Steward of God's Creation Award

The Steward of God?s Creation award is bestowed to those individuals who exhibit courage and commitment in the caring and keeping of the earth in a heroic, distinguished and effective manner. Awardees are determined by a vote of religious leaders and bestowed at a public event, normally the National Prayer Breakfast for Creation Care, which is sponsored annually by a coalition of religious organizations and affiliates.

   

Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM
Durham, North Carolina

Jacek Fr. Jacek Orzecholwski is a Franciscan friar and priest who takes the example of Saint Francis seriously. As a seminarian he attended an early Washington Week program and after ordination continued with the work of the Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation. To engage his fellow Franciscans in awareness of the seriousness of forest conservation issues, he issued a challenge to his brothers to develop a formal declaration to alert Roman Catholics of the need to preserve and protect our remaining public forests. The result was not only a strong statement declaring the responsibility of Franciscans to advocate for the protection of old growth and an end to commercial logging of the national forests, but also a call to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and for Franciscan in particular to look to their tradition which challenges us to a healing and reconciliation with all creation. In his elaboration on this need, Fr. Jacek recalled that Saint Francis of Assisi forbade his followers to cut down a whole tree so that it might grow up again and that with great gladness he exhorted the forests to love God and serve Him joyfully. His awareness of the profound interconnectedness and kinship with the creation led St. Francis to experience  all life as embraced by a loving God. With all this in mind, he successfully urged his Franciscans and all people to take up a discipline of using only recycled waste paper, to reduce consumption of wood products, to purchase paper that is either 100% recycled or made with post-consumer recycled paper, and to pray for wisdom concerning the value of forests. His work has spread widely. The Catholic Bishops of Mexico, in part inspired by his reminder of the example of Jesus Christ, passed a strong statement on forest policy after reading of the Franciscan declaration on forest conservation. For this inspired work, Fr. Jacek was awarded a 2004 Steward of the Forest award.

 

 

LIST OF RECIPIENTS

1999
Vincent Rossi
Chad Hanson

2000

Dr. Bob Marshall
Rev. Owen Owens
Julia "Butterfly" Hill
Jim Davidson
Dr. Robert Jonas

2001

Chief Michael Dombeck
Dr. Barak Gale

2002

Hume Davenport
Ann Alexander

2003

Rep. Cynthia McKinney

2004

Connie Hanson
Fr. Jacek Orzechowski

2005

Rev. Peter Moore-Kochlacs

 

 

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2006

Allen Johnson

2007

Rabbi Warren Stone
Thomas Herschelmen

2008

Carlos Agnesi
Fred Krueger

2009

Dr. Calvin DeWitt

2010

Dr. James Hansen

2011

Lisa Jackson

2012

Wendell Berry
Dr. Tom English
Dr. Lise Van Susteren

2013

Bill McKibben
Larry Gibson