This is My Father’s World

You perhaps know by now that Floyd County is on the map of the proposed route of a large inter-state natural gas pipeline.

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This has been rightly identified as an issue of stewardship appropriate for consideration by congregations across the county.

Heck–given the large number of churches in Floyd County, odds are it could very well be that one of those churches might have a 42″ pipe coming right down the middle aisle and out through the narthex.

Christians have a dog in this fight. How we use or abuse creation is not an inconsequential after-thought in either Old or New Testaments. We cannot be silent by-standers in this matter of servanthood and not be seen as hypocrites.

The churches can provide an appropriate setting for discussion and information-sharing about the risks and costs of the pipeline to church properties including cemeteries.

They can host discussions about how to peacefully but firmly confront the first agents who request access to properties.

They can educate congregations on how to be wise and faithful servants in general in the use of the resources over which they have been given responsibility, and in particular, about the complex issues involved in resisting eminent domain or mitigating damages to our community if the pipeline cannot be stopped altogether.

SO: If you have a church affiliation in Floyd County, please consider bringing this issue ASAP to your minister, sunday school teachers, board of elders or another appropriate entry point.

Begin having these discussions right away while time remains to do what’s right in this important future-changing issue confronting all of us.

Need Information about natural gas pipelines in general? 

Need information about the proposed Floyd County pipeline in particular?


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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Am so glad you are taking a stand on this natural gas pipeline and I wish you and the people of Floyd County good luck in fighting this project. I am sure the government will do what the government wants to do no matter who it hurts or what sacred things such as churches, cemeteries, homes, towns and last but not least peoples lives that will be disrupted and heritage destroyed. So sad especially the eminent domain aspect of it. This will indeed be a life-changing event for so many.