August Environmental Ministry Calendar

August Environmental Ministry Calendar

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Curated by the SNEC Environmental Ministry Team 

NEW!  2022 Faith Matters Voting Challenge starts now!
Voting is one of the most - if not the most - powerful tools we have as people of faith.  Voting takes your caring values into the public square and thereby into other people’s lives.  Your vote matters, not just in the big national election years, but in all the local and state elections in between, because politicians pay attention to the priorities of people who vote
The Environmental Ministries Team has developed resources to mobilize congregations through the 2022 Faith Matters Voting Challenge.  We have partnered with the Environmental Voter Project (EVP) to promote the SNEUCC Creation Care Voter Pledge and put love into action for every living creature and for every economically or racially marginalized community that suffers from environmental harm.
For more information and resources, visit www.sneucc.org/faith-matters-voting-challenge  While you are there, check out our Green Congregation Challenge, a step-by-step approach that helps houses of worship take small, but consequential, steps towards protecting God’s Creation www.sneucc.org/green-congregation-challenge.
It's back to the drawing board for Weymouth Compressor's waterways permit!
Read more about the process that led to the waterways permit being remanded by the DEP adjudicator. Miriam Wasser from WBUR has consistently done excellent reporting on the compressor debacle. Here's a link to her article: It's back to the drawing board for Weymouth Compressor's waterways permit!
Right now, prayers would be very helpful. Commissioner Martin Suuberg needs to make a move and approve of the adjudicator's recommendation. We know that Enbridge will be fighting this and we've seen before how persuasive they have been with MA DEP. 
Faith Communities & Climate Resilience Summit
Thursday, August 18: 5 - 8 PM Eastern, via Zoom
The impact of climate change on our communities is no longer in doubt. We all feel these impacts in one way or another, be they from heat waves, wildfires, or floods. Often, our faith buoys us through these difficult times by providing food, shelter, or hope for a better tomorrow.  But moving beyond reaction, how can faith communities be hubs of resilience, helping our neighbors weather the physical, social, and spiritual storms of the climate crisis? How do we plan and build a world in which the most vulnerable are not simply protected from climate impacts, but empowered to thrive?
 
Interfaith Power and Light affiliates in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, along with Creation Justice Ministries and the Southeast Faith Leaders Network are sponsoring an evening of discussion and workshops on building climate resilience and restoring our communities to places of safety, justice, and prosperity. Learn how faith communities. Learn more or register.  
"Tree of Life" Workshop with Rabbi Katy Allen
Sunday, August 21 from 2-7 pm ET
Open Spirit, Framingham
 
Join Rabbi Katy Allen for an afternoon of multimedia interaction and meditation on a journey through trauma toward healing, using her new book, A Tree of Life: A Story in Word, Image and Text.  Ideal for social justice and climate activists and anyone stressed out by life and the state of the world. Accessible for an interfaith or a Jewish group. Workshop cost is $20 plus the book.  Register here
All Summer! Shave the Peak.
On really hot days when everyone cranks the AC, regional electricity demand activates expensive and dirty power plants that pollute our air and hike up the electricity rates. You can make a difference through Green Energy Consumer Alliance’s “Shave the Peak” program. On hot days, they text or email Shave the Peak participants to conserve energy during certain hours. Learn more at the webinar recording “What is "peak" and why is it so bad for the environment?" or just sign up for Shave the Peak notices and share with others.
Action Pact 2022: Ready, Resilient, Reinvented is a three-month initiative to spotlight the topic of climate change through the programs of Boston's world-class arts, history, sports, and entertainment organizations. The coordinated effort⁠ is composed of longer-term and singular programs and initiatives, including; exhibitions, installations, panel discussions, film screenings, lectures, children's programs, workshops, festivals, and more. Check out their many upcoming programs and events. More here.  
Green Team Summit!
Sunday-Wednesday, Sept 11 - 14
Keynote Address: Sunday, Sept 11, 6-7:30 pm
Interfaith Power and Light affiliate in Illinois, Faith in Place, is hosting this free event in person and online. Event kicks off with a Keynote Address and live Q&A with Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, author of Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World". Dr. Hayhoe is also chief climate scientist for The Nature Conservancy, and a distinguished professor and chair at Texas Tech University. The full agenda includes a variety of spiritual and practical sessions such as "Healing Centered Justice", "Interwoven: Exploring Environmental Justice from a Faith Perspective", and "Green Team Networking."  Learn more or register for the Green Team Summit here 
Preaching Climate Justice: A Conversation with Jim Antal and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Thursday, September 15 ~ 10:00-11:15 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Join us for another lively presentation by two religious leaders who are committed to encouraging climate preaching that is both pastoral and prophetic. There will be ample time for questions and conversation, as well as suggestions for how to preach on some of the texts assigned for upcoming Sundays in Creation Season. This event is open at no charge to all preachers, lay and ordained. For more information and to register, click here.  Participants are encouraged to read Bullitt-Jonas’ article, “Preaching When Life Depends on It: Climate Crisis and Gospel Hope” (Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2021) and Antal’s chapter, “Prophetic Preaching: Freeing the Pulpit from Fear,” in his book, Climate Church, Climate World.
SEASON OF CREATION (September 1- October 4)
Celebrated by more than two billion Christians around the world, Creation Season begins with the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation on September 1, and concludes with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, on October 4. This year, consider exploring the theme of the 2022 Season of Creation: “Listen to the Voice of Creation.” Its logo is the burning bush, which symbolizes both the devastating fires of climate crisis and the divine fire of the Holy Spirit. The fire that called to Moses affirmed that God heard the cries of all who suffered and would be with us as we followed in faith to our deliverance from injustice. Check Seasonofcreation.org to find downloadable resources for organizing events, leading liturgy, advocacy campaigns/asks, and more.
A SPECIAL INVITATION: The New Hampshire and Massachusetts affiliates of Interfaith Power and Light invite you to join them via Zoom on September 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm for an interfaith prayer service on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.  
This interfaith prayer service will unite us around the theme, Listen to the Voice of Creation. Through prayer, we’ll respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and renew our unity, hope, and commitment to action to protect our common home. Register for the Zoom Link to the Interfaith Prayer Service.  
From Sunday, October 2 through Sunday, October 9, Greenfaith invites people of faith to plan actions as part of Faiths 4 Climate Justice. Together we can lift up our moral values of reverence, justice, and compassion, and call upon our leaders to safeguard our future. The ten demands are listed here. Think about creating a prayer vigil or a procession, perhaps in front of a bank that funds fossil fuels. For inspiration, watch the wrap-up video for Greenfaith’s recent event, Sacred People, Sacred Earth. More info here.  
Start Now to Reduce Energy Costs This Winter
 While we are still enjoying picnics, beach outings, and other summer fun activities, no one wants to think about the coming winter and the heating bills! Getting started now will put you ahead of the official Energy Efficiency Day, October 5!
 
For your house of worship, consider engaging MassIPL for an Environmental Stewardship Assessment. This assessment, geared to the unique design and use of faith communities' buildings, examines 24 energy-saving opportunities and provides specific recommendations ranging from easy, low-cost actions to major projects like upgrading your heating equipment. Check out the link above or email esa@MassIPL.org to learn more.
 
Collectively, the homes of congregation members use far more energy than the house of worship. If you haven't had a MassSave assessment in two years, schedule a free home assessment now. The program updated its incentives this year, and continues to pay 100% of the cost of air sealing your home and 75% for adding insulation -- and up to 100% for low income customers. You pay for the MassSave assessment through a small charge on your utility bill each month, so use this opportunity to get some of the money back while you lower your carbon emissions.
Love.Earth.Justice. 2022
Multi-faith Worship and Workshops to Make a Difference
Sunday, October 16, 2-5 pm ET
First Unitarian Church of Worcester
90 Main Street, Worcester, MA
MassIPL presents an afternoon of celebration and community engagement, in collaboration with our host Faith Action Network affiliate, Worcester Congregations for Climate & Environmental Justice. An hour of worship with Rev. Vernon K. Walker preaching will be followed by two 50-minute workshop slots, each offering two workshops simultaneously.

Join us for a Blessed Tomorrow Climate Training – Nov. 5 from 11 AM to 3 PM ET
The United Church of Christ and ecoAmerica are partnering to offer the Blessed Tomorrow Ambassadors Training Program. This free, virtual, interactive training will cover the links between climate and faith, the spectrum of solutions, how to speak effectively on the topic, and opportunities to act and advocate. Join us on Saturday, November 5 from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm ET. Learn more and register here!


Reflection on the Moral March in D.C. 
Nancy Leckerling from First Congregational Church of Guilford in Connecticut and the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team writes about the powerful experience she had in attending the Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March in Washington, D.C. Leckerling recounts the inspiring and impactful messages that energized her commitment to a movement that addresses multiple, interlocking injustices. Read her thoughtful reflection.


Action: We Need a Strong Methane Rule
In the last Creation Justice Webinar, Lois Bower-Bjornson spoke powerfully about her experiences in battling the fracking that threatens the health of her family and community in Pennsylvania. To continue in solidarity with her efforts, we are invited to let the EPA know that we need the strongest methane rule possible.


The Baptist Joint Committee asks us to Add your name to a letter to Congress to protect sacred land! The San Carlos Apache Tribe wants to protect Chí’chil Biłdagoteel — loosely translated in English as “Oak Flat.” But, if the federal government gives Oak Flat to a mining operation, the area will be permanently destroyed. Read this letter and add your name in support of the Save Oak Flat Act (H.R. 1884/S. 915). BJC will deliver it to Congress for Indigenous Peoples Day this year. Once you sign the letter, invite your friends, family, and faith community to join you! 


Join Interfaith Power and Light’s 2022 Faith Climate Justice Voter Campaign to reach out to people of faith and conscience, to make sure they are registered and ready to vote, and to mobilize them to vote their values of caring for our common home and loving our neighbors.
 
You can also download IPL’s Faithful Voter Reflection Guide to use at the kitchen table, in a house of worship, at a community forum, or at an event with political candidates. The guide discusses many of the defining moral issues of our time that are on the ballot: faltering democratic institutions, too much wealth in the hands of a few, damage to the climate, cruel immigration policies that tear families apart, mass incarceration that devastates communities of color, and threats to global public health and security. Download the guide here.
Voter Suppression, Climate Justice and the Polluter-Industrial Complex: How the Corporate Assault on American Democracy and Climate are Connected
Over the last 10 years, we have seen an attack on American democracy for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry and its corporate allies.  Read this new report from the Global Center for Climate Justice showing the connections between polluters and voter suppression. Read the report here.
Solar for Houses of Worship!
On April 7, MassIPL hosted a webinar that featured three houses of worship currently in the process of evaluating and installing solar. The speakers described the challenges and how they are working through them. An "open forum" followed, which addressed a wide range of questions, including how to deal with historic commissions and how to finance with funds from congregants. You can view the entire Solar Open Forum webinar here. The YouTube page lists the questions that were addressed, along with the timing of when they were discussed, so you can jump right to the topic that most interests you.
Has your faith community considered solar? MassIPL can help guide you through the process! Email MassIPL with your solar inquiry: solar@massipl.org
Sign the Petition: Tell Attorney General Garland to End Opposition to Youth Climate Justice
In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, against the U.S. government.  These 21 young people are seeking a judicial declaration that the U.S. fossil fuel energy system is unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to a safe climate. A victory in their case would mean that all current and future U.S. climate and energy policy - whether executive or legislative in nature, and regardless of political majority or party - would need to adhere to the court’s declaratory judgment, protecting the rights of our nation’s children to a safe climateFor more information and to sign, visit here.
Join Community Action Works to ask our Senators to support the PFAS Action Act. Toxic chemicals called PFAS have contaminated waterways across the country, endangering up to 110 million Americans. The PFAS Action Act would require the EPA to limit dumping of PFAS into our waterways and place a moratorium on new PFAS chemicals. Edit and sign the letter here.
Christians and Climate Change with Bill McKibben
Available anytime • Online ($10)
In this new online course offered by ChurchNext, Bill McKibben shows us that we still have time to take climate action -- but not as much time as we once had, and not as completely as we once might have been able to manage. For more information and to register, click here.
Green your electricity with locally generated, renewable energy
If we make the right renewable energy choices, we can shift the New England electric grid away from fossil fuels. Customers of National Grid or Eversource in MA/RI can sign up with Green Energy Consumers Alliance.  In any case, ditch your clothes dryer and hang laundry on a line!
Faith Action Network Update: Worcester Congregations for Climate and Environmental Justice are training, organizing, and rallying!
 On June 29th, the Worcester Congregations for Climate and Environmental Justice (a Faith Action Network affiliate) hosted a climate justice workshop and potluck, with thirty in-person participants and more on Zoom. Participants shared food, built relationships, and learned about how to conduct a one-on-one organizing meeting from Tali Smookler of UU Mass Action.

Building on the momentum from the workshop, WCCEJ organized an Eleventh Hour Vigil at 11am on July 11th as part of Mass Power Forward's statewide legislative day of action. The rally was well attended and led to a feature on WCCEJ by local news outlet The Rambler. Since these events, WCCEJ has grown even more, organizing against new gas infrastructure in Worcester and working with MassIPL to co-sponsor the upcoming Love.Earth.Justice event in October!

Jubilee Justice Leadership Program - applications due September 16 Jubilee is a 6-month online cohort, specifically for lay leaders (though open to clergy as well), who are looking to connect their faith with social justice. The program combines workshops about progressive Christianity and justice, skill-building for justice work, and spiritual reflection, with work directly in a local justice organization and their local church.

While this program is not specifically for people interested in environmental issues, it is a great opportunity to connect environmental work with wider justice movements -- and the service with a local organization allows you to connect with an environmental organization doing work that resonates with you.  Apply here!


Racial Justice Summit - Saturday, September 24 Racial justice is environmental justice, and environmental justice is racial justice. The Racial Justice Summit is an opportunity to connect your Creation care work with the movements for racial justice and liberation.

Join us for worship, workshops focused on developing relationships and strategies, and sessions that will help us spiritually sustain our work for the long haul. Register here for in-person or virtual options. 


Nature & Neighbors: Youth Environmental Justice Retreats - session options October - May Like all Christians, youth are called to leadership and ministry within their congregations and communities. The Nature & Neighbors retreats recognizes the call many young people feel to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice and encourages them to draw on the resources of our faith for inspiration and sustenance. Nature & Neighbors is an environmental justice retreat for youth, a shared program of the Southern New England Conference justice team, Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, and Irons Homestead Camp & Retreat. There are four sessions of this one-day retreat to choose from, and middle and high school groups of any size are welcome to sign up:   

  • October 8, 2022 at Silver Lake 
  • October 22, 2022 at Irons Homestead 
  • February 18, 2023 at Irons Homestead (snow date – March 25) 
  • May 6, 2023 at Silver Lake 
 Each session will include exploration of environmental racism and environmental justice; engaging scripture and spiritual practices that inspire and sustain action; and experiencing God’s Creation firsthand at either Silver Lake or Irons Homestead, two of the beautiful outdoor ministry sites affiliated with the Conference. 
Learn more and register and contact Emma for group rates or scholarships.

Contact Information

Karen Methot

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Author

victoria guest crop.jpg
Vicky A. Guest

The Rev. Victoria Alford Guest is a member of the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team and former pastor of the First Congregational Church in Natick, MA.

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