Protesting Pipelines on Palm Sunday

On Day #3 of a four-day, 46-mile walk to stop the construction of the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, scores of activists gathered in the sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield, Massachusetts, for a spirited rally organized by Sugar Shack Alliance. St. James Church is a grand old beauty of a building, a neo-Gothic stone structure that was consecrated in 1849. The sanctuary buzzed with excitement as a diverse …

Thanks, Wow, Help

A presentation to clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts that was given on Parish Leadership Day, March 5, 2016. A handout of suggested action steps is available for download here. Friends, I’d like to take a page from writer Anne Lamott, who wrote a book a few years ago called Help, Thanks, Wow. She calls these our three most basic prayers, and they make a …

Sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see

Before you embark on a protest march on a day that is bitterly cold – 18 degrees Fahrenheit with a gusty wind – you take stock and prepare yourself. As walkers of all ages assemble in the fellowship hall, you greet old friends, meet new ones, and debate whether or not you’ll really need those two layers of long underwear when you head outside (you will). Even more important, you …

Jobs, justice, and climate bring us together

On December 12, 2015, the same day that nearly 200 nations adopted a historic pledge to lower their carbon emissions, more than two thousand people from across New England marched and rallied in Boston in the biggest climate justice demonstration that the city has ever seen. A wide range of groups were represented, including, among others, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Maine’s Penobscot Tribe, National Nurses United, New Bedford Worker …

Not just about Paris

On the eve of the U.N. climate talks in Paris, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide took to the streets to join the Global Climate March. Here in western Massachusetts, 200 people gathered in Amherst and an even larger group assembled nearby in Northampton, all of us calling for decisive international action to keep 80% of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground.     I was the opening speaker …

The interfaith climate movement and “The Francis Effect”

If you’ve been wondering whether public opinion on climate change has changed in the U.S. since Pope Francis published his encyclical in June, look no further. A new study shows that during the six months since Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home was released, Americans have become more concerned about global warming and are more actively engaged in the issue. About 17% of the study’s respondents overall, and …

The tide is rising, and so are we

Some people named the week beginning September 21, 2015, the Week of Moral Action for Climate Justice. Others called it Pope Week. I want to call it Watershed Week: the week when Americans streamed to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia, like rivers pouring through a watershed, eager to hear Pope Francis speak about our call to love each other and all Creation. The week was a watershed in …

This time, big time

The past 24 hours have stretched my sense of time. One morning I come across a report that in a far off cave in South Africa, scientists have discovered the bones of a previously unknown branch of the human family. A photo on the front page of The New York Times shows an ancient skeleton, neatly laid out from head to toe. The bones of the feet, according to one …

Divest. Re-invest. Rejoice.

The Episcopal Church voted to divest from fossil fuels. I write that sentence and lean back in my chair, beaming in amazement. I’ve been working toward this moment for a long time, and lo, it is here. I can hardly believe it. The Episcopal Church now becomes the third national faith group in the United States to divest from the fossil fuel industry, joining the United Church of Christ, which divested …

Lobbying on climate change as a spiritual practice

On a sultry summer morning this week, with the temperature already climbing past 97˚ and a heat index of 102˚, I paused on the steps of the Capitol Building to pose for a quick photograph. As volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), nearly one thousand people had traveled from near and far to lobby for a carbon fee and dividend in Washington, D.C. Being a first-time volunteer, I had recently …