Is carbon pricing a spiritual and ethical imperative?

It’s unusual to see a scientist, a politician, an economist, and a religious leader sitting together at one table to discuss climate change. Yet that’s just what happened at a public forum at Westfield State University entitled “Carbon Pricing – A Key Component in Solving a Warming Climate.” The four speakers included Dr. Carsten Braun (a climate scientist at Westfield State), State Rep. Jen Benson (D-Lunenburg, the lead co-sponsor of …

Jim Antal, climate hero

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal is retiring as President and Minister of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ. I will miss him! Here’s what I said at his retirement celebration in Worcester. What a blessing to be here as we honor our friend Jim. I’ve been invited to speak about his leadership in protecting God’s Creation and taking action on climate change. Not everyone who wanted to be here …

Exodus from Fossil Fuel: An Interfaith Witness for Climate Action

On a bright, wind-swept day shortly before Easter and Passover, a crowd of faith leaders and members of faith communities gathered on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to call upon Governor Baker to take bold leadership in addressing climate disruption. Drawing from the ancient stories of Moses confronting Pharaoh and of Jesus confronting the imperial powers of Rome, “Exodus from Fossil Fuel” celebrated our shared determination, as people …

What if scientists and faith leaders form a coalition on climate?

The Archdiocese of Boston hosted an extraordinary conversation on February 8-9, 2018, as leaders drawn from religious and scientific communities gathered to discuss the possibility of forging a partnership to push for decisive action on climate change. The idea for gathering the group came from Phil Duffy, President of the Woods Hole Research Center, who, as Cardinal Sean O’Malley explains in a blog post, “[reached] out to the archdiocese through …

All of us or none of us: Women’s March 2018

Every rally has its own energy, a particular mood or spirit that propels it along. That was the case in Northampton, Massachusetts, when over a thousand women, men and children took to the streets on January 20, the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. The Pioneer Valley Women’s March: Hear Our Voices, Hear Our Vote was a colorful and festive affair that gathered together, in one great flow of collective …

#StandUpCharlie: Risking arrest for climate justice

Under threatening skies, a group of men and women gathers in the basement of the Paulist Center, less than a block from the Boston State House. One by one we introduce ourselves and offer a one-word summary of how we feel as we prepare to risk arrest. “Ready.” “Resolved.” “Grounded.” “Centered.” Everyone has been trained in non-violent civil disobedience. Everyone has taken the necessary practical steps, such as removing wedding …

Listening to Native voices: Standing Rock is everywhere

Hundreds of people – including leaders and elders of Native American tribes from across the U.S. – assembled yesterday under a large tent at Agape, a Christian community in the woods of central Massachusetts that is dedicated to social justice, non-violence, and sustainable living. We were there to mark the 35th annual celebration of St. Francis Day at Agape, and it was a thrilling, even transformative day, a day of …

Building the interfaith climate movement: Let go, hold on, and stay faithful

For the interfaith climate movement in Massachusetts, this is a day for lament, gratitude, hope, and praise. Lament It’s official: Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action – MAICCA, for short – is suspending operations, at least for now. The news went public yesterday. After a nearly three-year run, our Leadership Team concluded, after careful reflection, conversation, and prayer, to suspend future activities of MAICCA for the time being. As we …

Hurricane Harvey: Rising up as the waters rise

Like many Americans, I have been gripped by news of the disaster now unfolding along our nation’s Gulf Coast. As torrential rains bear down on Texas and Louisiana and the floods swell, people are struggling to survive and struggling to rescue family-members, neighbors, and pets. Stories of tragedy and terror, courage and loss have unfolded all week: trapped in his car, an elderly man is rescued from rising waters by …

An Opportunity for which the Church Was Born

An ecumenical statement from Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, responding to the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. To download a pdf, click: An Opportunity for which the Church Was Born. President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris Climate Accord violates the values and vision that are basic to Christian faith. Our Judaeo-Christian heritage teaches that the Earth and its …