To Save the World - Beth Norcross
Beth Norcross set out to save the world single-handedly. Then, she burned out. That’s when Beth “left the Earth work to others” and decided to do something “less complicated” - she went to seminary.
Beth Norcross set out to save the world single-handedly. Coming from a Wesleyan tradition, she was compelled to put her faith into action. Known for years as the “Lady Forester” because of her forestry education, she had a long career in the environmental field, working for the Senate Parks and Forest Subcommittee and American Rivers. Then, she burned out. That’s when Beth “left the Earth work to others” and decided to do something “less complicated” - she went to seminary.
However, Beth could not escape her old life. At Wesley seminary, she found the Earth presenting itself in classes on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, , spirituality, theology, and even church history. A new call was emerging to do Earth work, but in a different way. She realized it was not her job to save the world, it was God’s; all she had to do was be faithful to the call.
Early in this transformation, Beth found Earth Ministry. She was “overwhelmed and delighted that there was a group with Earth and Ministry in the same name”. Beth ordered the Greening Congregation Handbook and became even more impressed. “Earth Ministry is doing some of the most important Earth work in the country today. [Earth Ministry] is small and lean; they know what they are doing, and they do it well. I wanted to be a part of that work by becoming a member, a donor, and ultimately co-contributor”
Beth was not only a co-contributor of the newest module of the Caring for All Creation curriculum, “By the Waters”, she brought American Rivers and Earth Ministry together; “It seemed like a match made in, well, heaven.”
When asked what excites her most about “By the Waters”, Beth replied, “The process and the product. It is, to my knowledge, the first joint venture between a national environmental organization and a faith organization. It's a natural marriage, born of shared concern for the earth...I am quite pleased with the product… it includes so many entry points to caring for God's sacred waters -- sermons, liturgy, education, and, of course, action.”