The Story of Nashville A Rocha – Part I

by Flo Paris-Oakes

A pair of juvenile Great Horned Owls in Jill and Andy's yard. Photo by Jill Phillips.
A pair of juvenile Great Horned Owls in Jill and Andy’s yard. Photo by Jill Phillips.

Practically and on paper, A Rocha is a Christian conservation organization with international roots. The ecological work of A Rocha stretches from Portugal where it was formed, to Lebanon, Switzerland, Uganda, Canada, France, the UK, the U.S., and beyond. The projects sprout up quite organically, most of them beginning as ecological needs recognized by the local population.

I learned all of this not from a brochure or a website, but in my friend Jenna’s living room.

We sat huddled together–a small handful of friends, church goers, and musicians–anyone interested in how we as Christians could play a role in protecting God’s creation. Over coffee and lovingly prepared dessert, we listened to Tom Rowley tell the story of A Rocha.

I was immediately struck by the difference between A Rocha and any other environmental group I had been involved with. Where other groups had felt desperate, A Rocha was hopeful. Where other groups had felt angry, A Rocha felt joyful. Where other groups felt hostile, A Rocha felt welcoming. And because of its Christian roots, where other groups felt devoid of spiritual purpose, A Rocha felt worshipful.

Born with an ache for the beauty of God’s creation, I had been longing to do meaningful ecological work. And here, with Christ as center and in obedience to His calling, I had found a place.

And I was not alone…

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