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Saturday
May132017

Teaching Important Ecology Choices in Adult Forums at St. Paul's Cathedral (Episcopal) »

David TremaineEarth is pushing back hard on so many fronts of civilization’s activities. We need people from every sector of society on board to reverse climate change, to reverse soil and water degradation, and to reverse species extinctions. Faith communities can be bigger players in this drama than most have achieved. They have yet to rise to anything resembling the stature their best teachers tell them is possible. One of the strengths that faith communities can maximize is their direct people contacts—weekly worship audiences and various weekday groups. This gives them many chances to talk about ecological themes crises and faith-based actions.
I recently participated in the Sunday Adult Form at St. Paul’s Cathedral (Episcopal), San Diego. I was the first in a series of four Sunday Forums on ecology as spiritual practice.
The four sessions: 
  • Our Heroic Journey to Keep Earth Livable, Lee Van Ham, Jubilee OneEarth Economics
  • The Power of Electricity Choice, Erika Morgan, San Diego Energy District
  • Climate Change, Political Will, and Personal Empowerment, Carl Yaeckel, Citizens Climate Lobby
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment, Eric Halgren, neuroscientist at UCSD
I asked Form leader David Tremaine what prompted the four sessions on an ecological theme? and what goals did he have in mind? First of all, he said it was a joint effort between himself and Phil Petrie, a parish member committed to ecological witness at St. Paul’s and the larger interfaith efforts in San Diego. He added:

It has been our goal to provided sustained conversation about important theological topics in our forum hour by grouping the forums into multi-week series’ where we are able to examine a given topic from multiple perspectives.  Also, each topic fits within our forum theme for this year which has been “Reconciliation”, and our understanding of reconciliation in this arena is to come back face to face with people or topics that we might not regularly come into contact with.  So, this forum series fit in the four weeks between the end of our Lenten series and our celebration of Creation Care Sunday which is this week (May 17th).  Also, as part of our community wide commitment to reconciliation, it was an important topic to bring to the forum and hear from these different voices about reconciling ourselves to the environment and to creation.

In most parishes, it can be a big step from a forum to action. So I asked David, “What influences do you believe the Forums have on how St. Paul’s addresses the issues of the ecological crises?”  And I continued with, “Any follow up that happens at the Cathedral regarding divestment is of special interest to me.” But my question was ahead of the divestment event, as his answer reveals.

This week, in our final forum, we are hoping to cultivate a conversation around divestment and the church’s role in that effort, not only the institution, but each of the people that make up the Church.  The hope is, that through these series, people will be opened up to new perspectives on these types of issues and make room in their own lives to reflect on their actions and on how we can take the call to love others, serve others and serve and love all of creation out into the world and into our lives.

I’m with David and Phil in seeking ways for faith communities to do more to address ecological crises. When ecological choices are presented as spiritual practice they become more important to many people. 

 

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