The climate crisis is in the news. Wildfires, droughts, flash floods and heat domes are no longer reported as isolated incidents. Public opinion is shifting from skepticism about climate change to broad-based acceptance that the climate emergency is human caused. People of faith can move the conversation and spark action to protect vulnerable communities and preserve a livable world for future generations.
The SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team wants to support your congregation to step up to the challenge we face. The team has revised and updated the Green Congregation Challenge to resource congregations with steps to engage all ages, stages, and interests to become a part of the solution.
Choose and complete steps from 5 different categories (Educate, Organize, Connect, Advocate, and Reduce/Recycle/Rethink) to reach a total of 14 steps and receive recognition from the Southern New England Conference for completion of your level.
A dedicated team has gathered ample links to resources to get you started. For more information, check out the Challenge TODAY!
Climate-Crisis Preaching: A Conversation with Jim Antal and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas ~ Thursday, September 16, 10 AM
Preaching on climate change is more important than ever. Please join this informal (virtual) hour-long conversation with two religious climate leaders who between them have preached on climate change more than 500 times. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion.
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.
Jim Antal serves as Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. Antal’s 2018 book, Climate Church, Climate World is being read by hundreds of churches. From 2006-2018, Antal led the 350 UCC churches in Massachusetts as their Conference Minister and President.
Margaret Bullitt-Jonas serves as Missioner for Creation Care (Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts & Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ) and Creation Care Advisor (Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts). Her 2019 co-edited book, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, includes 21 essays by diverse faith leaders plus study questions and spiritual practices.
For more information or to register, contact Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Bullitt-JonasM@sneucc.org
Season of Creation Celebration Guide
Christian communities around the world are invited to begin planning their Season of Creation celebrations with the new Season of Creation Celebration Guide, now available on the season’s website. Download the guide here. The 52-page guide is full of meaningful ways Christians and communities can participate in the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home later this year.
Among the ideas listed in the free guide: Christians are invited to organize a creation walk or discover new ways to make their lives more sustainable, in line with creating a more resilient future for our common home.
New Creation Justice Webinar ~ September 8, 2021, 1:00 PM - Zoom (Free)
They Knew: 50 years of the U.S. Government Causing the Climate Crisis
This webinar will feature James Gustave Speth, one of our nation's leading environmental voices in recent decades as he releases a new book entitled, They Knew—The US Federal Government's Fifty-Year Role in Causing the Climate Crisis. About the book, Naomi Klein has written, "Devastating. Enraging. Indispensable. Would that the world had more heroic elders like Gus Speth. He has produced a damning record that will become a potent tool for justice.”
Speth served as Chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality during the Carter Administration. From 1993 to 1999, he was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. He then served for a decade as Dean at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is a retired Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School. Notably, he was cofounder of the World Resources Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Even if you cannot make the scheduled time, still sign up, and receive a recording.
The recording of the last Creation Justice Webinar, "False Solutions: Climate Policies That Fail" is now on YouTube.
Climate Solutions & Spiritual Leadership: A Conversation with the All We Can Save Project
Thursday, September 9, 2021, 7:00 – 8:15 PM • Zoom ($15, scholarships available)
Sponsored by The BTS Center, this online event features Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson, Heather McTeer Toney, Mary Anne Hitt, and Madeleine Jubilee Saito, in a celebration of All We Can Save, an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward. To learn more, click here. Registration is open.
Sing for the Planet: Make your Voices Heard at COP26.
Starting now through October 11th
We’ve marched, we’ve voted, we’ve petitioned, now we are going to sing in one large choir, the #HouseOnFireChoir with A Passion for the Planet at the UN Climate Summit. The Climate Emergency means we need to make our voices heard!
Be a part of the finale of the COP26 on-line performance of Geoffrey Hudson’s A Passion for the Planet. Record yourself, your friends, your family, or your choir singing the final hymn, “Holy Earth, Ancient Home.” Send in your performance, and we’ll (literally) bring your voices to Glasgow, Scotland this November! Explore this website for more details on how to participate. (Thanks to the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, who is helping to organize this!)
The Weather is Changing: Are You Prepared? ~ September 24 - 30, 2021
Hosted by CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather), explore how severe weather and climate change affects us all--locally, globally, publicly, and personally. Additionally, learn about how the impacts of climate change and extreme weather intersect with racial, social, and economic justice and how we can respond to these changes from the ground up and the top down. Visit this Link.
We Are God's Soil: Spiritual Leadership in a Climate-Changed World Convocation 2021
Thursday, September 30 - Friday, October 1 • Zoom ($50 – $5 discount for attending as part of a team of 2 or more from a congregation or organization)
The BTS Center hosts an excellent annual convocation. This year features Rev. Mariama White-Hammond and Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Canon for Evangelism and Reconciliation.
Climate change is no longer the science community’s prediction for the future. We are living in a climate-changed world – a world that raises provocative questions:
How might we grieve the losses of the world we once knew and embrace an abused and broken Mother Earth?
How might we rearrange our lives, our priorities, our resources, and our relationships in a climate-changed world?
How might faith communities adopt supportive, comforting, and prophetic practices in a climate-changed world?
How might congregations welcome the stranger, the displaced, and the migrant in a climate-changed world?
What do inclusiveness, justice, and equity look like in a climate-changed world?
How will we — spiritual leaders in many different contexts — maintain determination, courage, and empathy in this climate-changed world?
For more information and to register, click here.
Ecological Conversion: Falling in Love with Earth
Saturday, October 2, 9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Zoom (free)
Led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
“Ecological conversion means falling in love with earth as an inherently valuable, living community in which we participate, and bending every effort to be creatively faithful to its well-being, in tune with the living God who brought it into being and cherishes it with unconditional love.” – Elizabeth Johnson
As we approach the end of Creation Season and prepare for the feast day of St. Francis on October 4, what is our next step in eco-conversion? How does God want to meet us through the natural world? Our time together will include silence and guided meditation, presentations and small group conversation, and free time for solitary prayer and a contemplative walk outdoors. Please bring a natural object to this retreat (e.g., a few autumn leaves, a rock, shell, feather, or house plant).
This retreat is sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and is open to the public at no charge. Registration is now open.
Autumn Interfaith Worship Service: “Love. Earth. Justice.”
Sunday, October 3, 3:00 p.m. • Old South Church, Boston
Please join in this special interfaith worship service in downtown Boston, organized by Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light Margaret Bullit-Jonas will lead worship. Beloved preacher Rev. Traci Blackmon (Associate General Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ) will deliver the sermon. Enjoy uplifting music, prayers, messages, and fellowship.
Save the Date: “Be the Spark” Advocacy Training
Tuesday evenings, October 12, 19, 26, and November 2.
For the bold action necessary to address the climate emergency, we need to provide leaders with the most effective organizing tools. Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light is partnering with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light to offer Be the Spark: Faith-Based Community Organizing for Climate Justice - a dynamic interactive workshop that teaches state-of-the-art organizing skills for religious climate justice activists. If you’ve ever wanted to be more effective in engaging others to join our movement and have more impact in the world, this is for you! To register or for more information, please contact Fran Ludwig at Fran@massipl.org or Rev. Fred Small at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join GreenFaith’s Faiths 4 Climate Justice Global, ~ October 17 - 18
Multi-faith Climate Action
As this year’s UN climate negotiations approach, most governments have failed to meet the Paris goals they set six years ago. Greenfaith invites religious communities to host actions two weeks before the next round of U.N. climate talks.
Speak up for timely support for countries facing the greatest risk from climate change. We can’t afford to wait! Sign up now to organize an action with Faiths 4 Climate Justice!
Wednesday., Sept. 15, Virtual Briefing for Air Quality – Come and invite your Mass. Legislators. Environmental Justice (EJ) populations — people of color, Indigenous people, low-income people, and limited English proficient speakers — are especially affected by air quality problems. On average, residents of color in Massachusetts are exposed to pollution from vehicle emissions that are 26 to 36 percent higher than the exposure of white residents. Join the Environmental Justice Table for a briefing on H.2230, S.1447 - Improving Air Quality for Communities burdened by Transportation Pollution (Representatives Barber and Connolly, Senator Jehlen). Register here. Use this tool to invite your legislators. Save the date for the Oct. 4 briefing on Siting Justice.
Saturday, Sept. 25, Ecumenical Climate Ambassador Training, 11:00 am-3:00 pm
Americans are growing more concerned about climate change. As they witness and experience impacts to their health, livelihoods, and communities, they are increasingly looking for guidance on solutions, from people in their daily lives – including faith leaders like you. This training will equip you with the knowledge, hands-on experience, and resources to speak and act confidently on climate change and solutions.
With this training, and a cohort of like-minded leaders, you will be able to engage your congregations and congregants, colleagues, the public, and policymakers to inspire climate solutions that help protect our families and communities now, and ensure a prosperous, just, and secure future.
The training will run from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM ET, and will include several breaks throughout. Register here.
If you have any questions before registering, please contact FaithAmbassadors@ecoAmerica.org
Sign the petition to Wall Street & President Biden: Defund Climate Chaos
Many financial institutions ― from banks to insurance companies, asset managers to pension funds ― have made new climate commitments, such as “net-zero” emissions by 2050. Yet at the same time they are providing loans, insurance, and billions in investment capital to corporations expanding the fossil fuel industry and deforesting the Amazon and other tropical forests ― companies that are guilty of human rights abuses and violations of Indigenous sovereignty.
Major new fossil fuel projects, such as Line 3, the TransMountain pipeline, the Formosa plastics plant, and major deforestation projects, couldn’t get off the ground without the support of the financial sector and the U.S. government. In order to take climate change seriously, we cannot continue to accept empty promises. Stop funding climate change NOW!
If you are looking for ideas of how you can help de-carbonize your city or town, the Mass Power Forward Checklist is a terrific resource. It contains numerous ways you can engage your community in efforts to create a local environmental task force, increase energy efficiency, promote clean energy and transportation infrastructure, and prepare for the effects of climate change. (Thanks to 350 Mass and Rev. Betsy Sowers!)
Want to ensure that your money is funding the clean energy future and not dirty fossil fuels? It's easy to identify the worst offenders — like Chase, BlackRock and Liberty Mutual — but it's much harder to identify companies that have banished fossil fuels from their business. That's why you might want to explore this new tool from Bank for Good, which enables you to quickly and easily find 31 (and counting) financial institutions that have pledged never to finance, insure, underwrite or invest in the fossil fuel industry. To curb the climate crisis, institutional investors need to pull their money from fossil fuel projects — individual banking choices aren’t going to stop those projects on their own.
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.