biography • beth norcross
Education and Career Experience
After receiving a B.A. in mathematics and a Master of Forestry from Duke University, Beth spent the early part of her career working as professional staff for the U.S. Senate National Parks and Forests Subcommittee, where she helped draft and move legislation to protect numerous National Parks, National Forests and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
After leaving the Senate, Beth worked as Vice President of Conservation for American Rivers, a conservation organization dedicated to the protection of rivers and riverine habitat. There she coordinated the federal, state and local conservation efforts of a large staff, including two regional offices, as well as overseeing the annual Endangered Rivers Report.
Beth returned to school to study the interface between ecology and theology at Wesley Theological Seminary. There she completed Master of Theological Studies and Doctor of Ministry degrees, specializing in eco-theology. Her Doctor of Ministry dissertation explored the National Parks as sacred ground.
Curriculum and Guides
And God Saw That It Was Good is a four-week Christian study guide to the Ken Burns’ film, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (published by Earth Ministry and WETA). This well-received curriculum uses stunning clips from the film to explore the Biblical roots of God’s presence in the natural world. Beth also developed a one-week interfaith guide to the film: Awakening the Spirit.
Stewards of the Bay: Sacred Waters (published by the National Council of Churches) is a five-week adult Christian education course, designed to study God’s gift of water, as expressed by the significant role that water plays in Scripture, as well as its ecological importance. Prepared as part of a larger publication by the National Council of Churches, each session covers a specific aspect of the sacred gift of water.
By the Waters, (published by Earth Ministry and American Rivers) is a comprehensive congregational guide to understanding and appreciating water as a life-giving gift from God, to be used for God’s creative and life-giving purposes. Beth wrote the introductory theological and ecological imperatives for protecting water, sermon concepts to aid preaching on the subject of water, and three Sunday school curricula for children, youth and adults.
Building a Firm Foundation: A Creation-Friendly Building Guide for Churches (published by the National Council of Churches) is a comprehensive congregational guide to using environmentally friendly and sustainable building practices on new building projects, renovations or repairs.
Books and Articles
Norcross, Beth. "Contributing Voices." In: Hopkins, Denise. Wisdom Commentary, Psalms, Books 2-3. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016.
Norcross, Beth. “Eye on the Sparrow.” Sojourners Magazine, August 2012, pp. 32-35.
Norcross, Beth. “Journey of the Universe and Methodism.” In Living Cosmology: Christian Response to Journey of the Universe, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, 273-280. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2016.
Norcross, Beth. “Public Lands: Preserving Our Spiritual Geography.” EARTHletter, Winter 2013-2014, cover story.
Norcross, Beth. Use Your Fingers, Use Your Toes: A Step-by-Step Guide to All Your Everyday Math Problems. Sterling, VA: Capitol Books, 2004.
Kearns, Laurel with Beth Norcross. “Greening Our Seminaries.” In Love God, Heal Earth: 21 Leading Voices Speak Out on Our Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment, edited by The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, 167-180. Pittsburgh: St. Lynn’s Press, 2009.
Beth lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where she and her husband raised their three children. She enjoys all outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, snow-shoeing and skiing. In 1998, Beth founded Babes on Bikes, a popular Washington, D.C.-based women’s bicycling organization. More recently, she is enjoying playing on a local women’s basketball team.
Beth has volunteered in a variety of capacities with religious and secular organizations related to environmental issues, bicycling, hunger relief and mathematics tutoring.