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October 9th faith and climate news and events, climate cafe multifaith, faiths4future
A prayer for the Middle East:
I remember, it was years and years ago. I had returned to church after a many-years absence. It was probably my second or third Sunday in one of the new padded chairs, in a fellowship hall that doubled as a sanctuary. It was an ordinary Sunday. The pastor was animated and played guitar. He seemed down to earth and ready to listen. So, even though I was still a guest getting to know the church, when he invited the congregation to fill out a prayer slip, I did so.
The prayer slips were then gathered up in baskets by the usher. The pastor pulled them out, one at a time, to raise up prayer. We prayed for health and healing for our friends and neighbors. We said ‘Lord in your mercy’ for surgeries and ‘hear our prayer’ for safe journeys. And then the pastor got to mine. He held my slip of paper up, pausing for a minute. Then he read it out loud, ‘Will there ever be peace in the Middle East?’ He read it and he paused again. He took a breath and looked out across the congregation.
Since writing down my prayer, I followed a call to ministry, I went to seminary, I opened the books that speak of history, of peoples, of God. Page by page I read of violence. Page by page I read the call for peace.
Saturday came news of more violence. Yesterday we saw reports of terror on terror as thousands lost their lives. We heard the cries of real people crying out. I close my eyes, I ask God, ‘When will there be peace in the Middle East?’ And I hear the echo of my heart, of millions of voices echoing through time, “Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.” — Richenda
Quick nav links for this week’s weekly(ish):
JustCreation prior weeks of this Weekly and other articles.
Upcoming events, webinars & opportunities (scroll)
Faith voices and Good news this week, and the News Archive.
Boost - Events
Big Launch! This week saw the launch of One Home One Planet, a seven year push for climate action with a coalition of denominations and organizations led by Ecoamerica and Blessed Tomorrow, find members listed here. Read more about the effort from the Episcopal News Service, Launch of interfaith ‘One Home One Future’ campaign underscores urgency of climate crisis
A Plea from the Pope—a New Encyclical. The UCC hosts a webinar or October 11 with Catholic Climate Covenant, IPL and more. Read more and register: UCC Webinar— A Plea from the Pope
Climate Change and the Importance of Indigenous Knowledge. A webinar from The G20 Interfaith Forum (IF20) and The KAICIID Dialogue Center centers indigenous climate activists and experts on indigenous knowledge. Read more from the IF20, Indigenous Approaches are Revealing Gaps in Our Climate Action Strategies. Webinar is October 12th. Register.
Congregational Solar Webinar. On October 18th online the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement Cafe hosts experts from Collective Sun and the Interfaith Solar Campaign, organizations working with churches, temples and synagogues to determine what is the best approach to get solar energy flowing to the church. Learn more and register. Check out also the UMCJM’s October newsletter, focused on solar and ready to inspire you.
Fossil Free UMC. With new denominational legislation being considered in 2024, United Methodists concerned with moral investment are again calling for the denomination to divest. A new Just and Free, Fossil Free UMC movement is launching. Check this space for more information as it comes up, meanwhile contact Fossilfreeumc@earth-justice.org. The renewed website will soon be live at fossilfreeumc.org.
Fellowship Celebration. Creation Justice Ministries celebrates its 40th anniversary with prayer and fellowship, streamed. Learn more and register. October 26th.
Green Team Summit. The Green Team Summit returns this year October 8-11 hosted by Faith In Place & Interfaith Power and Light. A great line up of speakers, and it looks like it will be both online and in person.
Plum Village Online Course. A seven week course through Plum Village drawing from the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh starts October 15th. Registration now open. More info: Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet.
Season of Creation
For the last 5 weeks, congregations around the world have celebrated the 2023 Season of Creation. I compiled a weekly roundup to celebrate and recognize the prayerful action of people of faith:
The round-up #1 Stories of the Season from the local church out
The round-up #2 Festivals, Appeals, Season of Creation & Beyond.
The round-up #3 Voices of Faith for Creation, Unity & Resilience
The round-up #4 Season of Creation, a call for great thanksgiving
Writers’ groups - Your thoughts?
Is there interest in a writer’s group—a workshopping group—for developing congregational and group study curriculum across the faith spectrum? It seems clear that devotional resources are needed across the board and at every level. Somehow, God’s good world got extracted from our texts—just as we have been extracting God’s intended goodness from the planet. The remedy is multifold, but part of it must be lots of new work. If you are interested, reach out to me Richenda at CircleFaithFuture.org
The Resource archive is on the Reports Page.
Environmental Justice Grants. From Inside Climate News. We will keep hearing about this effort as it is rolled out, finds grantees, and helps mobilize communities. Keep up with the latest on the Justic40 aligned effort. EPA Rolls Out Training Grants For Environmental Justice Communities. Sixteen technical assistance centers, created jointly by EPA and the Department of Energy, are expected to play a key role in helping facilitate funding under the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative.
Direct Pay. If you’ve been following news on the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) and all the tax rebates & incentives, you know that another tool in the tool kit is ‘direct pay.’ This is a special type of tax rebate especially for organizations like churches and 501 C3s that don’t pay taxes. This special program means you get money anyway. I like a good explainer to keep up with whose doing what, and this article from Environmental and Energy Study Institute has great examples, Direct Pay: Nonprofits Can Now Benefit from Clean Energy Tax Credits.
Eco-Church Net-Zero resources and more. This really deserves it’s own whole post, but THANK YOU to the UK churches for tremendous leadership when it comes to Climate. They have developed fantastic resources—webinars and booklets—you can find them on these pages: From The Church in Wales a page that offers number of pdf publications that address net-zero both as a denomination and congregation. There are also webinars through the Church of England, these will encourage you!! They are doing the work and net-zero has a clear path of achievement.
Reports & Studies
Find more reports on the reports page.
Faith Attitudes on Climate Change. PRRI released their newest study: The Faith Factor in Climate Change: How Religion Impacts American Attitudes on Climate and Environmental Policy. Read about the study from Washington Post (gift link) U.S. faith groups do not view climate change as a crisis, new poll finds. Among White evangelicals, the view that the Earth is in crisis dropped — from 13 percent in 2014 to 8 percent, the Public Religion Research Institute found and from the Religious News Service RNS The white evangelical march toward climate disaster.
Watch the webinar from PRRI:
Sea Ice Takes Another Dive. The melt continues, with sea ice finding increasing record lows. Read an article about the study from the BBC Antarctic sea-ice at 'mind-blowing' low alarms experts. And an article from Axios, Antarctic sea ice hits lowest seasonal peak on record. Read the study from Nature: Record low Antarctic sea ice coverage indicates a new sea ice state.
Newest 1.5 Roadmap. Yes. We can still make it. But we must focus, focus, focus. This was the takeaway from a new study released by the IEA this week. Read an article about the study in The Guardian, ‘Staggering’ green growth gives hope for 1.5C, says global energy chief. IEA’s Fatih Birol says uptake of solar power and EVs is in line with net zero goal but rich countries must hasten their broader plans. Read an exploration of what we need to do from The Conversation, The green energy surge still isn’t enough for 1.5 degrees. We’ll have to overshoot, adapt and soak up carbon dioxide. Read the study.
Extraction needs Community Consent. A new report out from Oxfam tackles the imperative that communities give consent before mineral mining is allowed on their lands. Mongabay has great reporting on this, with two articles. Both from Mongabay, How Canada’s growing presence in Latin America is hurting the environment and Rechargeable battery industry needs better mining regulations, report says. Read the report, Recharging Community Consent: Mining companies, battery minerals, and the battle to break from the past.
(Is it okay for people of faith to sign-on to general/secular petitions? I put together a quick page to think about this Sign-ons & Petitions, are they faithful?)
Today—October 9th—is Indigenous People’s Day. Celebrate by listening. Discover where Indigenous People are leading the way. For example, from the World Wildlife Foundation, Native nations lead the way to returning bison to their traditional homelands
Marylanders! There is a brief window of opportunity to provide comments on the Maryland Climate Pathway Report. Tell the Maryland Dept. of Environment to strengthen composting as a climate solution – beyond solely diverting waste – in its Climate Pathways Report by signing your organization on to the MD-DC Compost Council Chapter’s letter by filling out this form by Wednesday, October 11th by 5 pm.
Plant an oak tree. Another gem this week from Better Homes and Gardens. Native oaks are essential for habitat restoration and boost native biodiversity. What a great focus for an article! How to Grow an Oak Tree from an Acorn. Use these tips on growing oak trees from acorns to start a grove of your own. Read about the biodiversity powerhouse that is the native oak, from One Earth, Oak trees: kings of biodiversity.
Faith Voices in the News This Week
See also my posts linked above celebrating the events and resources of the Season of Creation, including this week: Season of Creation, a call for great thanksgiving.
Catholic groups heed the Pope’s call for urgent action. From the Religion News Service RNS, Environmental faith groups laud Pope Francis’ new climate exhortation. ‘As this summer has shown, and as Laudate Deum emphasizes, we no longer have time to spare,’ Jose Aguto, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, said in a statement.
Call for a Superfund Response to Climate Disaster. The Interfaith Climate Justice Community joined other faith voices in calling for a robust financial response to the cost of climate-fueled disasters. From the Buffalo News, Another Voice: Faith community supports the Climate Change Superfund Act.
Statement of the Heart. People of faith across Australia gathered in support of Indigenous activists, youth, and communities, and pledging to support the inclusion of Indigenous voices in governance. From the South Sydney Herald, Religious and multicultural groups pledge Yes. Read the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Green Team! Small steps, big faith. A lovely profile in the local Santa Cruz, CA, Green Valley News, be inspired! Read Susan and Jon’s story and be inspired to start a green team of your own. Ready to do it: Couple spur church, others to go green.
Find more news in the news archive (including good news!) here.
Water and Forest Conservation. When local efforts are supported, wonderful things happen!! A new study demonstrates yet again the impact restoration of forests can have. From Mongabay, Restoring degraded forests may be key for climate, study says. Empowering local people, youth and women, makes a difference. From UN News, First Person: How youth and forests tackle Honduras’ water crisis.
Species Restoration. It’s always good news when a baby is born. That news is even sweeter when it is a Sumatran baby rhinoceros. From CNN, Sumatran rhino birth offers glimmer of hope for species almost hunted to extinction.
Momentum for Clean Buses. Parents groups have been working to prevent the air pollution harm to children, and a big part of that in the school yard is trading up for electric. From Grist, In Baltimore, yellow buses are going green. Cities all over the country are beginning to transition their school bus fleets to electric — a boon for the climate, and for students’ health.
Small Town. Small Church. Big Solar. It can be a challenge to get big services into small, rural towns—even when people are counting on it, such as energy. Some good news on this front from CleanTechnica, USDA $9.7 Billion Rural Community Clean Energy Program Receives 150+ Letters Of Interest. Rural Electric Co-operatives have stepped up to take advantage of historic financing from the Inflation Reduction Act that will lower power bills and create more resilient communities across America.
Find the news archive here.
Praying this week for peace. For the plowshares. For the lambs. Prayers up.
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Just to say… my updates are not endorsements, and links are usually third party. Please make your own determinations. My goal here is to amplify the conversation and encourage engagement, learning, and resilience. And of course, to bless your efforts!