. Dana is an enthusiastic bird watcher, hiker, canoeist, backpacker, gardener, consumer of local and organic foods, participant in environmental campaigns, husband, and father.

Tama Eller has enjoyed leading educational experiences in earth care since 1990 and serves in the Creation Stewardship Ministry in New Hope Presbytery in North Carolina and the surrounding region. She loves discovering in the wild and her action interests include litter, safe crossings for wildlife, water, and wildlife habitat. Tama finds strength for this calling through her relationship with Christ, family and friends, and earth care companions.

Nan Fayer is the Southeast Regional Representative, from Mississippi to Delaware, for the PEC Steering Committee and Advocacy Group member. She lives in Ellicott City, MD where she advocates for environmental legislation addressing the health of the Chesapeake Bay. As a member of First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, she founded the monthly Earth Forum for civil and informed discussion of climate change and sustainable living. In the Baltimore Presbytery, she worked with the Presbytery’s Creation Care Group, and Heartland Presbytery, to successfully overture the 220th General Assembly to affirm the authority and funding of the EPA.

Lynne Gibbons works daily to maintain and protect Menucha’s environment and the beauty of its National Scenic Vista on the Columbia River Gorge. As staff gardener, he maintains historic specimen trees on the grounds, coordinates weekly volunteer gardeners, and conducts guest tours. As an historian, he has developed an extensive visual history of Menucha at the time it was home to Oregon Governor Julius L. Meier.

Andrew Kang Bartlett is the national associate for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, a PC(USA) ministry that works to build economically and racially just and sustaining local food economies in the US and globally through collaborative work with Presbyterians, partners, coalitions and social movements by addressing the structures perpetuating poverty and exploitation. Andrew engages locally with the Food in Neighborhoods Community Coalition, the Louisville Food Coop initiative, Black Lives Matter Police Accountability Team, Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice, and serves on the National Farm Worker Ministry board.  In his free time he practices ecstatic dance, yoga, bouldering, and food growing.

The Rev. Curtis Karns is the Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Yukon, which oversees 23 churches across Alaska. Rev. Karns and wife Cindee, are stalwart stewards of creation, living in Alaska’s only bioshelter and primary founders of Yukon Presbyterians for Earth Care.

Jeanette Kloos is President at Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway. She is a Certified Environmental Professional in Environmental Documentation who has worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation and other agencies. One of her life goals is to help complete the restoration of the Historic Columbia River highway so that it is possible to ride a bike from Troutdale to The Dalles without being on Interstate 84.

The Rev. W. Mark Koenig serves as the coordinator for leadership development, racial justice, and network support in the Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry. He has served as director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, and associate for antiracism training. He also served on the staff of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve and has been co-pastor of churches in Iowa and Ohio. He is a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary and Westminster College (PA).

Nora Leccese  is the Associate for Domestic Policy and Environmental Issues with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness. The focus of her portfolio is advocacy for federal policy that supports racial and economic justice, justice for migrants, and protection for the whole inhabited earth. Nora is an Emerson National Hunger Fellow and a graduate of the University of Colorado with a degree in economics and a focus on community leadership. In her home state of Colorado, she co-founded and chaired the board of a national food rescue non-profit.

Jessica Maudlin joined the Presbyterian Hunger Program Staff in 2009. She currently serves with the Enough for Everyone program and works with the Hunger Action Enabler network and Earth Care Congregations. She is a graduate of Hanover College where she focused in the study of Liberation Theology as well as international studies. Her background includes volunteer work in Zambia, Mozambique, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Haiti.

The Menucha Star Team is composed of Tom Showalter, Dan Rounsavell, and David Leatherwood who are members of First Presbyterian Church of Portland. They are in charge of setting up Menucha’s large Celestron NexStar computerized telescope, demonstrating how it can be used and sharing stories and myths about constellations and other celestial objects.

Philip W. Mote is the director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) and a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. His current research interests include regional climate modeling with a superensemble generated by volunteers’ personal computers, and the influence of climate change on western US snowpack. He is the coleader of the NOAA-funded Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) for the Northwest, and also of the Northwest Climate Science Center for the US Department of the Interior. He is President-Elect of the Global Environmental Change Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union. He earned a BA in Physics from Harvard University and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington.

Dr. Kelly O’Hanley is an obstetrician gynecologist with a degree in public health. She has worked in 40 countries to foster the health of mothers and babies. She has taught the next generation of physicians at Stanford and Harvard Universities. A current focus is on climate activism – working with Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Climate Action Coalition, and Center for Sustainable Economy. She has provided testimony at numerous fossil fuel terminal hearings, been a kayaktivist, and helped teach workshops in Portland, Oregon on direct action and civil disobedience.

The Rev. Irvin Porter is pastor of Church of the Indian Fellowship in Tacoma, Washington and serves as the PC(USA)’s Associate for Native American Congregational Support. He is descended from three Native American tribes: Pima, T’hono O’odham, and Nez Perce.  He is the seventh of eight children raised by a single father after the divorce of his parents. He is descended from Twisted Hair, the Nez Perce chief who met Lewis and Clark in 1805. He worked in banking for ten years in Idaho, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa in 1997.

Ryan Rittenhouse joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in June 2013. Before moving to Oregon, Ryan lived in Austin, TX where he worked as an environmental organizer and activist with Public Citizen and Greenpeace. His work there included actions against proposed and existing coal plants, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and a nuclear plant expansion. He has a degree in Communications from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and has worked as an independent film maker as well as in the theater business.

Eileen Schuhmann is a Mission Specialist with the Presbyterian Hunger Program. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. She has a BA in French and International Economics and a MA in Sociology. She wrote her master’s thesis on the Anti-Bottled Water Movement.

NOTE: Bios for Spirit of the Salmon Environmental Justice Immersion and Panels will be added later.


September 24. 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff. Native Ways of Being and Knowing.  Native and modern Western ways of being are rooted in different assumptions about the world and our relationship to it. Ilarion was brought up in a traditional way in Alaska, that embedded in him a deep appreciation for Native ways of being, knowing and caring for the earth.  He is co-author of Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning. This presentation and dialogue those staying overnight at Menucha. The cost for commuters is $20.

September 27, 8:15 pm onward. PEC Reception. Enjoy a relaxed and convivial evening with fellow conference participants with local wines, kombucha and juices, cheeses and other local delights. We will kick off the evening with a short presentation on the sustainability leadership of NW wineries by Bruce Felix, Owner and Manager of Pacific Winemaking.  Display tables include Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, Presbyterians for Earth Care, Creation Justice Ministries, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission and Earth Care Congregations. Also, learn about the Menucha’s ecosystem with Warren Aney. Location: Wright Hall and Patio

September 28, 8:15 to 9:00 PEC Awards Celebration. Join with PEC as it celebrates the accomplishments and leadership of individuals and organizations in Earth Care.

The follow activities are offered starting at 9:00 pm: Awe and Wonder: Searching the Stars. Youth and Young Adult Gathering. Eco-Film and Fireside Stories.


Nature Exploration: Monday, September 25, Visit to Eagle Creek Salmon Spawning Area near Cascade Locks . Transportation and interpretation provided by Gorge Hikes to Punchbowl Falls and the Sandy River Delta,  including a trail with a Confluence Project installation by Maya Lin.

Tuesday, September 26, 10:15 to Noon. Caring for the Earth at Menucha. Enjoy the beauty of this lovely area while caring for it. Begin with a tour of the Menucha gardens, led by Menucha’s head gardener and arborist. Then practice earth stewardship as you put a trowel in the ground to plant a garden for others to enjoy. Tools and plants will be provided. (In case a rain, an indoor project will be substituted.) Coordinators: Nan Fayer and Lynn Gibbons.  *Note: There will be an extra cost for off-site hikes on Monday and Tuesday TBA.

Birding Hikes  on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Meet in front of Wright Hall at 7 AM.  We will be done by 7:50. Be prepared with hiking shoes and suitable clothing.  Binoculars recommended, field guides for birds helpful. If you would like some indication of what birds might be on site go to the ebird website, search for Multnomah County, Oregon, find hotspot #70, Menucha, and check out the birds that have been seen at Menucha in September. Leader: Dana Eglinton

Awe and Wondeer:  Searching the Stars. Monday at 8:30 pm and Thursday at 9:00 pm. Explore the wonder and magnificence of the western sky through the lens of Menucha’s telescope and experience the clarity of the far-reaching telescope, see the constellations and much more. Enjoy this unique experience that is no longer possible in urbanized areas in and learn about the stars. Leaders: The Menucha Star Team.


Prayer and Meditation Resources and Sites are offered to be done individually on a participant’s own time. The sites offered are easy to get to and provide a glimpse into local flora, fauna, geology, ecology. A written resource identifies the location and significant features, offers a Scripture, suggests a prayer, and suggests a meditation. Facilitator: Tama Eller.