The week before last, I was blessed to join hundreds of faith leaders who gathered in Washington D.C. for Coming Together in Faith on Climate. Co-sponsoring the event with Convergence, Washington National Cathedral, Auburn Theological Seminary, Interfaith Power and Light (Md. DC. No.VA), Divest/Invest and Faith in Public Life - Blessed Tomorrow amplified Pope Francis’ call for climate solution, care for creation and ecological justice.
On Wednesday Sep. 23, Blessed Tomorrow Leadership Circle members and guests including Rev. Jim Antal, Rev. Stephanie Johnson, Rev. Nancy Wilson, Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Rev. Cameron Trimble, Rev. Carol Devine, Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, Shantha Alonso, ecoAmerica Board members and founder of Divest/Invest Individual, Lisa Renstrom, as well as, ecoAmerica Board Chair Frank Loy, joined together to discuss faith leadership on climate and to watch Pope Francis arrive at St. Matthews Cathedral from our exclusive vantage point.
On Thursday night at Washington National Cathedral, we celebrated with song, prayer, and words of inspiration, amidst the sacred walls of American religious history and action. Friday morning, faith leaders convened to discuss ways to accelerate leadership and collaboration for climate solutions and make climate change an even broader moral and social issue.
Participants included Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Rev. Brian McLaren, Rabbi Steve Gutow, Imam Mohamed Magid, Rev. John Dorhauer, Rev. Sharon Watkins, Rev. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Sister Simone Campbell, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, the most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Rev. Jim Wallis, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, and many more climate leaders. Each leader spoke from their heart, sharing stories about something or someone who inspired their climate work – families they know who have been impacted by climate change, a special place that is threatened, and above all, a love of God’s earth which sustains everyone.
See the full video here!
There’s an old saying that work is love made visible. As faith leaders and communities spoke out, shared their stories, fast, held prayer vigils, marched, greeted Pope Francis at the White House, convened and hosted other events around the country, their faithful witness added a loud Amen to Pope Francis’ call for a healthy, just and sustainable world for our future and our children.
We have an opportunity to carry this momentum forward in the coming months by accelerate climate solutions. One of the many ways you can participate is to join the Coming Together in Faith on Climate leaders by pledging to take action on these five initiatives:
- Further engage on the climate issue by speaking to other faith leaders about climate change to build awareness and support for climate solutions.
- Energize by forming a clean energy group in their faith community
- Divest/Invest by shifting congregational and personal savings out from fossil fuels and into clean investments.
- Vote to make climate one of their top three issues in every election.
- Educate by staying informed and continue to educate others through all available means.
Each of us has a passion or calling - something or someone in our hearts that brought us to this work. Here are some quotes from the Coming Together in Faith in Climate leaders that I hope speak to your heart, as they did to mine.
All of creation waits for us…to step up to preserve our God-given planetary home. How long must creation wait? - Rev Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The poorest suffer the most although they are not the ones to cause it. We have used the earth with greed rather than care. We need transformational leadership. May God help us find that leadership - Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe
Anguish of the past can lead to hope. Our people are weeping. We need to weep. The world is saying to us, how long is this going to go on?...The toxicity of our earth, the toxicity of racism. When we plant seeds and open our eyes to the needs of our time, toxicity ends. - Sister Simone Campbell, author of A Nun on the Bus
The earth is one of the greatest manifestations of God. God has created the earth for all creation. Religious leaders who go to [the international climate talks in] Paris must choose in favor of their firmest values and not their pettiest interests. - Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool
We are not loving God’s world if we are viewing it as a commodity. Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Challenge the immovable mountains in your neighborhood – Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of the Episcopal Church
How we care for the earth is inextricably bound with how we care for our neighbors. - Rev. Amy Butler, Pastor of Riverside Church