White House Meeting

By Rev. Tom Carr

 

Photo of Rev. Tom Carr and Rev. Carol Devine in front of the White House

Photo of Rev. Tom Carr and Rev. Carol Devine in front of the White House

My journey of creation care advocacy began in 1987 when I followed the Garbage Barge (https://www.retroreport.org/video/voyage-of-the-mobro-4000/) on the news. That situation propelled me to act. I began working in the American Baptist Church, USA to help “green congregations” and serve on the board of Creation Justice Ministries. I worked with the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network which helped clean up Connecticut’s “Sooty Six” power plants and helped stop the expansion of Hartford’s enormous landfill into low-income communities of color. In 1999, I joined the National Coalition for Creation Care (NRCCC) an organization that represents all faith communities that have issued public statements on care of creation and when NRCCC became a partner of Blessed Tomorrow (BT), I became involved with BT.

When it was announced that NRCCC would once again gather for the annual “Washington Week” in December 2022, after pausing for COVID-19, I planned my trip. After the Prayer Breakfast where Dr. Matthew Sleeth (2020), Dr. Richard Miller (2021), and David Carroll (2022) received the NRCCC Steward of God’s Creation award, nine of us prepared for a meeting in the office of the Council on Environmental Quality at the White House where Reverend Carol Devine presented the Faith Leaders’ Climate Roundtable Recommendations Report and we urged the administration to continue to address climate change.

The meeting was very well received by the CEQ; productive, I would say. And, I discovered that the CEQ Senior Director, Jalonne White-Newsome, with whom we met, was born and raised in Detroit, like me! Connections!

After the White House meeting, Carol and I walked two miles to the Russell Senate building to meet with the staff of Senator Mitch McConnell. This, too, was a productive meeting When the conversation turned to the Farm Bill, Staffer Andrew Fisher, turned quite interested as he was born and raised on a farm in Missouri. Connections!

Advocacy for creation happens in so many places and in so many ways: talking to family, friends, and strangers in our homes, congregations, and communities; doing a presentation for congregations online or in-person; posting and sharing on social media, and meeting with elected officials. Rarely do we know the impact of our efforts. We pray. We plant seeds. We connect. We share and remind everyone around us of our moral and ethical responsibilities. We form groups – small and large – to work together for the mutual enhancement of all life on Earth. And we remember that we are one with all life, blessed with unique gifts, living within and surrounded by Spirit, Love that will never let us go.

Photo of group in front of the White House

Photo of group in front of the White House

Photo of meeting in progress

Photo of meeting in progress

Photo of Rev. Carol Devine and Karyn Bigelow from Creation Justice Ministries in the White House Meeting Room

Photo of Rev. Carol Devine and Karyn Bigelow from Creation Justice Ministries in the White House Meeting Room

 

About the Author:
Rev. Tom Carr, American Baptist Church, USA Creation Justice Coordinator

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