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We are a blessed people in Big Sky Country, for our deep connections to creation and the wisdom that comes from managing resources for the good of all. Our precious connections to earth and neighbor call us protect everything around us for our own communities and beyond. These concepts of earth stewardship and care of each other are core sacred values.

What we know to be so true here is also borne out as we look to the farthest reaches, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This land in Alaska moves us to attention in an age where landscapes such as this are often under-appreciated for their beauty, ecological, and cultural significance. The Arctic Refuge is also the ancestral home of the Gwich'in, a group of Alaskan natives who depend on this land for both subsistence and preservation of their culture.

In Washington, D.C., the administration and Congress will decide the fate of the Arctic Refuge and whether or not it will be opened for oil drilling. Here in Montana, let us lend our voice to protect this invaluable piece of God’s earth in order to preserve sacred land for our neighbors and to showcase our regard for stewarding God’s creation. The Arctic Refuge is in the same world that bares the truth of our Big Sky wisdom, that caring for this wildlife refuge is valuing neighbors and honoring God’s good creation. We know to care, so give testament for the land and people in the Arctic Refuge.

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Rev. Dr. Marc Stewart

Billings

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