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Rev. Brooks Berndt
Before becoming the UCC Minister for Environmental Justice in 2015, Berndt served for eight years as the pastor of First Congregational UCC in Vancouver, Washington. While there, he became active in two environmental campaigns that were ultimately successful: transitioning the state of Washington away from its only coal plant and preventing the establishment of the largest marine oil terminal in the country in Vancouver.
During his time as pastor, Berndt published his first book Sounding the Trumpet: How Churches Can Answer God’s Call to Justice. It was co-authored with the Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., a prophetic pastor at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California. Scholar Cornel West described the book as “a masterpiece…full of deep spiritual truths.”
Berndt is now working on his second book which is tentatively entitled Dear Parents, Grandparents, and Anyone Who Has a Heart for Children: It’s Time for Climate Action. The inspiration for the book arose from Berndt’s observations of what fundamentally motivates people to address the climate. Berndt noticed that the people with whom he works on climate issues are consistently compelled to act by the Three Great Loves: love of neighbor, love of children, and love of creation.
Shantha has a passion for working ecumenically. She worked for the National Council of Churches from 2008-2013 doing young adult, anti-poverty, and eco-justice ministries. She also served as vice chair of the World Student Christian Federation from 2008-2015. Shantha is a contributing author to For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the Future of the Church and editor of the anthology: Towards a Global Christian Movement for Eco-Justice: Young Voices from North America. Most recently, Shantha led the community mobilization efforts of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, the organization that created Nuns on the Bus. Shantha holds a Master of Social Work and a Master of Pastoral Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and Eden Theological Seminary.